If you’re ready for a break from wine tasting and need to get off the well-trodden and always busy wine road that is Route 29, head over to the tranquil Carneros District and stop in at the di Rosa Collection www.dirosaart.org. This lovely property has been open to the public since 2000, when it was incorporated as a nonprofit public trust.
Rene and Veronica di Rosa’s extensive contemporary art collection includes some 2,000 works by 800 artists including Richard Shaw, Bruce Nauman, Larry Sultan, John Buck, Allan Rath, Paul Kos, Viola Frey and many others and is considered to be one of the most important collections in Northern California.
The works are displayed in three buildings and throughout the property. The modern Gatehouse Gallery is home to rotating exhibitions of modern paintings, sculpture, multi-media and interactive pieces.
Gallery admission allows access only to the current exhibition on view in the Gatehouse and is a self-guided proposition. To experience the entire collection, set aside 1-1/2 to two hours for the superb guided tour of the outbuildings, including the chapel, and the exquisite grounds. It is best to book the guided tour in advance to avoid disappointment.
You’ll likely see peacocks racing through the tall grass around many of the sculptures including one of my favorites, “Field Hands.” You really need to experience this for yourself. The catalog of the permanent collection, Local Color, makes a great souvenir or a gift for an art-loving friend. Be sure to check the website for hours of operation and the tour schedule.
After your tour of the di Rosa Collection, go across the street to the elegant Domaine Carneros—it’s home to Tattinger’s California sparkling wines http://www.domainecarneros.com. Reservations are not required but there is a fee to taste.
Tours are also available by reservation via website or phone. There are numerous options for tasting from flights to single glasses. Take your glass out onto the beautiful terrace and enjoy the spectacular view across the vineyards of the Carneros District.
One of my favorite dining destinations is in the Carneros, just a short distance away—Farm at the Carneros Inn http://www.thecarnerosinn. We have celebrated many memorable meals here and the last, which happened to be an anniversary, was no exception. Start with your libation of choice and relax outside on the comfy couches that surround the open fire. Depending on the hour, you’re likely to see children running happily around the lawn—much better here than in the dining room!
The menu at Farm changes often to reflect the restaurant’s commitment to local, seasonal and sustainable produce, fish and meat. The cuisine is contemporary Californian and the wine list draws almost entirely from California producers.
Service is impeccable and the room is spare yet elegant. The restaurant is open daily for dinner only and reservations are a must.
The hotel also has a casual option called Boon Fly, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are only available at dinner. This is great place to stop if you want a quick and tasty lunch and are in the mood for a burger, salad or sandwich.
Mix it up a bit and add Carneros to your itinerary. You’ll be glad you did!