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Victoria A. Kochergin, Artist

A Passion for Elegance

Victoria Kochergin, ArtistPhoto: Victoria A. Kochergin, Artist

Women of the Wine Series

If a banjo can be called charisma, Victoria A. Kochergin's botanical art is a violin with all the grace and beauty of elegance.

On a brilliant fall day in early October, I visited Victoria where she works at a local winery in Sonoma County.

I'd met Victoria three years before and was enchanted by her charm, completely unaware she was so talented. I only knew she was nice. Again I saw her a week or so ago at a Bodega Bay Chamber mixer at Osmosis in Freestone.

At the Osmosis soiree, Victoria told me she was an artist and drew flowers. I was intrigued. Upon visiting her web site I discovered what an understatement this was.

Victoria does not draw flowers, she finds frail beauty in plants and captures it in colored pencil. Her art seems to be reaching out from the paper and inviting you in.

Originally a City lass, Victoria moved to Petaluma from San Francisco when she was ten. When she was in her twenties, she helped her mother with a new Florist business. Flowers must have found fertile soil in her imagination because she soon began drawing them.

"I always loved flowers," she told me when I interviewed her, "but focused on botanical drawing a few years back. After working with many mediums and approaches I finally found my niche with botanical drawings."

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Pink Plumeria, by Victoria KocherginThe protagonist in a long-forgotten "B" movie once said, "I know everything about art but I don't know what I like.

This sentiment is close to how I feel about wines but I'll admit to a love of almost all art without the benefit of understanding it. Victoria's flowers reach out and touch me with sensations of beauty.

Pink Plumeria, by Victoria A. Kochergin 

I can't really describe why I like her art so much. The leaves are painted with such strength, they make her flowers whimsical in contrast. Colors harmonize like they are found in nature. Her art brings with it a hint of anticipation, like the bouquet of a well-aged Cab.

Perhaps Ezra Pound explained my feelings about Victoria's art best when he said art suspends time and space. Indeed, hers does.

She invited me to try her winery's varietals so I made an appointment with her. It was more like a flash back in time to the pleasures of another century than a normal interview. An easy style, a soft laugh and kindness greeted me with the first pour of wine.

She splashed some Sauvignon Blanc into my glass and showed a bow of a smile as I tasted it. "I went through Santa Rosa's Wine Studies program in 2005," she said. Warm air attended our al fresco experience so the wine was perfect, a slight blush of fruit and a hint of oak.

"When did you become interested in drawing plants?" I asked.

"I started drawing them when I was a young girl helping my mother," she answered. "I always loved flowers. When I went to Berkeley, I majored in English and Art."Casablanca Lily, by Victoria Kochengin

Casablanca Lily, by Victoria A. Kochergin

She then poured me a taste of Chard. Again there was the quick flash of her smile as the warm breeze continued to drift across the patio. "I think it has that cool-climate crispness, don't you, Jim?"

It was refreshing and I nodded my appreciation. "Indeed," I thought, "it goes great with the warm afternoon."

Victoria then poured me a surprise, a Chardonnay full-bodied and aged as I like it. This gem of a wine would be the perfect pairing with a blazing fireplace.

Afterwards came the final surprise.

Most of my friends know I understand the appeal of Pinot Noir less than I understand art. I'll have to admit to it being my fault.

What would you expect from someone who drank Red Mountain in his youth and Annie Green Springs later on along with all the other early faux-wine ventures into California during the early 70's? Heck, back then we were deciding important things, like how burning bras wasn't such a bad idea, instead of popping corks.

When the first Cabs, Zins, Chards and Merlots (Yes, Merlots. I love a good Merlot) were sent down to Laguna from our friends up in the Wine Country, we were amazed. Still, these wines became our first loves and it's hard to forget your first love.

Well, Victoria brought out her Pinot and poured me a bit more than a taste. I'm so glad she did. It had the tannins my taste buds hunger for, and a nose as full and delightful as my afternoon with Victoria had been.

Victoria A Kochergen's Website:

I hope you gain as much enjoyment from Victoria's art as I do when you visit her website or see her work on Art Trails.

Update on Victoria A. Kochergin

Red AmaryllisVictoria A. Kochergin's botanical drawing, Red Amaryllis was accepted at Filoli Botanical Garden's 16th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit. Congratulations, Victoria.

16th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit at Filoli:

The beautiful Filoli Estate is located in Woodside, California (30 miles south of San Francisco).

Artist's Comments: "My piece which will be on display is the "Red Amaryllis."

The Christmas before last, I was given an Amaryllis by two separate people. I knew at that moment, I was meant to draw one.

Throughout the weeks, I slowly watched it transform from a bulb with a stalk and leaves into a stunning red flower. My intent was to capture its regal character and sense of strength, while simultaneously juxtaposing this with the graceful ruffles of each of its petals.

Therefore each petal was intentionally rendered with intense detail. When the drawing was complete, I felt I had accomplished this and given this beautiful flower the center spotlight it so deserved."

FiloliFuture Events at Filoli

For information on tours, visits and volunteering, visit Filoli's Events page here or please call, (650) 3364-8300, ext. 508.

Filoli, located in Woodside, CA, is recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century.

The 654-acre property includes a 36,000 square-foot residence furnished with an extensive collection of 17th and 18th century English antiques and 16 acres of English Renaissance gardens that showcase an exquisite horticultural collection.

Established as a private residence in 1917 and opened to the public in 1976 to promote cultural and horticultural endeavors, Filoli is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Filoli is open Tuesdays through Sundays and is closed in observance of all Federal holidays.


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