Where to Go Next: The Donum Estate
Exclusive Resorts CEO James Henderson takes a road trip to Sonoma, California.
During a recent road trip through Napa and Sonoma, one of my first stops was The Donum Estate. Located on 200 hillside acres in the fertile Carneros region, Donum marries art and wine, with more than 40 spectacular artworks from internationally acclaimed artists on display. Both the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe I was test driving and my senses were in hyperdrive: While slowly navigating the driveway to Donum, a massive 40-foot sculpture titled “Sanna” by Jaume Plensa came into sharp focus. A depiction of a young woman in meditation, the artwork’s effect was immediately calming and inviting.
After receiving a warm welcome by the Donum team, I toured the property further (with Donum Rosé in hand, of course), and what I discovered was outstanding. Translating to “gift of the land,” Donum only produces single-vineyard estate wines, and while tasting the outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, here’s what I learned:
WHAT TO SEE
No other experience bridges art and wine like Donum. Expect large-scale, open-air pieces by such artists as Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring, Tracy Emin, and Fernando Botero. Hong Kong-based collectors Allan and Mei Warburg acquired the property in 2015 and have specifically commissioned pieces for the estate. One of the most noteworthy is the massive heart, titled “Love Me,” by Richard Hudson. “I wanted it to be away from the winery, and closer to nature’s bounty,” Hudson says in Donum’s audio tour. Also of note is “Care of Oneself,” a large stainless steel sculpture of two male figures by Norwegian artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Another favorite is Carl Fredrik Reutersward’s “Non-Violence,” a massive gun with its barrel thwarted. Wine of course, is continual inspiration, and Indian artist Subodh Gupta’s “Soma” is a Pinot Noir bottle created entirely from everyday steel cooking utensils. “[The idea for] the cooking utensils came as magic,” says Gupta in an audio tour. “I took all my kitchen utensils and placed them in my living room, and that’s how I began.”
WHAT TO SIP
Donum’s 200-acre estate is composed of vines, olive trees, lavender fields, and the glorious aforementioned artworks juxtaposed across the rolling hills. Wine of course, is the DNA of Donum. With sustainability always top of mind, Donum employs native yeast for fermentation, avoids additives, and ferments in small lots. The result? Final cuvees feature only free-run juice. And when I tasted the final product, the owners’ passion and patience in coaxing the grapes to perfection is much appreciated. Make sure to visit the recently finished winery, also anchored in sustainability: Solar panels, waste-water recycling, and filling barrels by gravity all reduce environmental impact.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE
Club Members traveling through the Napa and Sonoma Valleys on a custom road trip designed by Club partner All Roads North can request a visit to The Donum Estate be added to their custom vacation itinerary. Additionally, Members can arrange a visit directly with Donum — view more on The Source or contact your Ambassador.