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The Napa You Need to Experience According to Hometown Artist Gordon Huether

Let prolific Napa-based artist Gordon Huether tell you where to sip, savor and explore in Wine Country.

Napa-based artist Gordon Huether is best known for his large-scale, site-specific installations marked by the use of glass, light, rich colors and found objects.

In recent years, Huether’s also become more visible in the local community, serving on the Napa City Planning Commission. He founded his wine country studio in 1987, and since then he’s gone on to earn a stream of public and private art commissions from airports, corporations, hospitals and museums all over the world.

Wine country visitors can admire his work in public spaces around Napa as well as at a number of wineries, including Artesa Winery, where he’s served as the artist-in-residence for almost two decades, as well as the newly opened Blue Note jazz club in downtown Napa. His large, freshly renovated Napa studio—home to a gallery with a rotating selection of his own fine art as well as work by guest artists—is free and open to the public on weekdays.

Napa 9/11 Memorial by Gordon Huether
Napa 9/11 Memorial by Gordon Huether (Courtesy Gordon Huether)

What do you love about living and working in Wine Country?

I have lived in Napa most of my life and wouldn’t live anywhere else. The extraordinary presence of nature is inspiring for sure. I crisscross the country on a regular basis and am always so happy to come home to this place we call Napa Valley.  

What local wines have you been enjoying lately? 

There are just too many to name! I would recommend people visit the Bounty Hunter wine shop in downtown Napa for an incredible collection of hard-to-find wines. 

What are your favorite Wine Country restaurants?

Angèle and Cole’s Chop House here in Napa are my favorites. These two restaurants are classic Napa and were the first restaurants to appear at the beginning of Napa’s renaissance more than a decade ago. The people, the service, the food and the ambiance are second to none. 

Napa art installation by Gordon Huether
Napa art installation by Gordon Huether (Courtesy Gordon Huether)

How does Northern California Wine Country influence your art?

I’m inspired by the natural beauty and the diverse and high quality architecture of this place.

Do you have a favorite vista point in the region? 

My favorite views are from Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga. The only way to get up to their winery is by gondola. It’s a little adventure just getting to the top of their hill.

What’s your favorite time of day in Wine Country?

The perfect time of day depends on the time of year, but for me I love the early morning winters. It’s misty weather. Everything has a layer of moisture on it and it simply feels magical. 

Playground Fantástico in Napa by Gordon Huether
Playground Fantástico in Napa by Gordon Huether (Courtesy Gordon Huether)

What’s your best advice for visitors planning a day trip to Wine Country?

I would start by visiting the Napa Valley Welcome Center in downtown Napa. The staff there is friendly and very well informed on all things Napa Valley. They can help you put a customized itinerary together for your Napa Valley adventure. 

Where would you send art lovers visiting Wine Country?

We have some amazing art venues here in Napa. The Hess Collection, the di Rosa art preserve and Hall Winery are my top three recommendations. All three are private collections that are open to the public for viewing and inspiration.