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for the glowing review! "Go ask Alice ... where all the best vineyard gardens are. She's an erudite charmer; you'll have fun!"

Wine Tasting

Artesa Winery .. Mustard Bloom in Carneros Wine Country

Vineyard Vista Photo © Alice Joyce

February in Northern California Wine Country  .. Artesa Winery

I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of the mustard bloom until I’d been living in the Bay Area for a while. Now, as winter draws to a close, signs of spring appear in alleyways and along side streets where wild plantings of flowering quince emerge along with cherry and plum trees planted by birds or perhaps by the wind.

The Carneros region is one of my favorite areas in Northern California Wine Country. The vineyards are glorious on a winter day, as all roads seem to be aglow with the bright yellow mustard flowers.

Artesa Winery Photo © Alice Joyce

Architecturally intriguing Artesa Winery is a perfect spot to raise a glass. Situated atop a knoll, it’s a low, broad structure built into the hillside; a masterpiece of design with smoky quartz windows, and a slanted grass-blanketed facade planted with native grasses. Approached via a stairway flanked by fountains, reflecting pool and narrow channel, the music of moving water is ever-present as you take in the stunning views. The interior – cool and contemporary – features a central courtyard and sculpture exhibition.

I opt for the terrace to enjoy a perfect, albeit, brief afternoon get-away. There is a connection between Artesa and Spain, which I’ve written about on Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel.  Artesa began as Cordoniu Napa in 1991, in association with Spain’s Cordoniu wine cellars – founded in the mid-16th century. Thus the sparkling – methode champenoise – wine I love so much. Recently Artesa has been crafting fine Pinot Noir, Merlot & Chardonnay. Next time you’re in wine country, seek out this special place, tucked away off Dealy Lane on Henry Road.
Aretesa Winery Sculpture by Gordon Huether Photo © Alice Joyce

9 comments to Artesa Winery .. Mustard Bloom in Carneros Wine Country

  • Hi, just check out your new site and it is very good. The mustard fields are looking so refreshing and soothing to eyes. Keep up the good work on your new site.

  • Dear Alice, How extraordinary. I have never seen a break crop planted among vineyards. What a wonderful sight for the early part of the year.

    I hope that I have managed to subscribe to your new site. However, I shall not cancel Bay Area Tendrils until I am sure that it has worked! I very much like the new layout.

  • Hi MK,
    Cheers for your kind words. The new site is ‘work,’ but hopefully it will all come together soon. “Refreshing” is a very apt description!

  • Dear Edith,
    I’m losing sleep over the RSS feed problems, and would greatly appreciate it if, in the coming weeks, you keep me informed about whether the subscription is working for you.
    Although it may storm tomorrow, the plan is to visit Wine Country with a friend from the East Coast, and another virtual friend who is practically a neighbor.
    Will report back! All best to you and your awakening London garden.

  • What a lovely post, Alice! I was so sad I couldn’t get up to Sonoma this past weekend (darn cold!!) and I miss the mustard SO much! The way it perfumes the whole area is just so intoxicating to me and something I look forward to every year. Thanks for the beautiful photos….

  • Hi Alice. Thanks for visiting us and writing about your recent visit. Glad you enjoyed the views, ambiance and wines. We raise a flute of our bubbles to you and look forward to having you back soon.

    Kevin, Artesa Winery
    (877) 224-8309
    Twitter: ClubArtesa

  • Gary Schwetz

    Is this a crop or an un-invited weed? It’s a nasty pest in the midwest and east.

  • Gary, Mustard benefits the vineyards and is celebrated with a yearly Mustard Festival. It’s a habitat for beneficial insects; gas from root nodules kills ‘bad’ bugs in soil – it is used as an element of integrated pest management.

  • Isn’t that amazing. I had no idea that Mustard was used for companion planting in this way. And it sure looks beautiful, too.