Sterling Vineyards, Calistoga

  • Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy uses chestnut leaf stalks solely held together with hawthorn thorns for his piece "Surface Tension" on display at the Hess Collection just outside of Napa. Donald Hess purchased the piece in the early 1990's and left it boxed in pieces until Goldsworthy reassembled each stalk in the winery museum. You can view a video of Goldsworthy building the piece at www.pressdemocrat.com.

There's a touch of Disneyland here when you ride the aerial tram to the contemporary winery, but that's Sterling's appeal. Once you reach the top at 300 feet, you see an impressive sweep of Napa Valley you may not be able to pull away from.

A self-guided tour allows a glimpse of the winery's workings and ultimately leads you to the tasting room. Cabernet is the winery's flagship, although it makes several varietals.

Day trip advice: Have lunch at All Seasons Bistro (1400 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 942-9111), and then stroll Main Street. Be sure to stop in Zenobia, which resembles a museum with artistic clothes and crafts (1410 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga, 942-1050), before heading to Sterling to take in a high altitude view of the valley, (1111 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, 942-3344).

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