The di Rosa Preserve (or as they now call themselves, just di Rosa) began as the personal holdings of Rene and Veronica di Rosa. Together, they assembled what may be the most significant collection of San Francisco Bay Area art in the world, works created from the 1960s to the present.
Since 2000, the di Rosa Preserve has been a nonprofit public trust, sitting amidst more than 200 acres of land in the Carneros region of south Napa County. The Preserve is housed in three buildings: the Gatehouse Gallery, Main Gallery, and the di Rosa's residence.
The Gatehouse is open weekdays for drop-in visitors, but to see the rest of the place, you'll need to make a reservation for one of their guided tours. Find out about them here.
di Rosa Preserve Tips
- Children under 11 years old get in free, but know your kids: quite a few of the artworks include nude body parts or other adult content.
- The length of the tours varies and the longest ones (which run through lunch time) can be a bit too much for the casual visitor. If you're unsure how much you'll like it, try the Introductory tour, which lasts only an hour and a half.
- A large group with a chatty docent could go overtime. For a relaxed visit, plan your next stop as if the tour were a half hour longer than scheduled.
- You'll be riding in an open jitney and walking around outdoors on gravel paths. Dress in layers, with comfy shoes.
- You can take photos (no flash or tripods), but only for your own use.
- Leave anything large (backpacks, large bags) at home or in your vehicle.
- The only animals allowed are service animals.
di Rosa Preserve Review
The panoply of wineries and food-related spots in Napa - while enjoyable - can sometimes overwhelm the senses. For Napa visitors who think they might enjoy what it has to offer, the di Rosa Preserve makes a nice diversion, a treat for the eyes instead of the palate.
That being said, di Rosa isn't for everyone. The art works are decidedly twentieth-century in style, and the collection's content was shaped by di Rosa's penchant for finding emerging talent, which means already-established artists of the period may not be represented. If you're open to new experiences and new ways of looking at things, you may like Di Rosa, but if your taste runs toward Old Masters and Impressionist painters, this probably isn't the place for you.
If You Liked the di Rosa Preserve, You May Also Like
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art owns works by many of the same artists you'll see at di Rosa. Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum also has an extensive collection of early and contemporary California art. In Los Angeles, try the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown.
What You Need to Know About di Rosa Preserve
Open several days a week, closed on most holidays. Check the current schedule. If you want to see more than just the Gatehouse Gallery, you'll need to reserve a spot on a guided tour. Tours last 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Add a little more time for a leisurely visit. Any time is a great time to visit - much of it is indoors, but it's especially nice on a sunny day.
Where is di Rosa Preserve?
di Rosa Preserve
5200 Sonoma Highway
di Rosa Preserve website
The di Rosa Preserve is located on CA Hwy 12 in the Carneros winegrowing region. You can get there from San Francisco, from the west via US Hwy 101 and CA Hwy 37 or from the east side of the bay on I-80 through Vallejo.
What Else is Near di Rosa Preserve?
Just down the highway is one of our favorite places to stay in California, the Carneros Inn. You'll also find many wineries in the area, and it's less than a mile to Domaine Carneros, a sparkling wine house owned by Taittinger. A nice follow up to your art tour: sip a glass of their finest bubbles on the outdoor terrace while you talk over what you've just seen at di Rosa.