The California Wine Country is a region of Northern California in the United States known as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century. There are over 400 wineries in the area north of San Francisco, mostly located in the area's valleys, including Napa Valley in Napa County, and the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, and Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. I am working on a campaign with CK Mondavi and wanted to create an artwork that would fit with the upcoming campaign post. This painting is titled "California Grapes" and is a mixed media piece measuring 16x20 inches. I painted it after an old print I found that was rather faded and dull looking. I loved how the leaves set off the grapes and decided to punch it all up and make the grapes just as juicy looking as can be. The painting is also available in a variety of prints here.
The first recorded planting of a vineyard in California was by a Jesuit Missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino at San Bruno in 1683. After a year and a half after the mission was built at San Bruno, it was abandoned and it is unclear what happened to the vineyard. In 1779, missionaries under the direction of Father Junípero Serra planted California's first sustained vineyard, right 20 minutes south from where I live! Father Serra was quite a wine lover and it is believed that each of the eight other missions he built also had vineyards. Father Junípero Serra death in 1784 never knowing that he once will be called the "Father of California Wine". The variety he planted, presumably descended from earlier Mexican plantings, became known as the Mission grape and dominated California wine production until about 1880. Well if it were not for my nasty cold, I would raise a glass in his honor!