What do you get when you combine the events prowess of Penns Woods Winery’s Carley Razzi and the creative spirit of Molly Nece of The Molly Sunshine Group? A positively delightful afternoon of Sunshine Painting in the Vineyard.
The Neces are Penns Woods regulars, and when Molly gets to know you, collaborations happen. Carley was only too happy to try a fun and unique event, and the sold out crowd was proof positive they got it oh-so-right.
Naturally, the inimitable Molly thought it would be fun to have a special Sunshine Sangria to mark the day. Lots of Pinot Grigio and fruits later, the geniuses at Penns Woods made that a reality, too. Just-right sweet with a bold fruity start and smooth finish, it was the ideal summer libation for a hot and breezy day.
You didn’t have to be creative to partake in the sunshine, though: just adventurous enough to try your hand at the canvas. Painting wasn’t mandatory, either: you could register for wine tasting, painting or both. A quick look-see showed most of the 50 did both, but others picnicked while they watched artists at work.
I loved art back in the day, and even took lessons, but college was busy, then the job and then … well, you know how it goes. So it was sheer joy to be able to unleash my inner artist—even before wine tasting. Nece family friend Shelly Gephart of Canvas Mixers was a fantastic teacher and guide as we all took brush to canvas to paint “Sunshine Across Generations.” Shelly and Molly “met” on LinkedIn, then noticed they had someone in common: Molly’s husband, Dan. Turns out Dan and Shelly went to school together through 12th grade. Small world? There are no coincidences, remember.
It was no coincidence, then, that I felt the old sense of freedom that comes from creating something. No rules, just suggestions. No right or wrong, just good. Chatting with my “Fear Not” tablemates (of course Molly didn’t simply number the tables, she named them), sipping chilled vino, feeling the breeze and smelling the earth we were sitting upon was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. I hated for it to end. Being treated to a Dia Doce mini cookie dough cupcake certainly helped, as did the lovely strains of Arianne Rox as she sang in the background.
Bonus! Painting was followed by wine tasting. We were treated to the following Penns Woods Winery classics:
- Pinot Grigio Reserve: What I liked best about this wine is how it started with mild spice, some vanilla, and then WHAM: bright citrus on the finish. Simple in its complexity.
- Chardonnay Reserve: It’s cliché, but a chard is my favorite white. This didn’t disappoint, thanks to the 50 percent new and 50 percent second year French oak on which it aged. This is a vibrant wine with a crazy range: from apple to vanilla to spice to pineapple. Boy, does it work.
- White Merlot: What? Rosé? Isn’t that passé? Hardly. This ain’t yer gramma’s rosé. This is a fresh, bright offering that’s not too sweet, bringing apricot, pear and vanilla with a dry finish. It was my go-to for hot-day painting success.
- Merlot: What a difference 100 percent merlot makes. Ruby red, dry, chocolate, cherry, blackberry, smoky, need I go on? The tannins were at work here, and I gave them an A+.
- Bancroft Rose: Another prize from merlot grapes, this time a late harvest that could easily slip into the dessert category. It’s very sweet with peach and strawberry on the nose and on the palate. Rumor has it adding some bubbly makes for a wonderful pairing.
With my masterpiece in hand, and cupcake and wine in my belly, I strolled over to watch happy people creating JoyRox with Bonnie Neubauer and hammering metal designs with Laurie Kerkering of Wendell August. Deep breath. Relax. Smells and feels like sunshine.
View the slideshow video below for more scenes from the weekend affair.