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Grapes, glass and art come together at Serpent Ridge Vineyard

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Holly Hertsgaard had no idea what she would be painting when she arrived at Serpent Ridge Winery, in Westminster, for its first wine-glass painting class. As the evening progressed, a football field appeared on one glass; Camden Yards appeared on another.

On her daughter's two glasses, balloons took shape.

"This was supposed to be a mother, daughter night," sadi Hertsgaard, of Westminster, nodding to her daughter's empty chair.

"She had to go, (so) I have a lot of work to do," she said dipping her brush into the green paint.

Hertsgaard wasn't the only one with a lot of work to do. Everyone in the 10-member class had to figure out what to paint, and how to do it. The task didn't seem to bother anyone too much, though, as there was wine and snacks to enjoy, too.

"It's spectacular. You cannot beat the environment," said Nancy Codner, of Westminster, of the class and its setting at Serpent Ridge Vineyard. "It's so relaxing, like stepping into a whole new world. It's nice after a busy day at work."

The idea for the wine-glass painting class first occurred to Karen Lambrecht, who owns Serpent Ridge Vineyard with her husband, Gregory, when she heard about other wineries hosting painting classes. Setting up easels seemed a little too complicated, but wine glasses seemed a perfect fit.

"It filled up in a couple of days," Lambrecht said of the class. She asked Melinda Byrd, a Carroll County artist and friend, to teach it.

"Wine glasses are so appropriate to a vineyard and are a fun thing to paint," said Byrd, who has been painting and offering classes at her business, Byrd Studio, in Woodbine, for the past 13 years. "People have to really relax and go with the flow of the brush."

Byrd provided brushes, paints and sealants necessary for the class. She also brought in various pictures of flowers, animals, etc., to inspire the students.

"This is a nice challenge," said Judy Reed, of Hampstead, as she painted a lotus flower on her glass.

"I really would like to do an animal," she admitted, "but I don't know if that'll work."

Ann Bollinger, of Emmittsburg, carefully painted a cat on her glass. While it may have been her first glass-painting class, it wasn't her first trip to Serpent Ridge. For her birthday, she rented a van for herself and friends to travel to three wineries. Serpent Ridge was their first stop.

"It is nice to support local," Bollinger said. "It's easy to do when the wine is wonderful."

"They truly have great wine here," agreed Hertsgaard, who has been to the winery numerous times with her husband. "We come here on the first Fridays. We've introduced a lot of our friends to the place."

Open since 2009, Serpent Ridge Vineyard is relatively small, a 5-acre operation specializing in generally six wines — three reds and three whites.

The winery has begun to reach out through special events, including live music on the first Fridays of the month and wine-themed cooking sessions with a local chef.

"It's a lot of work," Lambrecht said of the business, which includes the small retail shop that is open on weekends, by appointment and for special nights, such as the painting class. "Everyone is happy to come here. If they're grumpy when they come in, they're happy when they leave."

Serpent Ridge Vineyard, 2962 Nicodemus Road, Westminster, will host its next wine-glass-painting class, with instructor Melinda Byrd, on Aug. 16, 6-8:30 p.m. The cost is $35. The winery also hosts its Friday music series on the first Friday of each month, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The next session is Aug. 3, with the group, Albarino. Cost is $10 per "carload," and patrons are asked to carpool due to limited parking. Seating is limited, so bring your own chair if possible. For more information, call 410-848-6511, or go to http://www.serpentridge.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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