Drink in the Art

Discover new artists and their artwork while enjoying local wines

Guests at Hummingbird Estate looking at artwork. ##Photo by Kade Linville
Taste wine while surrounded by art at AWEN Winecraft. ##Photo provided
A woman sitting at a spinning wheel in Triple Oak Wine Vault’s “sip and spin” group. ##Photo by Betty Tamm

By Paula Bandy

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Pablo Picasso

Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art and wine make a virtuous pair. Throughout the centuries and in all cultures, wine has figured in art, as in life, as a symbol of health, wealth and the good life. Wine transcends boundaries, and the myriad ways it’s been rendered in art express viable experiences, ancient to modern. Images of wine in art often illustrate the romantic, still life in beauty, reflection and a visual interpretation of abundance. A glass of wine is often used for increasing artistic skill in depicting light. Do we doubt the fruit of the artist’s labor was imbibed once the work was completed?

There is a reciprocal nature to art in wineries. Ashland’s Belle Fiore Winery married wine and art with their Belle Arte Limited Edition ‘Artist Series’ wine label. Since 2014, it’s held an annual competition. The original winning artwork is displayed in the winery’s gallery, along with a series of wine labels; literally, wine in art.

Initially, art in wineries may seem abstract, but chosen well, it contributes in abundance. It elevates the culture and ambiance, enriching the environment. Art can add additional experiences, too, including: connection, empathy, aesthetics and communication. Culturally, wine, like art, act as a symbol of transformation as the grapes undergo fermentation.

Art in wineries elevates and surprises. It exposes people who don’t normally frequent galleries and allows artists an opportunity to share their vision with the world. Sell. Change perspective. Change the world. Suitable art must be in the right winery or it simply won’t work. When selected and presented properly, art enhances the wine lover’s experience, and even build bridges.

Scientific proof has emerged regarding the importance and qualifiable evidence of the power of art. This area of study is called neuroaesthetics, or, in a broader sense, neuroarts. Measurable studies have shown art and aesthetics change us. In the book Your Brain on Art, Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, professor of neurology, psychology, and architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, explains, “A good orange, if it’s just sweet, feels insipid. You need a little bit of acidity in there to feel like it’s a really good taste, and the arts do that in a more complicated way.”

The English language contains numerous static nouns that objectify. Reframing art “as a verb” evokes emotions and reminds us there is much more to life. Art moves, illuminates and connects. It can also break down barriers while building community. Art can shift perspectives, leading us to beauty.

Finding art in Oregon wineries

Rogue Valley

AWEN Winecraft is located in the historic White’s Country Farm building near Medford. With its high ceilings, a wall of windows and wine-colored walls, the owners created a showcase for art. They present a rotation of local artists’ paintings, mixed media art and photography. The long bar is a work of art in itself. The front is clad with wine barrel tops in colors ranging from pale straw, rose to deep red, stained by the wines fermented within. At its center is a Celtic knot, symbolizing balance. The bar top is crafted from live-edge maple. All their wines spend some time in oak, creating a consistent creamy smoothness to even their crispest white.

Outside Jacksonville, Dos Mariposas Vineyard & Lavender’s garage-style doors to a large pond surrounded by willows. The tasting room evokes a Southwestern vibe, with brightly painted walls, and a display of old barn wood designed for art. Local fine artists portraying bright colors and sometimes a more naive art style are available for purchase. Sip some distinctive and fine wines, including a sparkling rosé of Dolcetto, along with hard cider made from estate pear and apple trees.

Driving toward Jacksonville, Hummingbird Estate sits atop a hill overlooking the Rogue Valley. At night, the firepits and city lights offer unparalleled ambiance. This historic 1920s farmhouse is a perfect gallery to purchase local art. Dreamy watercolors, local scenes painted in oil, as well as modern abstracts, grace the walls. You can also sip the only white Pinot Noir in the Valley.
South Stage Cellars, an historic 1864 brick building in downtown Jacksonville, presents a continuously rotating display from local artists. Choose from portraits, landscapes, charcoal drawings, and much more in a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Art is for sale, so let the selection of over 40 wines inspire you to choose that special piece.

The Urban Cork, located in the City Center Wine District, is downtown Medford’s first, and only, urban winery. Part of Pallet Wines, the custom crush facility on the block, The Urban Cork offers wines from their custom crush customers, some exclusively available here. One of the exterior walls features a large, expansive, vibrant, watercolor-like mural of wine bottles. Not to be missed, it’s the focal point for the newly opened City Center Wine Bar.

Umpqua  Valley

Freed Estate Winery in Winston hosts a variety of local artwork in their tasting room. The gallery space was an original part of the building’s design. The rotation display includes paintings, sculpture and ceramics. The winery also offers summertime workshops, and some watercolors on wine labels. Their estate wines, made by exceptional local winemakers, include four reds and a Viognier.

Triple Oak Wine Vault, located in a historic bank building in Oakland, in association with Umpqua Valley Arts Association, includes a rotating display of art, ranging from paintings to fiber arts along with a permanent display of artists. Smaller art pieces, including jewelry, ceramics, woodworking and handwoven rugs, are also available for purchase. Tempranillo is Triple Oak’s signature wine; they also stock bottles from nearby wineries.

Willamette Valley

A to Z Wineworks, a B Corp winery, maintains a unique yearlong Artist in Residency program at their REX HILL estate in Newberg. Selected through a rigorous application process, the resident artist hosts talks, demonstrations and workshops, followed by an exhibit of their work in the tasting room. Their website explains, “…arts can enrich lives and expand vision through engagement with diverse, thoughtful perspectives, that help us grow as human beings.” White, pink, and red wines, along with bubbles are available at the winery.

Ten Oaks Gallery in McMinnville, housed inside a 1908 Craftsman home, presents a wide range of art at the gallery and online, but they also show in five Willamette Valley wineries. The art displayed in the wineries focus on vineyards, grapes, wine and Oregon wine country. Artworks are available to purchase at the wineries.

Trisaetum Winery, located on Ribbon Ridge in Newberg, produces fine wines and the owner/winemaker is also an accomplished abstract expressionist artist. The James Frey Collection is available at the winery and online. He sometimes incorporates vineyard soil, grape leaves and skins within his paintings to create texture. A wide selection of award-winning wines and a 1500 sq. ft. gallery await your visit.

Wine, combined with art, encourages community dialogue. Enjoy a joyous escape by finding comfort in the aesthetics of ambiance and the sip of a fine wine.

Paula Bandy, a writer transplant from the flatlands of Illinois to the mountains of Southern Oregon, is currently the bi-weekly wine columnist for Rogue Valley Times. She’s covered wine, lifestyle, food and home for Southern Oregon Magazine, and additional national and international academic publications. She was a writer and on-air commentator for Jefferson Public Radio, the Southern Oregon University NPR affiliate, for a decade. She’s also a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist (CSWS) and jewelry designer, pb~bodyvine. Connect with her at

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