I wined on Friday this week, at my favorite hilltop wine haven of Chateau O'Brien. Earlier in 2011 I did an architectural concept sketch for Howard O'Brien, the owner, who was planning to create an artificial barrel cave dug into the side of a hill on the property. He traded me a case of his best selected wines for it, and I still have a few bottles left. I saw the art in a stairwell near his office, but so far, due to bad weather, the construction has not happened yet. He's planning to start in early spring, if all goes well. I sipped the Chateau's "Northpoint Rose' " and drew this quick study of the rustic woodsy interior with its stone wall areas, and a color sketch of the leafless hills in orange sunset light.
Winter wining is so difficult that I probably won't do much of it. It is already getting dark when I visit the winery, and I have to make my way back home in darkness, heavy traffic, and construction, all after "de-wining." There are always plenty of urban wine shops to visit, though I wish I were able to get to the countryside more often. Right near Chateau O'Brien is a little neighborhood in which the owner of a number of houses is renovating them. These are historic buildings, some from before the Civil War. Some of them are homes to rent. There is a problem, though: a freight train roars through the neighborhood every couple of hours, including early in the morning, and the tracks are literally only a couple of yards from the front of the houses. You would really have to love trains to live there. It's a fascinating place anyway and I hope I'll be able to make more drawings there when it's warmer out.