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Painting and Wine? Yes, please!

The paint and sip trend started in 2007 and has grown exponentially in the almost ten years since that first brush hit the canvas. I am always amazed when I run into a wine lover that hasn’t tried a paint and sip class yet. Trust me, even if you do not normally paint or consider yourself artistic, you will definitely enjoy a paint and sip class. Let’s face it, everything is more enjoyable when drinking wine but something else to think about is how creative you are when drinking.

So, I can hear you already, “What is a paint and sip class?”

Paint and sip classes are basically alcohol centric painting parties. There are no art or wine snobs in these “classes” (I use the term class lowly, it is probably closer to a loosely structured party). No one in this class is expected to be artistically savvy and no grades are given out. In addition, no one is judging the big, burly bearded man with the jug of wine. This is about as unpretentious as any activity involving wine and art. And do not fear, this is nothing like your middle school art class, even the most un-artistic students will come away with an artistic piece they can be proud of because of the easy to follow, step-by-step painting instructions.

In a paint and sip class customers, or students, work from an example canvas being painted by your guide. The customers paint their own version of the sample artwork while being given very easy to follow step-by-step directions. Studios usually offer lots of different sample classes so you can pick a class with a piece of art that speaks to you. The artwork is usually easily to follow landscapes, cityscapes, abstracts, cute animals, or local landmarks or symbols. Each location usually has an online calendar where you can see the artwork scheduled for that class and rsvp online. Most locations also do private parties and some will even come to you.

You get to create your own masterpiece, veering as far off from the instructor’s guidance, as you dare. The best part is, you’re doing this while enjoying a delicious glass of wine and the company of friends and other like-minded drinkers, ahem, I mean painters. Most classes average about $30 to $35 a class and include a canvas, paint, brushes, and an instructor. For the most part, all you have to bring is your own wine and a good, fun attitude.

Around the country there a dozen or so franchises of paint and sip companies, most with cute names like:

Pinot’s Palette;

Wine & Design;

Painting with a Twist;

Corks N Canvas;

Wine and Canvas; and

Bottle & Bottega.

There are also hundreds of independently owned paint and sip business around the country too, each with their own unique charm. I like one in San Francisco ( because the owner/guide is great (a friend), the ambiance is great, and the experience is great but not all of you can come to San Francisco…

The first and largest of the paint and sip franchise chains, Painting with a Twist, was founded in party town New Orleans in 2007 by two previous stay at home moms who were looking for an escape from their self-described post-Katrina blues. They first franchised the concept in 2009 and to date there are 324 franchise locations. If you can’t find a Painting with a Twist near you, there’s bound to be a paint and sip concept location near you. Locally owned paint and sips are also always a lot of fun and usually the owner is on premise and often even teaches the class.

When I am attending a paint and sip class I usually try and bring a crowd favorite wine. In the winter I usually opt for a red blend, since they’re so popular right now. I try and stick to something that is fruit forward, not too high in alcohol content, with good structure, and in the 20 to 25 dollar price range. I want to be able to share my wine with those around me and I want to pick something that will appeal to a wide range of palettes and at an affordable price point. In the summer I usually try for a crisp, refreshing sauvignon blanc in the just under 20 dollar price range. A paint in sip is not the time or place to break out that 1979 Chateau Palmer you have been saving for a special occasion.

Paint and sip classes are casual affairs so there’s no need to get dressed up in your best gallery hopping black dress or hipster suit. You are dealing with paint and wine after all, so there is bound to be a little paint, and probably some wine, spilled. They do provide aprons so you don’t have to wear painting coveralls or anything but you might not want to wear that brand new cream St. John’s sweater either. Do wear comfortable, no slick shows as a lot of people seem more comfortable painting standing up than sitting on the usually provided stools.

So grab your brushes, a friend or five, and a bottle of wine and get yourself to a paint and sip class today. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised just how much fun you will have, and you just might surprise yourself with your wine inspired artistic painting abilities. This is such a fun, bonding experience to share with your loved one, mother, niece, or best friend. It also makes for a perfect girl’s night out or to kick off the night for a bachelorette party.

Have you already tried a paint and sip class? Did you enjoy it? What advice would you give to someone heading out for their first paint and sip class? We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in our comment section below. Happy Painting!!

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