A Passion for Elegance
Victoria A. Kochergin, Artist
Women of the Wine Series
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
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.
the Osmosis soiree, Victoria told me she was an artist and drew flowers. I was intrigued. Upon visiting
site I discovered what an understatement this was.
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."
CarTrawler is one of the top car hire companies in the world and
Wine Country Welcome has been working with them for fourteen years, now.
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
Pink Plumeria, by Victoria
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
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 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
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
|Victoria A. Kochergin's botanical drawing, Red Amaryllis
was accepted at
Filoli Botanical Garden's 16th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit. Congratulations,
16th Annual Botanical
Art Exhibit at Filoli: http://www.filoli.org
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."
Events at Filoli
For information on tours, visits and volunteering, visit
Filoli's Events page here or please call,
Filoli, located in Woodside, CA, is recognized as one of the finest
remaining country estates of the early 20th century.
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
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.
open Tuesdays through Sundays and is closed in observance of all Federal
Napa Valley Wineries