Sometimes a property just needs a little more oomph. The gardens are green, the flowers come and go, but what kind of a statement can be made to really demonstrate that yours is a special and unique place. The answer is: a piece of sculpture, a work of art. I see more and more sculptures dotting the wine country landscape and we are trying to decide what might be best for our little bit of heaven. So I am doing research by surveying the environs on the best sculpture and my findings are themselves, a work of art.

Like dogs and cabernet, old tractors are in the fabric of wine country. Now, instead of trading that tractor in for a new one, the old tractor becomes a piece of sculpture proudly displayed on the front lawn, the rustier, the better. One day the tractor is a worthless piece of junk that won’t start, the next day its value triples when it is forever parked as a piece of sculpture. Other rusty farm implements can be a worthy complement to the old John Deere. The caveat is that any farm implement must have a use from the past that is unknown and look like something used for torture. I would be open to such a piece of yard sculpture but it seems one shouldn’t have to actually pay for a piece of broken machinery. Owners of the useless tractors think otherwise.

Another option that requires more artistry than something that came out of the junk pile is the large metal animals formed by creative welders. Sometimes driving by a field and noticing a life-size giraffe or a triceratops can be startling but can add a safari-like creative flair to the landscape. One hopes that a life-size stegosaurus will also keep the coyotes away. The trick with sculpture is to add to the landscape without attracting too much attention. That big metal elephant in the yard will make people slow down to take a look, and we don’t need that.

Some vineyards feature those tall interesting towers with what looks like an airplane propeller at the top. They can look like sculptures and I like those but have yet to figure out where one might get one.

Real artists create real sculptures at real prices. Wineries tend to feature these big pieces as a part of the experience and these works of art add much to the valley. The pieces range from rabbits that are as big as a large oak tree to carved stones in overlapping circles and large fountains with Greek goddesses pouring wine out of beautiful vessels. These pieces are part of the attraction of wine country and make the place better even though visitors anxious to get to that latest chardonnay release often overlook them. Like other goods in life, the size of the sculpture dictates the size of the price, and we need one that is pretty big. These real sculptures done by real artists are my favorites and someday when I win the lottery I am going to buy one.

After all of this research, my solution is simple: I am going to try my hand at creating a sculpture. I believe I have the ingredients for a good one. I have quite a few broken shovel heads, a metal cement mixer that no longer works, an old metal mailbox, a bumper from a 1958 Chevy and a batch of dead vines from a neighboring vineyard. My tools are limited to a hammer and baling wire but I am sure the masterpiece will come together as a work of art. It will be abstract; one of a kind, and it will be, no doubt, placed in a location where it cannot be seen.

Rich Moran spends his time in wine country marveling at nature.

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