County fairs started out as ways to highlight a region’s agricultural products, and that’s still one of their main functions. And if your county fair is located in the heart of California’s wine country, of course you’ll be talking about wine. That’s why the Sonoma County Fair asked us to create a realistic grapevine replica for them.
Sonoma County is justly famous for its wine. Not only does it border the Napa Valley, but it contains no less than thirteen separate American Viticultural Areas. This wide range of microclimates means Sonoma County is ideal for producing a wide variety of wines — cabernets, chardonnays, merlots, and more.
The wine industry is also a major economic factor in the county, producing $8 billion worth of wine each year. So it’s no wonder that the Sonoma County Fair wanted to highlight the wine industry to their fair’s visitors. And a realistic grapevine was the best way to focus on the industry’s agricultural roots.
Creating the Realistic Grapevine
Our craftsmen created a life-size trellis and the base for the stem of the artificial grapevine. The real trick, though, was recreating the texture of the shaggy, peeling bark that covers grapevines. Fortunately, we found the right material that allowed us to sculpt a realistic craggy texture on top of our artificial grapevine.
Bunches of artificial white grapes dangle from the vines we added to the stem. We managed to make some of the tendrils of vine curl realistically, as if the grapevine were sprouting new branches.
With its realistic grapevine replica, the Sonoma County Fair can teach visitors about the plant behind the glasses of local wine they enjoy. It’s a memorable way to highlight the agricultural background of the county’s culture and economy.