Maple Creek Winery – Artevino
Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
Unexpected delights are the reward of a road trip. For Modeliste, Maple Creek Winery and its owner, Tom Rodrigues, are a wonderful discovery and delightful reward in the Yorkville Highlands of Anderson Valley. On your winding journey on Highway 128 to California’s northern coast, an unforgettable wine tasting and captivating story makes this a must stop along the way. Anderson Valley is known as a premier wine growing region for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As we enjoyed our wine tasting at Maple Creek Winery, owner Tom Rodrigues shared his story, the transition from his successful career as an artist in Marin County to a career in the art of winemaking in Yorkville, Anderson Valley. The oft told story is delivered with an artist’s sense of whimsy and a pride and passion for both of his crafts. ARTEVINO: the name captures the essence of his creations, the culmination of art and the art of winemaking, and the results are a treat for the palate and palette. His history as an artist designing labels for other wineries, such as Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel, is now manifested in his own branding, each varietal uniquely personalized in his ARTEVINO “Vineyard Series”.
The samplings each had a story and Tom brought the process to life, alerting the senses to discriminate and appreciate each subtle difference and nuance. His work with Kerry Damskey, a friend and consulting winemaker, has led to perfection in French style winemaking. One of their many secrets is the advantage of small lots resulting in award winning wines highlighted by an Estate Chardonnay, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Largo Ridge Zinfandel, Estate Merlot and Symphony. A lovely crisp 2015 Flora Blush captured my heart as well.
The scenic route from California Highway 101 to the coast winds its way through a patchwork quilt of picturesque vineyards into a forest of giant redwoods forming a canopy filtering sunshine through fluttering leaves. The renowned twists and turns of Highway 128 capture the magic of nature in all its shades of green, around each bend in the road a perfect canvas is revealed, a blend of color and light that inspires the artist within.
Nature’s art is a presence everywhere, manifested in broad swaths of landscapes and fine details of grapes on the vine and flowers blossoming on the forest floor, the range of blues in ocean and sky described in names like cerulean and azure, sapphire and turquoise. As art tells a story, so does each artist. At Maple Creek Winery, Tom Rodrigues embodies the creative spirit and passion of an artist whose creative journey led from his early fascination with stained glass to painting on large canvases to designing elegant wine labels to finding new inspiration in the art of winemaking. Modeliste recommends this unexpected delight as a genuine reward of a road trip to California’s northern coast.