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Former winery has a taste for art

NAPA — More than 200 scenic acres in southern Napa Valley have gone from vineyard to cattle grazing to flora and fauna. At the di Rosa Preserve, the former home of winery owner and art collector Rene di Rosa, nature, art and serenity enjoy a harmonic convergence.

The preserve's collection houses nearly 2,300 pieces of art in a variety of both mainstream and unique media. The Gatehouse Gallery and the Main Gallery are the two contemporary homes to a collection that represents more than 900 different Northern California artists.

The diverse and sometimes odd or unusual pieces encompass everything from oils and acrylics to charcoals and enamels. Some of the more quirky pieces include a skateboard painted with oil, acrylic and gold leafing and a 1976 Oldsmobile that is covered with an array of different objects, including a rhino head.

The grounds of the di Rosa Preserve are graced with beauty, both in its own Winery Lake and in the old di Rosa home. The 125-year-old winery-turned-residence also houses hundreds of works of art and is complete with a stone bell tower that has a still-functioning bell.

Touring the preserve is a chance to visualize the past days of a functioning winery, enjoy large, steel, sculpted animals that dot the hillsides and see a collection of art that evokes both chuckles and amazement.

WHERE: 5200 Carneros Highway 121, southern Napa Valley

WHEN: The Gateway Gallery is open to drop-in visitors Tuesdays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Introductory one-hour tours are offered at 11 a.m. and noon. Discovery tours that take two and a half hours are offered at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Saturday tour schedule is 10 a.m. for the Art & Meadow tour and 11 a.m. and noon for the Discovery tour. Both Saturday tours are two and a half hours. Reservations are recommended for weekday tours and required for Saturday tours.

COST: Admission for the Gateway Gallery is $3. Tour prices are $10 for the introductory tour and $15 for the Discovery and Art & Meadow tours. Reservations for weekdays are recommended and reservations for Saturday tours are required.

GETTING THERE: From Modesto, take Highway 99 north to Manteca. Take Highway 120 (Manteca Bypass) to Mossdale and merge with Interstate 5 south. Take Interstate 205 (Tracy Bypass) toward San Francisco for 11 miles. I-205 merges with Interstate 580 at the Altamont Pass. Continue west on I-580 to Dublin. Take Interstate 680 north toward Sacramento. In Cordelia, take the I-80 West exit. Take Jameson Canyon Road (Highway 12) toward Napa/Sonoma. Make a slight right onto Highway 12/29. Turn left onto Highway 121/12 toward Sonoma. Continue 2 miles. Turn right into the di Rosa Preserve, just beyond Domaine Carneros winery.

DRIVE TIME: 1 hour, 50 minutes (MapQuest)

MORE INFORMATION: 707-226-5991 or

Bee assistant librarian Karen Aiello can be reached at or 578-2392.