Thursday, August 16, 2007

Visting Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food and Arts

At quick visit to Copia,

The grapevines are hanging heavy with ripening fruit and soon the Napa and Sonoma Valleys will be a buzz with beautiful brown skinned workers wielding their hooked pruning knives at lightning speed.
The bunches of grapes will be expertly sliced off the vine and dropped into the big heavy duty plastic bins and whisked away to the crushing shed.

The valley takes on a whole different smell during the crush.
I love the intoxicating perfume that fills the air during that frenzied month.

We still have a month and a half to go until the harvest but you can see the fruit dropping down below their espaliered frames in anticipation of the upcoming harvest.

If you have never been to the Napa Valley I believe that the best place to start your exploratory visit is at Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.

Copia is located in the town of Napa , which is the first town you enter when coming into the Napa Valley Wine Region.

The gardens at Copia are designed on a grid system, much like the famed culinary garden at Chateau de Villandry in France.
Below s a wonderful structured axial view down a grass surfaced alle’ threw a series of grape arbors.

One of the herb gardens within the large structured garden

Excellent signage in the gardens too , including Tips

A sunflower bud

A cheerful sign of summer

The front entry to Copia is boldly dramatic yet simple in its design.
Peter Walker ASLA designed the entry as well as the layout of the gardens.
This photo below shows the water rill that runs the entire length of the entry, including the main entry and the adjacent garden that lies across the street . Copia s property is bisected by First street and it also sits on the bow of the Napa River.

As you leave the car park you are beckoned on by this dramatic water scape which leads you to the front door and to the adjacent gardens beyond.

Along with the heady smells of the ripening grapes the air is also sweetly scented with
Amaryllis belladonna.
Many believe this plant to be a California native due to its wide spread seemingly indigenous growth and drought tolerant adaptability to our arid Mediterranean climate , but it is really a native to South Africa .
Naked Ladies , as they are commonly called are blooming their heads off all over Northern California at this time ( late August ) .
You can barely go an 1/4 of a mile down any city or country road and not see a clump of these strongly fragrant plants blooming.


EAL said...

Gorgeous Michelle. I have been reading about this place for years, ever since they opened it.

Great blog--I will add a link on mine.

Christopher C. NC said...

Very nice tour, thanks. I can almost smell the grapes in the warm air.

I bet I could have used those Naked Ladies to great effect in the desert of Kihei Hawaii. It really is a horticultural wilderness of sorts there or my hermit nature is just very strong.

ginger said...

I have been to Copia in December which is a slow time in Napa. I would love to be there during harvest and crush. I can almost smell it from your post. Someday, maybe! Thanks for the visuals.