Art in Motion
With unWINED & PAINT, a local artist puts a distinctive spin on the wine-and-paint party by taking the show on the road
by Bill Donahue

Wine and the act of artistic expression share a long and complex history. In fact, a number of the world’s most celebrated artists, musicians and writers have suggested that some of their most renowned works were influenced by … well, being under the influence.

The rich tradition has taken a curious turn with the upsurge of wine-and-paint parties, through which local artists teach groups of art lovers how to craft paintings of their own in just a few hours—with, of course, the aid of a few glasses of their favorite red or white. Although some artists host these events in private studios of their own, the trend has expanded to see a number of restaurants and other businesses host wine-and-paint parties. One enterprising artist—Montgomeryville’s Sanford Molinaro, proprietor of unWINED & PAINT (—has put a distinctive spin on the trend by taking the show on the road, so to speak.

“For most of these wine-and-paint parties, you traditionally have to go to a studio, which is really nice, but how convenient is it to have a get-together at your own house and I bring everything that’s needed for your own party?” he says. “I can even offer to hold parties outside under a covered, permanent or semi-permanent structure. People seem to like that because being outside definitely helps get the creative juices flowing.”

He instructs groups as large as 40 and as intimate as two, providing each participant with personal artistic instruction and all the required materials—easels, tables, brushes, paints, canvases, etc.—for one all-inclusive price of $30 to $35. Within three hours, every participant will have completed a painting to take home. The most valuable takeaways, however, are the memories of an event filled with fun, creativity and maybe a glass or two of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Molinaro, who studied art in Florence, Italy, invites attendees of his wine-and-paint parties to view an ever-expanding gallery of paintings, from which they can choose. Options range from iconic Hollywood images (Rocky on the Art Museum steps at sunrise, Gene Kelly mounting the lamppost from “Singin’ in the Rain,” the Wicked Witch reaching for Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” etc.) to scenes of the Tuscan countryside. He can also accommodate custom paintings in the event that a participant has a concept for something specific.

Restaurants such as L’Angolo Blue in Blue Bell have partnered with Molinaro to co-host wine-and-paint parties. For an all-inclusive price of $45, attendees on an event in early June received not only the instruction to help them create their own paintings and the free-flowing wine but also delicious Italian appetizers from the L’Angolo Blue kitchen.

No one has to be the next Monet or Rembrandt to participate in a wine-and-paint party. It’s quite the contrary, according to Molinaro, who says some of his best students are those who have never picked up a paintbrush before.

“There is no wrong way to express yourself creatively, and no two paintings will ever match,” he says. “These parties are perfect for people who have an inner creative soul. With some quick little lessons and some personal instruction from me, even someone with no previous painting experience will be surprised at what can be done within that two- to three-hour period.”