Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Grape Crusher

The Grape Crusher

Just south of Napa, on a hilltop named Vista Point, stands a monumental (really big, larger than life) sculpture of a man using a primitive wine press to crush grapes. You can see it from Highway 29 as you skirt around the south edge of Napa.

In the mid to late 1980s I happened to be strolling through the sculpture gardens of the Shidoni Foundry, located in the village of Tesuque, just a few minutes north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This sculpture was on display in their outdoor sculpture garden, dwarfing everything else there. 

As I stood there in awe of this massive bronze figure the owner of the foundry walked up and told me that it was going to be put on a big truck and hauled to Napa, California. 

Years later (mid 90s) I traveled to Napa with Robin to visit her mother. As we approached Napa on Highway 29,  I suddenly saw The Grape Crusher standing there in its permanent setting, surrounded by rolling golden hills and vineyards. We’ve driven by it many times since then.

On this trip we finally made time to drive up the hill to see the sculpture up close and enjoy the small park and surrounding scenery. While Robin read a book I picked out a spot and sketched the grape crusher. The mid-morning light fell perfectly and dramatically across the bronze. 

Great sculpture. Beautiful day. Nice memory.