May 4, 2023 | by Kendall Busby

It’s been an exciting week here at the winery as the Jordan Barrel Room welcomes a picturesque new art installation that uses soft pastel chalk on our concrete eggs. The project, completed in just three days, was spearheaded by artist Matt Willey as part of his global art project and organization, The Good of the Hive. The project is dedicated to creating murals of hand-painted honeybees, with the goal of painting 50,000 bees–the average number found in a healthy, thriving hive–around the world. Eight years into an estimated 20-year project, Matt has created about 35 murals and installations with over 8,600 hand-painted bees. He has created large-scale honey bee art at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City and Burt’s Bees Global Headquarters and has collaborated with the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations (WCPUN) and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks Public Art Program. His chalk mural at Jordan marks over 10,000 bees toward his goal of 50,000!

man standing next to honey bee art mural in winery barrel room

This showstopping installation features a vibrant array of honeybees, honey and honeycomb in warm chalk colors, contrasted against the egg’s rich and earth-toned façade. The bees are depicted in various poses and sizes, with intricate detailing that highlights the unique beauty of each individual bee. The Queen Bee in particular is beautifully represented with a bright, golden halo and is surrounded by her colony of worker bees and drone bees. The installation serves as a reminder of the importance of bees in our ecosystem, as well as a testament to the power of art to inspire, educate and raise awareness to vital pollinators.

photo collage of honeybee art installation in winery barrel room

The use of concrete eggs as the canvas for the installation adds an interesting dimension to the project, as it facilitates a connection between the winery and The Good of the Hive. The concrete eggs arrived last year with the purpose of enhancing the purity of the Jordan Chardonnay fruit, and they will be used for the first time with the 2022 vintage. Working with the egg-shaped canvas also presented a new and exciting challenge for Matt as he had to adjust dimensions, colors and technique to adhere to the shape and material. The concrete eggs provided a beautiful and unusual canvas to merge the worlds of art and winemaking, and to raise awareness of the significance of bees to Jordan Estate and beyond.

Bees on a beehive frame

Jordan Estate is home to thousands of honeybees that find endless food sources across our 1,200-acre ranch. Although bees are not needed to pollinate Jordan’s grapevines, they are the primary pollinators for cover crops grown between the vines, which naturally replenish important soil nutrients. Read more about beekeeping and pollinator sanctuaries at Jordan on our website.

Visitors to the winery this spring and summer are sure to be captivated by the beauty and detail of the installation, which serves as a stunning tribute to the humble bees and their colonies, and a reminder of how bees can bring individuals and communities together, worldwide. Through his art, Matt Willey has created a powerful reminder of the importance of bees to our planet, and a call to action for all of us to do our part in protecting these essential pollinators.


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