My name is Daniel Wilson, and I have been an artist all my life, and a creative and marketing professional for 20+ years. I got my first “real” camera (a Pentax 35mm film camera) in 1993, and have been making and working with images ever since. Before launching Photovino, I was the graphic designer for one of Napa Valley’s leading luxury wine brands for several years, where I learned firsthand the types of photography wineries need most.
Much of my personal work is inspired by the perpetual cycle of the vines. Living on a vineyard in rhythm with the land, I constantly marvel at the flow of the seasons – at the earth mother’s pageantry of life, death, and rebirth.
The vines start each year in dormancy, their wooden trunks creating dark, sculptural forms while cover crops like mustard and oats thrive beneath in vibrant yellows and greens. As the buds break out of their winter shells and start to emerge, they paint the tops of the vineyards with a peculiar bright green color, the color of vigor and life.
As the shoots grow, they reach untamed toward the sun, their tendrils grabbing for purchase as they climb whatever they can touch. The darker greens of the shiny older leaves at the base slowly graduate to the fresh greens and light-catching velvet of new growth at the tips. The glancing light of the rising and setting sun shines through the leaves, setting them aglow for but a few magical minutes each morning and evening.
As the tiny flowers mature into fruit, the men and women of the fields remove the lower leaves and tuck shoots away under cordon wires, exposing tight clusters of hard green berries. As the fruit sets and starts to ripen, the vineyards develop another color: the bright green or blackish purple of ripening grapes. Then, almost as quickly as they ripen, the grapes are harvested in the dark cool hours, and the vines turn their energies toward storing up fuel for the coming winter and their renewed growth in the coming spring.
The leaves slowly turn yellow and their grips loosen. And a windy storm is all it takes to strip a Fall vineyard of its leaves, leaving behind the spindly skeletons of once-stalwart fruit bearers. If there’s rain, then the hills become green with new grasses while the rows of red and brown vines darken, lignify, and sleep.
At the cusp between Winter and Spring, the men and women of the fields return once again, and the vines are pruned of last year’s growth, save for the few dormant buds needed to renew the cycle in the coming year. The vines return to their black, wooden, sculptural forms. Mustard, oats, native grasses, and flowers spring up to fill the spaces between the rows, raising the frost floor and returning nutrients to the earth.
And so another cycle begins. Nature’s tapestry, its warp and weft guided by the men and women of the fields, will be woven anew as it has for thousands of years. Illustrating this cycle and celebrating its beauty are my muses. Telling this story may take a lifetime.
But the fruit of the vine has its own magic and its own story to be told. May I be blessed with a long life so I can tell that one, too.