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Friday Slide Show: Viansa Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

20 April 2018

Once upon a time we kept the Rumbalino garaged in Sonoma and would visit it there on a weekend now and then. We never used the kitchen in the adjoining house because the house was vacant and there were no staples on the shelves. So we would stop along the way to buy lunch.

Viansa. A Carneros stop in Sonoma County.

One of our favorite spots was Viansa, about 35 minutes north of San Francisco above San Pablo Bay in the Carneros region. It was established in 1989 by a grandson of Samuele Sebastiani, who had saved enough money making cobblestones for the streets in San Francisco to buy the vineyard in 1904.

It isn't just a vineyard and shop with a deli, though. It's also 90 acres of wetlands the family returned to nature in the early 1990s. It's the largest privately-owned wetland in Sonoma County, home to over 36 species of wildfowl.

The buildings are new, the grounds immaculate and the food and wine wonderful. We would get a sandwich and some fresh salads (everything sourced from the local farms) and continue our drive to the house.

It's been years now since we last were up that way.

But we couldn't help, as we walked around, spying some scene of surprising beauty. There is some stunning ironwork and a few sculptures on the property, some of which you have to look for. It became our idea of the intersection between art and technology, if you know what we mean.

It's been years now since we last were up that way.

And, frankly, we didn't usually take the time to shoot photographs while we were there. We tried to make it a short break, hoping to get the Rumbalino out before the sun went down for a quick trip through the backroads of the Sonoma Valley where we would sometimes find ourselves on a road that snaked through an old vineyard.

But once in a while we took a few photos, usually when we had visitors with us who wanted to see the sights.

Unfortunately, in those days we only owned digicams which only saved JPEGs. Our Nikon 990 and Kodak Easy-Share One took these. Which gives us pause, if you know what we mean.

The Kodak shots are distinguishable by their too-blue Kodak-blue skies and blown highlights. The Nikon images are more natural to start with. Even though we took them a year apart, they could be shot on the same day. It seems like the weather is always lovely there.

These images are 12 and 13 years old. The vineyard has been replanted and no doubt there have been a few changes to the grounds. The more things change, we've heard, they more they stay the same.

Sometimes you just need an escape. And since we have no excuse to go up there any more, we thought we'd just revisit it in these images, inviting you along.

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