The Hess Collection
A Lifelong Passion for Art & Wine
10:00A - 5:00P
ENTRY FEE: FREE
Minutes from the restaurants and boutiques of downtown Napa, a winding, wooded country road leads to this iconic winery, where you'll find fine vintages to taste, gardens to stroll, and something utterly unexpected: an art collection 50 years in the making, including works by Robert Rauschenberg, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Motherwell, Andy Goldsworthy, Frank Stella and other titans of modern and contemporary art.
Housed in a century-old stone building, three floors of airy, light-filled galleries hold more than 100 works—paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, sculptures and even video installations—representing roughly a quarter of the collection assembled by Swiss-born vintner Donald Hess since 1966. The rest are on display in museums around the world.
Unlike conventional museum holdings, this private collection reflects a singular vision and personal passion; Hess only acquires works that move him deeply, from artists with whom he has forged a relationship. He focuses on no more than 20 artists at a time, collecting works from each over the span of several years – creating, in a sense, a mini retrospective of each artist.
Even the surrounding garden, created by renowned landscape architect Peter Walker and planted by ornamental grass and planted meadow guru John Greenlee, is a work of art.
The Hess Collection is open to the public daily, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and admission is free. Enjoy the art at your own pace, guided by audio tours you can listen to online or download from iTunes (search: The Hess Collection). Unique food &wine pairings, called Tour of the Palate, are available, as well as wine and chocolate experiences and artisan cheese tastings paired with special Small Block Series Wines. Reserve online or by calling  255-1144.
Insider Tip: Keep an eye on the Hess Collection event calendar or Facebook page to find out about upcoming artist talks or snag a coveted seat for a film screening in the winery's theater (including the annual Animation Show of Shows in October).
Did You Know? Donald Hess is so passionate about art, one museum can't begin to hold his entire collection—beyond the Napa Valley, his finds fill Hess Art Collection museums at Glen Carlou Winery in South Africa and Bodega Colomé in Argentina, dedicated to 9 light installations by James Turrell.
Don't Miss: Homage, a burning Typewriter by Argentinean artist Leopoldo Maler; British artist Andy Goldworthy's Surface Tension, a floor-to-ceiling screen of chestnut leaf stems held in place entirely by Hawthorn spines; and Johanna 2, a hyperrealist painting by Swiss artist Franz Gertch of a woman with the enigmatic smile of a modern-day Mona Lisa. Even up close, you'll swear the 10’ square portrait's a photograph.