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An Artful Pairing with Wine
A glassful of wine makes the painting go down.

A friend’s birthday-party invite for a recent Friday night intrigued me: painting while drinking wine? In public? While my oenophile status is widely known, I’m definitely not known for visual-arts skills. Still, I went to Splash Studio: A Painting Bar, in the Third Ward, with an open mind.

My mind quickly shut when I saw what we would be painting: a Van Gogh-esque Parisian scene featuring the Eiffel Tower at night. Yikes! Yet my fears were calmed thanks to a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the bar, paired with swift instructions to don an apron, fill up my painter’s palette and get to work. A Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design student patiently walked us – about 30 giggling adults – through each step to craft such a painting and by the end of the night when I stepped back to view my masterpiece, it wasn’t half bad at all.

Interested? The web site lists upcoming events, called “splash sessions,” which include guided instruction, all painting materials (canvas, brushes and paints) and a glass of wine for $28-$33.


If you have an American Express card, then you’re in luck. As part of American Express Small Business Saturday (this year it’s Nov. 30), Thief Wine is awarding AmEx cardholders a $10 credit on purchases of $10 or more. (The credit is awarded on your next statement.) Note that before you rush out to Thief Wine on Saturday, you must first pre-register your card at https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/. And hurry! AmEx places a cap on the number of cards that can be enrolled. You wouldn’t want to miss out, would you?



Craving a wintertime road trip within our fair state? A Madison restaurant has something to entice wine lovers. In fact, it’s from the farm-to-table eatery that put Wisconsin’s capital city on the map for its locavaore dining scene. L’Etoile will host three wine dinners this winter: Dec. 23 (Champagne), Jan. 28 (“Vintage Wine Dinner”) and Feb. 25 (Spanish wines). Each consists of four courses complete with wine pairings and costs between $150 and $275 per person. To sign up, call 608-251-0500.


This week’s snowfall called for a hearty red wine, and I turned to Hanna Winery & Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon for the cure. The 2007 Hanna Winery & Vineyard’s Bismark Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley, California, $56) features velvety black-cherry, plum and currant notes along with smooth tannins. (hannawinery.com)

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