Food, Wine, and Culture at Brasswood Napa Valley
Brasswood Napa Valley opened just four years ago and in that time has quickly become a favorite spot for both visitors and locals. Featuring 57 acres on the outskirts of St. Helena, the large ‘campus’ includes vineyards, a wine- making facility, a highly-regarded restaurant, a bakery, an olfactory/visual sensory room, and an art gallery. It’s a one-stop Napa shop of sorts, offering tastes and glimpses of the best of the valley.
This amalgam of food, wine, and culture is the brainchild of restaurant and wine industry veteran Marcus Marquez and Stacia Dowdell who originally met in 2012 while Marquez was in the process of opening and developing Goose & Gander in St. Helena. The duo envisioned a gathering spot featuring items and experiences that nourish mind, body, and soul. Opened since 2016, the restaurant receives rave reviews, the custom crush facility serves as home base for some of the valley’s most esteemed winemakers, and their own wines, made by Angelina Mondavi and Dowdell, are highly desired.
To help them create the cultural vision for their idealized environment, Marquez enlisted gallerist Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim to curate the Brasswood Art Gallery exhibitions.
“We were introduced through mutual friends,” said Marquez of the New York City-based Hoerle-Guggenheim.
“Our partnership is a natural fit. When putting together the Brasswood project, I sought people with passion, and Philippe is nothing but passionate about art. Our meeting was a case of right place, right time.”
“We met at a gallery in San Francisco and started brainstorming immediately,” said the debonair, French-born Hoerle-Guggenheim, who follows in the artistic and cultural footsteps of his distant Guggenheim relatives. “I visited the Brasswood site and instantly recognized the great potential it presented to showcase art. The lighting was perfect, the wall space was generous, and the history that connects art and wine made Brasswood a natural partnership for me.”
Marcus Marquez and Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim
Prior to his work with Marquez and Brasswood, Hoerle-Guggenheim had visited the Napa Valley only a few times, primarily for weddings and social occasions. “I’ve always been amazed by the beauty of Napa,” said Hoerle-Guggenheim who likens Napa to the Loire Valley where he was born and raised. “I’m familiar with the great wine estates in the South of France, and Napa is similar. The climate in Napa is near perfect; it’s just beautiful.”
These days, Hoerle-Guggenheim visits Napa regularly, at least every three months to rotate the artworks in the Brasswood gallery. The pieces (by artists both known and unknown) come directly from his Chelsea gallery – HG Contemporary Art Gallery at 527 W 23rd Street in New York, where he is known for championing hot new artists. Recently on display were works by surrealist Salvador Dali. Animal sculptures by French artist Cévé now fill the light-infused space. Many pieces displayed at Brasswood are available for purchase, others are on loan. And for those interested in ‘sampling’ artworks within their homes, Marquez and Hoerle-Guggenheim are soon to launch HNG, a club providing its members access to in-home fine art rotations with membership fees going directly to the artists. The HNG roll-out will take place this summer at Brasswood.
Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim and guests
“Art is a social commodity; it’s something around which to socialize,” said Hoerle- Guggenheim. “And Brasswood has so perfectly integrated art into its lifestyle-driven wine and food estate. Their high attention to detail and exquisite design welcomes guests with so much variety. It’s a quality environment.”
“Art nourishes the soul,” adds Marquez. “At Brasswood, we are passion- ate about stimulating all of the senses, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to present an entire sensory menu to our guests.”
Brasswood Art Gallery tours are available Saturday and Sunday mornings via the Gallery Tasting option ($75/per- son) which includes a flight of Brasswood’s small production wines paired with artisanal cheeses.
Article By: Fran Miller // Photos By: Marc Thomas Kallweit