On most days, landscape painter Wade Hoefer, 65, retreats with his Bernese mountain dog, Pluto, to a restored 1880 studio behind Soda Rock Winery in the Alexander Valley. Widely collected, his work has been shown in galleries around the world. Lately, he’s been working on incorporating spices such as turmeric, curry and cayenne into his work.
THEN: Born on a naval base in Long Beach
NOW: Lives in Calistoga with his partner, Henriette Steinrueck, who is the tasting room manager at Castello di Amorosa winery.
WHEN VISITORS HAPPEN ON HIS STUDIO: “That kind of comes with the territory, even if sometimes it’s a minor annoyance. Some people come over and they’ve had too much to drink and they’re frolicking around and I’m trying to get work done.”
PAST LIFE: Vineyard manager and landscape architect at Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville (1981-1991).
WHEN HE’S NOT PAINTING: Likely found in his Calistoga garden, which he describes as “green, gray and white” with olives, privet hedges, star jasmine and potato vines.
INSPIRATION TO PAINT WITH SPICES: In 2010, “in the village in Spain where I was working, every Monday morning they had a market and this Moroccan guy would set up a big table of spices in perfect pyramids. And every day I would go by and say, ‘What can I do with these spices?’ They’re very textural, very physical. They look like slabs or objects. … they really hark back to the earth.”
THE LIGHT IN SONOMA COUNTY: “I like it when it’s transitional, when you don’t know if it’s coming up or going down. It’s timeless.”