So many of us like wine (my preference is the lovely Chardonnay) and living in Northern California we are surrounded by wine culture, architecture, design, and those beautiful ever-changing  vineyards.

My front yard one rare December morning is in the photo above — those are Cabernet Franc vines.  I live in a community where all things are wine, where wine makers live, where we drink wine like water.  Really.  I pick and dry the franc grapes and use them in my annual fruitcake where the grape seeds add a delightful crunch.  This is one of a few communities in the region which have embraced the vineyard as landscape design as the vines are a relatively rugged, low-maintenance and low water landscape alternative.   And for us the landscape extends into farming where our group of 80 homeowners collectively farms and sells our crop to wineries in the region.

One of my favorite ‘go to’ design books is California Wine Country by Diane Dorens Saeks.  Ms. Saeks beautifully portrays the relaxed Napa Valley lifestyle we’ve come to love: casual, no fuss, natural and imperfect materials.   Wine inspired architecture and interior styles range from old Mediterranean, to Spanish Colonial, to high-tech modern.   And, no, I’m not talking about the much abused/overused trailing grape-vine motif of the 80’s!

For more inspiration I’ll be heading to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to take in  “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now,” an exhibit exploring the intersection of wine, visual art, design and architecture.   The Sacramento Bee published a great article on the exhibit and has more information about the venue and the hours.    See you there, wine glass in hand!

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