The law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly when you hop from one wine tasting to another and, like me, never use the spitoon unless you actively dislike the wine that you are tasting. After a couple of flights, distinguishing characteristics of any given wine become nearly impossible to recognize.
Photographic pursuits are not immune to that either. The camera becomes progressively heavier, getting things in focus becomes progressively harder. Working through the shots I took in Napa Valley a few weeks ago, I am finding that on each day I photographed a lot on our first stop of the itinerary, slightly less on the second stop, and practically nothing at all afterwards. Nonetheless, here is a selection of pictures.
Starting with Castello di Amorosa.
It would not be out of place somewhere in European countryside – and, in fact, many of the building materials for the castle were imported from Europe. But it is not yet a decade old. The castle is a huge attraction – I am sure the investment to build it has already been recouped manifold.
Here is the Grand Room – one of the striking interior spaces of the castle.
And this is a view over vineyards from the top of the castle tower.
The underground cellars are a maze, styled after dungeons in part (and boasting a collection of the instruments of torture, to boot). Here are a couple of rooms full of dusty bottles.
And stacks of barrels along passageway walls.
I have not recorded what these badges signify but I assume they comprise a visual language that a vintner working on premises would understand.
Grapes are not the only product that grows on the premises.
Let’s take another look at the castle, shall we?
Sterling Vineyards – our next stop – are located high on the hillside above the valley, reachable by cable car from the ground-level visitor center.
From the high terraces of the winery, the views of the valley below.
We are not that far away from Castello di Amorosa, by the way. We can see it from here.
A shot of the vineyards of the Clos Pegase Winery.
October sunsets in Napa Valley coincide with closing time at Mumm Napa, a sparkling-wine estate that stays open a whole hour later than most of the wineries in the area. The open terrace here is the perfect spot to finish the day.
At the Hess Collection, one of the differentiating attractions is a small contemporary art museum. Here are a few of its exhibits.
The fish-pond at the Hess.
Probably our favorite winery on this trip was Artesa. Although the visitor center occupies a modern building, the surroundings resemble our beloved Tuscany the most of any other estates.
Among the statuary at Artesa is this unusual tinted-glass structure.
Cliff Lede Vineyards have a number of points of photographic interest, but my best effort there was just a flower.
I’m surprised it stayed in focus, given the amount of wine I had tasted by that point…