Around Napa Valley wineries

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.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
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.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
And this is a view over vineyards from the top of the castle tower.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
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.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
And stacks of barrels along passageway walls.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
I have not recorded what these badges signify but I assume they comprise a visual language that a vintner working on premises would understand.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
Grapes are not the only product that grows on the premises.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
Let’s take another look at the castle, shall we?
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
Sterling Vineyards – our next stop – are located high on the hillside above the valley, reachable by cable car from the ground-level visitor center.
Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley
From the high terraces of the winery, the views of the valley below.
Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley
Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley
We are not that far away from Castello di Amorosa, by the way. We can see it from here.
Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley
A shot of the vineyards of the Clos Pegase Winery.
Clos Pegase Winery, Napa Valley
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.
Sunset in Napa Valley
Sunset in Napa Valley
Sunset in Napa Valley
At the Hess Collection, one of the differentiating attractions is a small contemporary art museum. Here are a few of its exhibits.
Hess Collection, Napa Valley
Hess Collection, Napa Valley
Hess Collection, Napa Valley
The fish-pond at the Hess.
Hess Collection, Napa Valley
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.
Artesa Winery, Napa Valley
Artesa Winery, Napa Valley
Artesa Winery, Napa Valley
Among the statuary at Artesa is this unusual tinted-glass structure.
Artesa Winery, Napa Valley
Artesa Winery, Napa Valley
Cliff Lede Vineyards have a number of points of photographic interest, but my best effort there was just a flower.
Cliff Lede Vineyards, Napa Valley
I’m surprised it stayed in focus, given the amount of wine I had tasted by that point…