A Look at Artesa Vineyards & Winery

It perches high on a mountain overlooking the edge of both Sonoma and Napa, and all of Carneros spanning to San Pablo Bay. It’s a masterpiece of breathtaking architecture designed by renowned Barcelona architect Domingo Triay, graced with flowing water features, expansive glass walls, sculptures, and walls brimming with original art. But one of the best reasons to visit is to savor the sparkling wines, crafted in legendary European style.

Owned by the Codorníu Raventos family of Spain, the 350-acre property debuted as Codorníu Napa in 1991, and was renamed Artesa – the Catalan word for “handcrafted” – in 1997. Yet its winemaking history dates to the mid-sixteenth century, since Codorníu Raventos remains the oldest company in Spain, boasting a winemaking legacy in the Penedès region near Barcelona since 1551.

For the first time visitor, the expansive winery building can seem daunting, spanning several floors complete with a cellar serenaded by piped-in Gregorian monk chanting to “calm” the aging wines. There are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines produced here, and limited release wines like Albariño, Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Tradicio, made from two of Spain’s most prominent wine grapes: Tempranillo and Graciano.

There’s an art gallery, expansive terraces and bars for tastings, and tours that show off antique wine making equipment. So there’s a lot to take in, but it’s all relaxed, never stuffy, and guides keep the experiences casual.

One of the best ways to embrace the beauty is with a food and wine tasting held in the glass-enclosed private/by appointment only dining room, in a private salon, on the terrace, or in the visitor center. Artesa’s chef/caterer prepares small bites including pintxos (pronounced peen-cho, meaning skewered meats, veggies and cheeses), tapas, chocolates, or cheeses.

Larger groups of at least 20 can also enjoy private lunches on the lush lawn overlooking estate vineyards. The chef crafts custom dishes to be paired with Limited Release or small production Single Vineyard wines, with choices of multiple menus in casual to elegant: Californian, Italian, Mediterranean, surf and turf, or classic sandwiches and salads.

Whichever visiting experience you choose, toasting with glasses of Napa Grand Reserve Brut and other Artesa wines, it’s a bit of heaven.

1345 Henry Road, Sonoma/Napa, 707-224-1668, artesawinery.com.

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