Spring has sprung in California’s Napa Valley. I’ve stopped at Peju to tour the winery’s sculpture-dotted garden and taste their wines, a crisp bubbly included. What I’m about to do next only happens in April.
While sipping Peju’s sparkling rose and nibbling delectable cheeses, I’m going to try my hand at the art of flower arranging—outdoors in the winery garden.
Why April? It’s Napa Valley’s month-long Arts in April celebration. In 2015, the event’s fifth year, the valley held 62 events celebrating the creativity (music, too) of 500-plus artists. Nearly a third were local talents. Events took place in wineries, galleries, hotels and artist studios, as they will this year. No matter the venue, the art is generally paired with wine.
Here’s a sampling of events scheduled for April 2016. Note that prices vary by event.
Flowers and wine
The outdoor bouquet-making at Peju takes place on Sunday, April 3. Stop by to wander through the garden designed by Tony Peju, sip wine, nibble small bites and put together your own personal floral arrangement. The ladies from root & riot will show you how it’s done. A fee of $75 covers the event.
Print making, wine and treats
Ready to create your own ready-to-frame work of art? Sign up for a class with printmaker, Nancy Willis. Nancy opens her studio to just eight people for each of two weekend events. You’ll ink a monotype plate, create your design, then put your masterpiece in a hand-cranked press to print it out on a sheet of heavy paper. Voila! Sign you print, and you’ve got your one-of-a kind artwork.
Now it’s time to celebrate with a glass of wine or two paired with Panevino breadsticks and salami from David Katz’s artisan charcuterie, Sub Rosa. The hands-on experience with Nancy costs $100 per person, including your finished print, wine and food.
Photography and wine
At Sterling Vineyards, the art is for enjoying rather than creating. Come April, visitors ride the aerial tram up to the winery to sip wine and view a collection of art and photos, some not displayed in a decade. Choose the Silver Experience (offered daily in April) for a seated tasting of three “big, juicy, ripe” limited release Sterling wines. Stay for the self-guided tour and the art. The Silver Experience, $39 per person, gives you special access to upper level exhibits. Ansel Adams, for example, is featured in the Reserve Room. Plan on spending about two hours.
Wine as art
Wine, as in wine bottles, is the art at di Rosa, a museum showcasing the nation’s largest collection of contemporary San Francisco Bay Area artists. During his life, Rene di Rosa together with his wife, Veronica, gathered more than 2,000 pieces dating from the 1950s and focusing on the 1960s. Needless to say, the art is eclectic, ranging from a car hanging from tree branches in the sculpture garden to a hideaway building built from 4,000 empty wine bottles. On April 23, you can attend the opening reception (no charge) honoring artist Paul Kos. Check the calendar for guided tours and other events.
Wine paired with music
Enjoy live music with your wine Friday nights in April at Napa’s Wine Train Station. Stop by between 5 and 7 p.m. for music, small bites and wine tastings (extra charge).
Wine, art and a night’s rest
Several Napa Valley hotels offer Arts in April packages. Bardessono in Yountville has special overnight packages including a luxury suite, private tour of the art on display and a $75 food and beverage credit at Lucy. In addition, Bardessono will feature “B’Art’Dessono,” an exhibit of Bay Area artists who have transformed recycled and repurposed materials into works of art. An artist reception takes place at Lucy Restaurant and Bar on April 14 with hors d’oeuvres from Lucy kitchen and wine from VGS Chateau Potelle.