Vineyard Blog

Fizzing with Inspiration

We really love to hear of people enjoying other activities than just the obvious strolling and tasting in a vineyard and the impressions of someone who has only visited a few wine producers are always a delight to hear. We get both of those in the following guest blog post by Bristol artist Laura Cramer who asked for recommendations of vineyards to paint.

We went to 3 Somerset vineyards, Smith & Evans’ Higher Plot, Oatley Vineyard and an overnight stay at Secret Valley between the two. Here she talks about just one of them and the process she went through to create a painting. Over to Laura!

Did you know that wine tourism is on the rise in the UK? Well, thanks to a friend who created the fabulous Wine Cellar Door website, I took a trip to Somerset earlier in the season, to meet some local wine producers, on a quest for new material for a series of vineyard paintings, to celebrate what we produce locally, and the fact that you don’t have to be in France to produce amazing fizz!

I’ve highlighted below, the “life cycle” of one particular painting – from sketch to completion,


One of the locations I visited, was the Smith & Evans vineyard, found on a high plot above the stunning Somerset Levels. It produces an award winning sparkling wine from the classic “Champagne” combination of the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes. I start off with some preliminary sketches. It’s a real challenge painting a vineyard, as the composition can be repetitive. But there are ways around that. In this case, the extraordinary rolling flat landscape, unique to this area, was a fabulous bonus and something I knew I had to include.

So I set to work, sketching out the scene, and slowly building up the colours, not quite knowing where it will lead. What I was particularly taken with, was the beautiful leaves of the Pinot Meunier vine, which have an almost silvery, dusty quality about them – like a dusting of flour…..which is in fact why the grape is called Meunier in the first place, as it is French for the word “miller” !

Keen to represent this exciting fact, I choose my colour palette carefully, and added some final silvery splashes to the painting in homage to my new found knowledge. “Somerset Vineyard” – oil on board 600mm x 800mm. There are so many wonderful vineyards open to the public, and as well as this one, I visited the charming Oatley Vineyard but for a full list of vineyards to visit and their opening times Wine Cellar Door website has all you need to know. 

Laura will showcase this painting, along with a range of other new work, at “The Other Art Fair”, being held at the Passenger Shed, Bristol Temple Meads from July 26th to 29th. If you would like to make enquiries about any of these paintings, please contact Laura.

Interested to do your own vineyard painting? Keep an eye on our Events Page for courses coming up (Furleigh Estate and Rural Antics are likely venues). Alternatively contact us or your local vineyard – if you talk with the owners in advance, don’t get in the way and buy a bottle or two, you will normally be very welcome.

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