When you have a wine tasting room that is also an art gallery and a lavish sculpture garden and happens to have its own full-scale kitchen, it just makes sense to tie it all together in one big party.
That’s the thinking behind Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley’s new “The Artists Palette Dining Experience,” an exploration of food, wine and art in alfresco dinners created by celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn.
Except that instead of just one party, owner Michael Polenske has put together a series running through November, held at his historic Yountville property. Supper is staged in the garden, surrounded by original sculptures, installations and art-inspired furniture, near the fire pit and fountain at a 36-foot-long communal redwood table under the trees.
Because Ma(i)sonry is a high-end co-op, each meal features wine made by a different member of the Ma(i)sonry Vintner Collective, and hosted by a winery principal. It’s worth coming just for the sips, since in most cases, Ma(i)sonry is the only place you can access these limited-production bottlings.
The evening begins with a curated gallery reception, for tours of the space that brims with original pieces from international talent plus the Ma(i)sonry-owned I. Wolk Gallery in St. Helena and the Auberge du Soleil collection in Rutherford. All the décor is available for purchase, by the way, from the enormous Einstein bust, to the paintings, to the rustic-chic furniture. And be sure to study the art – some pieces do double duty for function and form, such as fine works that can be used as spittoons.
Part of the draw is the building itself, actually. Ma(i)sonry opened in 2008, yet the rough-cut fieldstone, ivy-covered manor has grand roots. It was originally built in 1904 as a private residence and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; in the 1970s, the property was converted to a seven-room inn, which closed in 2007 so it could be extensively restored and renovated into the current gallery.
The calendar for the $155 per person dinners includes:
• June 18, Skipstone Ranch, hosted by Fahri Diner and Jill Layman
• July 23, Husic Vineyards, hosted by Julie and Frank Husic
• August 20, Juslyn Vineyards, hosted by Perry and Carolyn Butler
• October 15, Lail Vineyards, hosted by Robin Lail
• November 12, Renteria Wines, hosted by Oscar Renteria
Details: Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley, 6711 Washington Street, Yountville, 707-944-0889, maisonry.com.
Tip: There is plenty of room in a Pure Luxury limo or Town Car to haul back artistic treasures – focus your evening on wine and art appreciation, and leave the driving to the experts.