Sunday, September 14, 2014

Recap September 9th- September 13th

Here’s what you missed this past week...What was your favorite part of the week?

Since we don’t get to see all of our friends every week, we want to keep you in the loop about what’s happening at Grapes & Gallery. This week, like most, was full of new/familiar faces and excitement.

This week was crazy! We painted the “Lagoon” (painters courtesy Hub foot-traffic) and had numerous people walk in to paint on their own (DYOT). Don’t forget that DYOT ($20) is first-come, first-served everyday that we are open! #paintyourday

On Wednesday night, we had Dr. Sketchy’s join us in the Cellar. The second Wednesday of every month this group assembles to sketch live models. The models pose for a series of 2, 5, 10 and 20 minute poses while people furiously transform their pencil and paper into a masterpiece. If you are interested in sketching, you need to look into this group. They had a great time sketching and sipping on sake-tinis and craft beer. For more information, visit their webpage at or check them out on Facebook.

Sake? Did somebody say sake? Yes, we serve chilled sake shots ($2) and sake-tinis ($5) in the Cellar bar every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. They are amazing...with whip, with love. You need to try these - #flowerchild #believeberry #happylittlecloud #overuseofhashtags #ohwaittheyareallhashtagnames. This week we even experimented with dirty martini and pickled asparagus Bloody Mary sake-tinis. #bestbloodymaryincolumbia

You may think that it was a slow weekend because of the USC-UGA game. Not! We stayed open until almost midnight Friday night with a group of hearty revelers who enjoyed singing and dancing downstairs. People like to let go underground! #cantstopwontstop

Gameday we had a great turnout, including one Georgia fan. If you don’t have cable or just want to watch the Gamecocks play in the company of others, come watch the game with us. We have a big screen TV downstairs and a TV in the upstairs bar as well. #GoCocks

The Hub (an upscale apartment building on Main St. that is home to nearly 850 college students) has resulted in increased foot-traffic in the area. Whether you are new to town or just visiting, come see us. This week, we had a mother and her daughter paint with us during one of our nightly instructor-led painting sessions.

The wine bar is not only a great place to explore your inner artist and to meet new friends, but we are also a great source of information for what’s happening in the area. If you are new to town or rediscovering downtown, we are happy to help you get acquainted. Paradise Ice, Nickelodeon Theatre, Michael’s Cafe and Catering, The Cigar Box, The Good Life Cafe, Mast General Store, Soda City Market, and Columbia Museum of Art are all within a block of Grapes & Gallery and well worth a visit.

If you have seen our front door recently, you would also know that there are a number of festivals coming up downtown. Next weekend, South Carolina Pride will celebrate 25 years with a parade and festival. Be sure to stop by and try our Flight of Pride sake shots.

Moral of the story...Make sure you come see us this week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


As you may have noticed, the warm days have resulted in more summer fun and less blog posting. After a brief hiatus, however, we are back – (1) because someone may have missed these posts and (2) because we have something to say that may interest those who are interested in wine.

Recently, I discovered a documentary on Netflix called SOMM. This film, which follows several candidates on their journey as they prepare for the Master Sommelier exam, is eye-opening to say the least. Check out the trailer at

First of all, these guys are unbelievable. Just by tasting a wine they can identify the varietal, the region, the year and, in some cases, even the vineyard! This is serious business.

Think about it…When you taste a wine what does it tell you? Well, for most of us, after a taste, we can label it as either “This wine is good” or “I don’t like this wine”. Beyond that, we rely on the back of the bottle or the barkeep to inform us of the subtle flavors relentlessly pursued by the vintner, or a witty story about the vineyard, or even a description of how the wine compares to other wines.

Also, SOMM provides some insight into the complexity of the wine business. There are thousands of vineyards, and there are over 10,000 varieties of wine grapes. The taste and quality of a wine are influenced by the region of the world, the soil type, the amount of sunlight, the temperature during the growing season, etc. Oh, and then you have to consider the processes that occur after harvest and during the bottling process. Is the wine aged in steel or oak? Which type of oak? How long is it aged? The questions and combinations are seemingly endless. Then once the wine reaches your table, the type of food you pair it with and the temperature at which it is served also impact the taste and, ultimately, your enjoyment of the wine.

Thankfully, however, we do not have to be sommeliers to enjoy a nice glass of wine! However, if your inner oenophile (that’s a fancy word for wine aficionado) is anxious to explore some new wines, check out our new Italian wines, the new Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley, OR, and the new Blanc de Blanc from France.

Here’s a little bit more detail about one of our new Italian wines. These are available by the bottle for a limited time only.

2013 Cantina Altarocca Orvieto Classico Superiore Arcosesto:
What a name?! This Orvieto (style of wine) is a white blend produced in the Umbria region of Italy. This region lies between Florence and Rome, and it is the only Italian region without a coastline or a common border with a neighboring country. The winery, Cantina Altarocca, sits at the top of a hill and is both a winery and a hotel.

The wines are produced using the traditional methods. All grapes are hand-picked and the vines are watered by natural aquifers in the soil. With a focus on the environment and sustainability, this vineyard is pursuing organic farming techniques.

The wine itself is a blend of grechetto, procanico and mavasia grapes. The grapes are harvested in September and undergo a light press “with contact with the skins for 12-18 hours at a controlled temperature. Separation of the must and cold decanting for cleaning. Alcoholic fermentation at a maximum temperature of 16o in stainless steel containers, using variety and aromatic yeasts.” – Process courtesy of

Most importantly, however, this wine is good! It is perfect for a hot summer day. It is very light, and, in my opinion, has a slight hint of ripe pears. Serve cold (50-54oF) as a lovely refreshment or enjoy with light appetizers or fish/chicken.

Explore your inner artist (or oenophile), and stop by today and buy a bottle.

Paint your day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

American Craft Beer Week

Let’s face it the last few posts have gotten pretty deep - light v. dark, the meaning of life, etc. Now, the sun is out and the days are feeling more like summer, so it’s time to lighten the mood a little and do a refreshing post. Yes, I am talking about cold beer!

As you may have read recently or noticed by the changing selection of beers at local bars, the craft beer movement is sweeping the nation. We realize that you may have some questions about this trend, so here’s a little bit of background.

What is craft beer? Like most things in life, there is an organization, the Brewers Association, that has defined which breweries qualify as craft breweries in the United States, but individual perceptions may vary. According to definition, an American Craft Brewer is one that is small, independent and traditional. This means that craft beers come from breweries that produce less than 6 million barrels (that’s 186 million gallons!) of beer a year, majority ownership is in the hands of craft brewers, and production involves the use of traditional ingredients and fermentation. Hmmm...that means no Budweiser, Miller and Coors.

You may have heard the terms brewpub, microbrewery, regional craft brewery. These all are different types of craft breweries. They vary in terms of the amount of beer produced, where the beer is produced and sold, and the type of beer.

Craft beer accounts for almost 8% of the beer sold in the U.S., and sales are growing while overall beer sales are slowing. Millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000) are largely responsible for driving craft beer movement, according to industry leaders at the Beer Summit in Milwaukee this year. Craft breweries are continuing to pop up all over the country. According to the Brewers Association, the number of craft breweries increased by 20% from 2011 to 2012. Even locally, we can observe this trend. Just this year, two breweries opened in Columbia - River Rat and Conquest Brewing.

Josh Taylor, resident beer guru, voted Most Handsome Beer salesman in Columbia 2010-2013, rumored heir to Danish throne had this to say about craft beer:

"I have been selling craft beer in Columbia for a little over seven years now. When I first started, no one knew what craft beer was, and I worked three jobs to make ends meet. Now, I have new restaurants, bars, and retailers approaching me. The difference in beer culture in our area is amazing, and I am thrilled to have been a part of the explosion."

Why should you want to drink craft beer? Craft breweries are known for their innovative techniques used to enhance the flavors of traditional ingredients. For example, Left Hand Brewing Co. was the first craft brewery to bottle Nitrogen beer without a CO2 widget in the bottle. Also, many craft breweries are good citizens and are involved in their local communities. Lazy Magnolia, which is the first brewery in Mississippi since prohibition, sponsors local events and is committed to environmentally-friendly production. To read more about their environmental efforts including, side streaming and use of spent grains, yeast and beer, visit their site at Most importantly, these breweries strive to create GOOD BEER.

Where can you get craft beer? Craft beer is available in many retail outlets as well as bars. Now you may be thinking, does Grapes & Gallery sell craft beer? Absolutely. Currently, we have a selection of 12 beers, all of which classify as craft beer. Guess what?! Best of all, our beers are only $4!

Below is a list of our current selection. Brewery (state/country): name of beer

- Avery (CO): White Rascal

- Bells (MI): Amber Ale, Oberon

- Duck Rabbit: Brown Ale, Hoppy Bunny

- Foothills (NC): Hoppyum

- Konig (Germany): Pilsner

- Lazy Magnolia (MS): Southern Pecan, Hops’pitality

- Left Hand (CO): Milk Stout Nitro, Sawtooth Nitro

- Westbrook (SC): IPA

Check out descriptions and ratings of the beers we carry at And as always, we recommend stopping by to give them a try yourself!

Paint Your Day and drink craft beer!
Your Neighborhood Bar

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Power of Light

“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.”
- Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30

In the past several blog posts, we have encouraged you to think about why you do what you do and reflect on the meaning of your actions. As we have prepared for the Light v. Dark Art Show & Wine Tasting over the last month, we have focused on the contrast of light and darkness and how it is present in our lives and in our art. In this contrast, we often find perspective and inspiration for both life and art.

Exploring art and your inner artist is about taking a broader look at the world and incorporating all elements - sights, sounds, and sensual experiences - into your understanding. Art, whether it be a painting, a sonnet, a song, or an artfully prepared meal, conveys feeling and explores the human experience, both the light and the dark.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30, for example, explores the notions of sorrow and regret that color many of our canvases. It further highlights the fact that perception is a huge part of survival. When we reflect on the woes of our past, everything may seem awful. Dark. However, as the last line indicates, “but if the while I think on thee, dear friend, all losses are restor'd and sorrows end.” Light.

We are a week away from the Light v. Dark Art Show & Wine Tasting on Thursday, May 1st. Allison Fowler and David Robbins have captured this contrast of light and dark in their paintings, which will be on display for the first time. These paintings deliver emotion to which almost anyone can relate. Some will see the joy in the pieces. While others, will focus on the undertones of sadness. We promise you, however, that if like us, you have considered the significance of light and dark and the parallels in life, you will be captivated by these paintings.

Find your perspective.
Paint your day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coming into The Light

As you may remember from our last blog post, we are having a Light v. Dark Art Show on May 1st. In the lead up to that event, we want to encourage you to think about what light and darkness represents, how it impacts your life and ultimately how it shapes art.

The last time we posted, we posed two questions - 1) What is the point of it all? and 2) Why do we do what we do?

Today seems like the perfect opportunity to talk more about the light. After what seems like a prolonged period of darkness, the sights, sounds and feel of Spring have arrived. The trees are in full bloom. The birds are active composing new songs. The sun has broken free of the clouds. As we enter this period of growth, take the opportunity to find your perspective. Find your light, your love, and the reason why you are here.

Consider this...What would life be without light? Light sustains our very existence. Light is energy. Light represents truth and knowledge, as it reveals the secrets hidden in the shadows of darkness. Light is often related to the religious event of Easter - a hope of new beginnings, eternal life.

The brightest light versus the darkest dark, a contrast that defines our paintings as well as our lives. Without the dark we could not fully appreciate the light. In paintings, for example, the darkest areas bring clarity to the lightest aspects, making them appear even more brilliant. The same is true in life. Simply put, the good days are accentuated by having the bad ones.

Darkness in itself can be positive, however. Wine and other perishables are stored away from the warmth of the sun’s light to preserve their best characteristics and to prevent decay. Darkness is also a refuge that allows us to replenish our resources. Each night, when the sun has left us, we have the opportunity to recharge and to dream. Under the cloak of darkness, self-discovery often occurs. We are left alone with our thoughts and given the opportunity to realize more fully who we are and to grow comfortable with our own existence.

Appreciate the contrasts of light and dark. Find your perspective. Dream big. Paint your day! Put the perspective on your day, the one that YOU want.

Join us May 1st for the Light v. Dark Art Show and Wine Tasting. Take a look at how Allison Fowler and Dave Robbins have interpreted this theme and expressed it in their paintings. Take away a new perspective to color your life.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Building on You

What’s the point of it all? Why do we do what we do?

These are some of the myriad of life’s questions. We think about this every day. Frequently, there are some glimpses that provide momentary answers, but often we are left with those thoughts lingering in the back of our minds.

While one blog post cannot do justice to these quandaries, this post is the start of a journey. A trip through some of what makes Grapes & Gallery tick, and one that might inspire you to take a closer look at your surroundings and the people that you meet.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is, “where do the ideas for your paintings come from?”. While some of them are inspired from other pieces of art and some are original pieces by our artists, a surprising number of our paintings come from YOU. That’s right. Our friends, family, and fellow painters approach us with photographs they have taken, ideas that they have seen, and themes they have yet to explore. They put their faith in us to transform the image they have in their mind into a painting on canvas.

For example, the new painting, “Botany Bay,” we are offering this Saturday (April 5th) was inspired by a photograph. A dear friend stopped by one afternoon and, over the course of a beer, described how special Botany Bay is to her. She told us about the sunrise, the appearance of light replacing the dark, and the majesty of this particular spot. She also showed us a photograph that attempted to capture what that place represents for her with a quick caveat that the photo, while amazing, does not do the scene justice.

The sunrise floods the scene with light as the darkness escapes.

Fortunately for us, she not only allowed us to replicate her photo in a painting, but she encouraged it. She wanted to share this special place.

Life reflected in a painting.

In long response to a seemingly simple question, we get our inspiration from YOU. We build on the unique qualities, knowledge and experiences of everyone we meet.

What’s the point of it all? Why do we do what we do? While we may question our purpose, as we celebrate two years of being in business in April, we know that YOU are at the center of everything we do. Our artists, our customers, our vendors, our friends and family bring light to every day and step we take.

We will continue to explore these questions and will delve deeper into the contrasts of light and dark over the coming weeks, culminating with a Light & Dark art show and wine tasting May 1st.

In the meantime...Thank you! Paint Your Day

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wine Bar & Painting Studio

Curious about our new setup ? This blog post is dedicated to familiarizing you with the wine bar and painting studio.

We are both a wine bar and a painting studio. Yes, we still paint! Now, however, we have extended hours – Monday-Friday 1PM-9PM and Saturday 10AM-9PM. You can also join us any time for a drink with no pressure to paint.

View from Front Door
This is what it looks like when you walk into Grapes and Gallery. The tasting/serving bar is on the right. There's a small table on the left, and a bit further back there are two bar height tables with stools. A divider separates the wine bar from the painting studio. As you can see, the divider creates a nice separation between the wine bar and the painting studio at the back of the room. You will also notice paint, brushes, wine, t-shirts and paintings in the divider. These are available for purchase for you to take home and enjoy.

Upstairs bar area

To the left is a closer look at the wine bar and one of the bar height tables. You order your beer and wine at the bar and sign in for painting as well.

Additional upstairs seating


On the right is a closer look at the other bar top table upstairs. This is a premium spot. You can observe the painters through the divider, look through the front window, and only be steps away from the bar!

Stairs down to the The Cellar
Downstairs seating area
The Cellar (downstairs seating area)
Downstairs features a larger seating area. This area has great ambiance - soft lighting, nice music and plenty of space for friends to sit and enjoy a drink.

The painting studio is the same great set-up you are used to seeing. In addition to daily artist-led paintings at 6PM, you can now Do Your Own Thing (DYOT) Monday-Friday 1PM-6PM and Saturday 10AM-6PM. Like before, you can bring your own food and beverage when painting. However, beer and wine is available for purchase from the wine bar.
Painting Studio
Please sign up for the artist-led sessions at to reserve your easel. For DYOT, call ahead to confirm availability or stop by.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 803-728-1278. We look forward to seeing you!

Paint your day!