Sunday, March 25, 2007

Exploring Copia

During my recent day trip to Napa, I finally made a stop to Copia: The American Center for Wine Food and The Arts. I have to admit, I subconsciously avoided this massive homage to wine because it was backed and funded by Robert Mondavi, who I always consider more flash than substance. So despite the center opening in 2001, it took me nearly six years to finally step foot in it.

Despite my reservations, I found Copia to be a pleasant experience. It definitely is a beautifully designed building and there are interesting things to see. But I can't say it was enlightening or exhilarating. It was just a nice place to stroll if you're not into visiting wineries when in Napa. (That was my case since I was with my nephew who isn't of drinking age yet.) Here's a look at what you'll find when you visit Mondavi's Copia:

This statue was at the entrance. Any guess who it is? Yeah, I thought it would be Robert Mondavi as well, but it's actually Andre Tchelistecheff, who's touted as the "father of California winemaking." Apparently this Russian immigrant traveled many years ago to Napa before Napa was Napa and worked for Beaulieu Vineyards.

Like I said, the architecture of Copia is beautiful, very sweeping. Near this foyer they do have a wine tasting station, serving up free glasses for guests. They were serving Spanish wines on the day I visited.

On the second floor is a main exhibition area. I like how they focused on world food issues.

More scenes from the exhibition area. It was a quiet day.

There were several quizzes in the exhibit. I told my nephew that there were too many questions, or maybe it's because I have ADD. Still, this one particular quiz about food knowledge and safety at the grocery store was where I scored a perfect 10. Yes, I'm a "truly savvy shopper" according to Copia. (Hey, before you say it's easy, the woman before me scored just an 8.)

The bible of cooking: An original copy of "The Joy of Cooking."

One of the more interesting things at Copia is the garden with a variety of herbs and fruit trees. It's great to stroll on a beautiful day like the day we had.

My nephew taking pictures of some blooming rosemary. He loves taking picture with his digital camera, and does a pretty nice job at it too.

Apricot blossoms were in full bloom when we visited.

The restaurant at Copia is called Julia's Kitchen in honor of Julia Childs of course. I can't say what the food is like because we didn't eat lunch there, but it looked interesting.

Several people liked eating outdoors at Julia's Kitchen.

The bar leading up to Julia's Kitchen.

Yes, people do drink wine at this wine center. Apparently, these people really liked their wine since it looks like they totally drank every drip of it. (My guess is a delightful and amusing California merlot with a slight peppery note. ;-)

There's always shopping to do. Along with the gift store, there's also a food cafe selling food products.

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