I'm a huge fan of modern architecture, even at its most extravagant, perhaps best embodied by the warped sheet metal excesses of architect Frank Gehry. I think the stuff is gorgeous, inspiring, and way, way too expensive.
It's incredible to me how much people end up paying for these buildings, no matter how beautiful they are. It's sort of like paying a few hundred dollars for a bottle of wine. Yes you might enjoy it, but did you enjoy it ten times more than that $30 bottle? I'd bet not.
In an unfortunate collision of these two worlds, it has recently been announced that Kathryn Hall vineyards has commissioned none other than the esteemed Mr. Gehry to develop a new visitors center on their winemaking property, just off of Highway 29 in Napa, former site of Edgewood Vineyards.
So in a few years we will have a gorgeous, nay, stunning, piece of work in The Valley, an ode to the landscape wrought in stucco, glass, and wood (no rolling steel sheets on this one). We will also have lots more traffic on the already beleaguered Highway 29, and Kathryn will have to support the overhead of the new facility, which means, of course, more expensive wine.
If the American wine industry needs to know why wine sales don't approach that of France or elsewhere in Europe they need look no further than this new building. Like most museums with their unspoken "look-but-don't-touch-this-painting-is-more-valuable-than-your-life" atmospheres, efforts like this new facility may create aesthetic enjoyment but ultimately perpetuate the upper-class elitism that keeps wine prices high and the masses flocking to Trader Joes for swill in a bottle.
I'll be there on opening day to bask in the modernist glory of the new Kathryn Hall winery, but you won't find me buying many bottles of wine, even if they are signed by Frank Gehry.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 28, 2015 Brand vs. Terroir in Wine I'll Drink to That: Andrea Fassone of Enotria Wine Imports Vinography Images: Independence Vineyard Warm Up: The Italian Influence in California I'll Drink to That: Megan Glaab of Ryme Cellars Listen Up!! I'll Drink to That on Vinography A First Taste of Idaho Wine Tasting Integrity: 25 Years of Corison Napa Cabernet Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 21, 2015
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune