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The Hess Collection winery is part of a historic site where wine was first produced in the 1860s. In 1930 the property is sold to the Christian Brothers who were seeking a site for a new novitiate, a school and winery. In 1986, Donald Hess leases the winery buildings from The Christian Brothers and The Hess Collection Winery opened to the public in June of 1989.
Prior to opening, the site undertook a two-year renovation of the facility which included 13,000 square feet of Donald Hess’ personal contemporary art collection.
An Andy Goldsworthy exhibit at the art museum
Today, Hess’ collection is considered by ARTnews Magazine to be one of the top 200 in the world. His collecting style is a personal endeavor driven by passion rather than monetary investment or current trends.
He develops a close dialogue with an artist to better understand what drives him or her to create and he carefully limits his focus as a collector. As is evident by the caliber of the collection, he collects with the uncanny ability to acquire works by lesser known artists who often go on to become well known and respected in their disciplines. His typical commitment to an artist spans decades and various stages of his career.
The winery has earned international recognition for its wine, culinary and visitor programs while providing free public access to Donald Hess’ extensive private contemporary Art Museum.
A jury of experts from San Francisco and the Napa Valley conferred on The Hess Collection a Best Of Wine Tourism award inthe Art & Culture category for 2018.
(Text and photos courtesy of The Hess Collection)