Opened in 2008 by financial figure Michael Polenske, Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is the product of passion and play.
Coming from the high powered financial sector of Wall Street, Polenske decided to take what money he made and invest in a new venture which combined what he loved with what he’d love to do.
He acquired a manor house in Yountville, north of San Francisco, in the dream-laden land of Napa Valley. The space was originally built in 1904 as a private residence, and is one of three stone buildings in the town, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It then spent time as a seven room inn, before finally falling in Polenske’s hands to become what he has branded a “living gallery” art space and wine tasting venue.
By combining artwork, sculpture, garden, and premium wines – the curators at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley have created a “setting in which people come to be inspired by all things aesthetic.” By curating a “Life Aesthetic” they have created a marriage of urban and pastoral – an oasis of sculpture, art and design. “With every collection created by the hand of an artist, artisan, or designer, Ma(i)sonry’s varied incarnations are each as richly textured as the other, celebrating life’s aesthetics.”
In the back of the manor house, in the gardens outside, a 36-foot long redwood communal table rests in the middle of four 90 year old olive trees, planted there to encompass the guests and bring them together during their wine tasting experience.
Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is a beautiful union between antiqued artistry and contemporary creativity. All art on the premises is available for purchase, as are the portfolios of premium wines including Polenske’s vintage from Blackbird Vineyards. Polenske acquired the wine label around the same time he chose to mark his claim in Napa. He says he made the move to purchase the Merlot grapes after learning a lesson from his billionaire clients: put your money only in projects that reflect your personal interests. He tells SF Gate, “Art, food, furniture, wine — these are all things that are about leisure, that give life its texture.”
A dinner series has been in the works during the summer and fall, with the last dinner set for November 12th. These suppers are staged in the garden, surrounded by the original sculptures and installations, near the fire pit and fountain. Each dinner has hosted a different winemaker, with wine pairings to compliment the elegant meals. This last will feature Renteria Wines and will be hosted by Oscar Renteria himself. The space is open seven days a week. To learn more about all the various facets of the space, and to purchase your ticket to the November 12th dinner, visit their site here.