Wine Pairing for Artists

Clay & EarthI sometimes see colors when I hear musical notes. Viewing Vicki Gunter‘s art during Saturday Stroll, I tasted wine. Her themes, “Everything is Everything” and “The Canary in the Coal Mine, The Elephant in the Room” spotlight the interconnectedness of all life. They call attention to the damage humans are doing to this home we share with fellow inhabitants while ignoring the warning signs. As we stood there listening to the music (“Deer Path,” from a dance performance Ms. Gunter choreographed), I suddenly saw myself appreciating her sculptures with a glass of German riesling. Shortly after the thought surfaced, I remembered visiting an art installation at Mercury 20 two years ago. The artist, Nick Dong, had asked me to recommend a wine pairing for that evening’s reception celebrating his Be-longing, En-lightening piece. I had been intrigued, having never previously contemplated art and wine pairings.

Wine Pairing w/Mother Nature

Art Meets Wine Pairing

When I drink wine, I often think of all the effort it takes to nurture grapes from earth to glass. I also think about the link between healthy soils and vines and good wines. A glass of Mosel riesling struck me as the perfect wine pairing for “Clay & Earth, What We Stand On.” Contemplative, with intense layers of clean fruit married with stony minerality, the wine would resonate with the work before us. More specifically, I could picture enjoying a glass of Heymann-Lowenstein’s riesling, rooted as the winemaking is in being in balance with the earth. The winery plants according to the lunar calendar; and wines are the product of spontaneous ferments with indigenous yeasts. Heymann-Lowenstein also generates the vast majority of its energy needs internally.

Art & Wine PairingWine Meets Art Pairing

I had the pleasure of meeting Reinhard Lowenstein and sitting for a formal tasting while on a wine study tour in September. As our group walked through the cellar, I found my attention drawn to a large stone standing in the doorway to the back cellar. Spotlights above it made it impossible not to notice. Finally, I couldn’t help asking him its significance. It was quartz he said. He had initially placed it there because he thought the doorway should have something to call attention to it. Later a visiting winemaker had told him his wines would benefit from the quartz’s energy. Standing in the cellar I thought of the interconnectedness of art, wine, and the earth.

Back in the Oakopolis gallery, the ceramic sculptures were moving and richly detailed. Among the stand-outs were, Tapped Out, a graphic depiction of Yosemite’s retreating glaciers, which supply roughly a third of California’s drinking water. Round-Up, crafted in the form of a Native American dreamcatcher (in reality, a nightmare catcher), depicted the effects of Monsanto’s herbicide on bee populations and its GMOs on humans. A weeping Mother Nature gently cradled our small blue planet in her arms. Weighty and disturbing, the works are a call to action.

“Clay & Earth, What We Stand On” runs at Oakopolis through November 18.

One Response to Wine Pairing for Artists

  1. suja pritchard says:

    Deborah,I enjoyed the journey of thought you took us on in your post. I want images of the specific pieces you described.

    While beverage pairings with the artworks are an interesting idea, the reality is that many visual pieces are so subjective that pairings are limiting; both to the mind and palate. It therefore presents a “fenced boundary” to the two senses…and it’s art’s JOB #1 to climb over, blow apart, reinterpret, baptize and rename fences. The wine is a social amenity.
    Just serve a good example of the vintners art so it doesn’t detract from the visual concentrations!

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