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The "Paint and Sip" concept, where students sip vino during an art lesson, is growing in popularity on the North Fork. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
The “Paint and Sip” concept, where students sip vino during an art lesson, is growing in popularity on the North Fork. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It took Bunny Agers 65 years before she ever put a paint brush to canvas. But last week after finishing her first painting — a lighthouse against a seaside backdrop — she stepped back to admire her creation.

“I never knew I could paint,” the Middle Island resident said, adding that she gained a new respect for painters in the process. “All those starving artists? I’ll buy all their paintings.”

Agers was one of about 40 people who took part in a recent class through the mobile business Peconic Paint and Sip at the Outerbanks restaurant in Riverhead last week. The concept, where novice art students sip vino during an introduction to painting on canvas, is growing in popularity on the North Fork.

Peconic Paint and Sip owner Randy Spellman, who partnered with art teacher Sarah Cutler to start the Southampton-based venture, said they bring classes to vineyards, golf courses, restaurants and private homes.

“We’ve done it at about four different venues. People say, ‘We love it. When can we do it again?'” Spellman said after the Outerbanks event. “In two hours we go from I can’t paint, to I can’t believe I painted it.”

Peconic Paint and Sip provides the paint, brushes, canvas, easels and instruction, though whether food is included depends on the venue, Spellman said.

Spellman’s business is just the latest on the North Fork to combine drinking the region’s fine chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons with tapping in to one’s inner artist.

While students in an Artists and Carafes class, which northforker featured earlier this year, might make glasses of merlot splashing out of a goblet, those at the Outerbanks last week recreated a more abstract landscape.

Sarah Cutler of Southampton instructs Peconic Paint and Sip students at the Outerbanks in Riverhead. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Sarah Cutler of Southampton instructs Peconic Paint and Sip students at the Outerbanks in Riverhead. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

“It’s more of a symbol. It’s abstract, more painterly,” Cutler told the class in Riverhead last week.

Some of the more low-key wineries, like Mattebella Vineyards, find the classes are a good fit with their image. The Southold vineyard holds several classes over the summer on their glass-enclosed patio from 5 to 7 p.m. on some Fridays. The class will be held on July 25, August 1 and August 29 and is $35 per person and includes a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres.

“We are a wine venue, that’s who we are. We don’t do a lot of auxiliary type of events. Everything we do is related to wine,” said Mattebella co-owner Chris Tobin. “But people really like to come to this. It’s a different type of experience.”
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