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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Most people love spending an evening enjoying art, or wine, or live music. Combining any two of these activities and you have scored major good-spouse points. Put all three together? That was exactly what happened when we recently visited Pinot’s Palette in Alameda.

PinotMenuThe Pinot’s Palette formula was designed with people like us in mind: a fun, non-judgmental environment for people to learn a bit about painting while drinking some local wine and listening to some nice music. The owners of the Alameda location took the business model even further by inviting a local winery come in for a custom tasting. Bonus points? The husband and wife winery owners were also performance-level musicians!


Quite the impressive neon sign!

This Pinot’s Palette is located in the Alameda South Shore Center. We arrived quite a bit early (a bit too excited) so we spent some time shopping and sipping on a latte at Starbucks (two of us went each direction, go figure). Once we were merely fashionably early, we made our way to Pinot’s Palette, only to find that the party was already in full swing!

PinotBottleWe were immediately greeted by owners Peri and Sean Gabriel and provided aprons. Obviously they had heard about my painting skills, although I would have also recommended drop clothes. We also met the owners of R&B Cellars, Barbara and Kevin Brown. We suited up, purchased a bottle ofR&B Improviser (a red blend) to sip on and took up our positions in front of the intimidatingly blank canvases. We spent the next few minutes chatting nervously and pretending like we did this all the time. No more waiting, the struggle was about to become very real!


Peri slipped on a wireless microphone and got everyone’s attention. She described the format for the evening and tried to reassure us that although this might be our first time, it certainly wasn’t hers. Everything was going to be fine if we just trusted the process and supported each other. She also introduced everyone to Barbara and Keven Brown from R&B and even welcomed the Wine Tasting Bliss editors to the room! She acknowledged several birthday celebrations (which explained the tiaras) and some friends of R&B Cellars.  She explained that helpers Adam and Hank were going to be roaming the room all night, ready to provide more paint and personalized painting advice and that Sean would be providing “canvas-side” beverage service!

Kevin describes his Sarabande Chardonnay 

As we began the painting adventure, Kevin and Barbara started the wine tasting flight with their Chardonnay, called Sarabande, made from Russian River grapes. Kevin explained that this Chard was one third from French oak barrels, one third from puncheons (double capacity barrels) and one third from a concrete egg (the new kid on the block that’s getting a lot of attention lately). We enjoyed the crisp apple notes with just a hint of butter. We also learned that the new R&B Cellars tasting room is set to open on March 5th, located on the bay in Point Richmond (part of the Kaiser ship yard). Between Kevin’s description and the artist’s sketch on their flier, we have a new entry on our March winery tour list.

 After Step 1

Our personal paintings were making good progress (that’s a relative, rather than absolute term) as we progressed to tasting R&B’s Swingsville Zinfandel. This 95% Zin / 5% Petite Sirah blend showed great fruit and restrained pepper. Rob immediately pictured this beside a grilled pork chop, possibly with a mushroom and cream sauce. Perfect! Kevin explained that the moniker “swingsville” wasn’t actually a place, but rather a state of mind. Wherever it’s located, I am convinced that Swingsville improved my painting prowess. Opinions vary, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Kevin and Barbara showing another talent!

After we enjoyed some show tunes from Kevin and Barbara, they shifted back to winemaker mode. We next tasted the R&B 2009 Cabernet. We learned that this Cab spent 3 years in the barrel, then another 2 years in the bottle before being offered for sale. Kevin’s pride in this wine was apparent! They say you never forget your first love and it definitely applies to winemakers and their wine, too. All of us loved the big, bold, punchy personality of this Cab!


Sean adds to our bliss

During a short break, we had a chance to chat with Peri about their Pinot’s Palette franchise. She told us that their location had been open for only 4 months. Looking around the room, it seemed that their business was off to a great start. Joining about 150 other franchisees, Peri spoke highly of the support that the franchise headquarters provided. Their customers come from throughout the Bay Area, for birthday parties, team-building and couples’ painting events. She mentioned a special Valentine’s Day couples’ painting event, but we already had a wine club release party on the books, so maybe next year?

Starting to look awesome!

Our paintings were really coming together! For some of us (and by that I mean ME), that was a very humbling period, as an accumulation of small mistakes became harder and harder to overlook.  Other paintings in our group were looking very much like Peri’s. For them, things were really looking up! The entire experience, though, really didn’t hinge on artistic ability. The live music, encouraging art instruction and lovely wine all came together to put everyone in a great mood.


Our final tasting was the R&B 2011 Syrah, sourced from a Volcano vineyard in the Sierra Foothills. We were struck by the chocolate aromas, the unrestrained fruit notes and a crisp, clean finish. We listened to a few final songs by Barbara and Kevin while hustling to bring our paintings to completion. We finished our wine, cleaned up our snacks and complimented each other on our artistic achievement. All in all, an amazing way to spend an evening, with art, wine and song.

Many thanks to Peri and Sean Gabriel of Pinot’s Palette, and Barbara and Keven Brown of R&B Cellars for an outstanding experience!


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Posted in Wine TastingTagged 

Valentines Day! - Liberty Township
Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Valentines Day is Coming Soon.   What do you have planned for your loved ones? How does a little Chocolate and Wine?  A great night with your best friends?  Or paint by side with your little ones to show you care. Give the gift of creating Memories! 

Kickin' it with Kenny! - Olmsted Falls
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hey Everyone!

Thanks to everyone who came out to paint at 6:30 in the morning with us!  It was snowing, dark, and cold - but we were all warm and fuzzy inside.  

When Kenny Crumpton says "Let's Paint" you say, absolutely!  So we had 25 people come out to paint with us.  Our motto is Paint. Drink. Have Fun.  We painted, drank orange juice and coffee, and had a whole lot of fun.  Check out the segments!

Sunday, December 13, 2015
We are up and running here at Pinot's Palette - Lower Merion and loving every minute of sharing the fun of "paint and sip" with the Main Line! Read more in this great article that appeared in the Main Line Times!
Young Rembrandts - Four Seasons

See this article in the Lakewood Advocate online.

Since 2011 Stephanie Burgard has been “bringing art to the masses” with her business Pinot’s Palette in Lakewood.

Pinot’s Palette has a staff of local artists who guide groups of adults step by step through featured paintings. Even people who aren’t so artfully inclined can usually manage surprising results, and for those who can’t even do that — well, there’s wine.

Now Burgard wants to take that mindset to the classroom (minus the wine part, of course), so she bought out Young Rembrandts of North Dallas, an afterschool art enrichment program.

“When I started looking at it, I realized it’s very similar to what we do now,” Burgard explains. “At Pinot’s it’s for adults, and with Rembrandts it’s for kids, but it’s still taught at a really broken down level, so they can have success really easily.”

And although Pinot’s Palette focuses on painting, and Rembrandts focuses on drawing and coloring, the format of the class is similar. Rembrandts’ art teachers walk kids step by step through drawings, using shapes kids recognize like triangles, circles or “U” and “W”.

“The kids don’t really have to know how to draw,” she says. “We’re giving them the foundation, and for artwork, drawing is the foundation. Once you know how to draw you can start adding on color and painting.”

Right now most of her classes are in schools in Far North Dallas and cities like Plano, Allen and McKinney, but she hopes that will change soon.

“What I’m working on now is bringing them to Lakewood and East Dallas,” she says. “My goal is to get into some of the public schools around here. We have afterschool programs, but they’re more childcare than education enrichment.”

Burgard believes art is important to everyone, so she wants everyone to feel like they can create it.

“We’re just trying to bring more art to the masses,” she says. “We don’t want people to say, ‘Oh I can’t paint or I can’t draw.’ Because they really can if someone teaches them to do it the right way.”

For parents who would like to see Young Rembrandts at their school, she says they should contact her directly at 214.427.7050. Learn more on the website.

See Full Article Here

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