BY SARA CALVOSA
I don’t want to be putting people in boxes (of wine) and generalizing about ladies in Chico (and how we love wine), and the things we do together in our downtime (drink wine), or while we’re watching city council meetings (drink wine in our underwear), or at book clubs (big bottles of wine), but let’s face it—we love wine and we love spending time together. Praise be, Erika Noriega of Painted Vino feels you. She has put her entrepreneurial spirit to work and come up with a way to combine our love of hanging out with the girls and being creative while drinking the vino and solving all the world’s problems the way we do. It’s called Painted Vino and it’s an opportunity to get together with the girls/dudes, drink some wine, and have a local artist walk you through the steps of painting your very own masterpiece. As soon as I heard about this, I knew it was totally for me and I wanted to check this business out ASAP. Noriega invited me to an event to check things out for myself.
What are you thinking? You’re engaged to J-Pigg, getting a PhD, and being a Hooliganz groupie has got to be a full-time job. What possessed you to start a new business?
Well, we decided to start our life here together and I asked [Jason], “what do people up here do for fun?”
That’s a legitimate question.
I quickly realized that unless you’re a college kid hitting the downtown scene, there isn’t much going on. Girls typically have their “wine nights” in. So I thought, what if we mix in something really creative, that would work with what the women in town are already doing? So that’s how we came up with it—trying to look for a good time!
How do you connect with local artists?
We put a call out for any artist who has expertise in acrylics and also has some expertise with teaching. Something that I look for in the artists we work with is that they’re personable; they’re all about pulling out the creativity from adults who may not feel that they have any, that may just be buried deep down inside.
Eventually we hope we’ll be at our own location; we’ve actually grown a lot quicker than we anticipated. What started off as just doing private parties at residences has now turned into a call for more events and more people getting together.
And I have to say, being a new person in Chico, I’ve felt really welcomed by the community here. There are people reaching out to help us out. Folks that work with wine have reached out to us; we’ve had different people and venues that have opened their doors to us—Yours Truly and Wine Time, as well as Hot Flash Wines. I’m just really floored by the support, not only by my fiancé and my family here but this community and how responsive and receptive they’ve been. I’m really grateful for that.
As soon as I heard about this I was immediately excited and wanted to check it out. I think it’s going to be supernova popular.
You know, with the holidays around the corner, a painting that you created yourself is a great gift. It comes straight from the heart.
My boozy little heart. With budget cuts and people really questioning the value of art and why it’s important to nurture art in our community, this is a great way for artists to connect with people individually.
That’s why we’re so excited to get some local artists! And you know, as much as this is an awesome socializing event, this is also great for “me time.” We’ve had people come on their own who have enjoyed the time away from kids, or the stressors of work, and just sit back and meet other people. I’ve really enjoyed building community within a community.
[And with that, I put on an apron and joined the party with a glass of red. I mingled and chatted, made some new friends, and came home with a delightful, romantic painting that I painted myself. Big thank you to Maria for hosting the event and letting me partycrash, and to all of her friends for being so much fun!]
Please check out facebook.com/painted.vino for all upcoming events! There are still open spaces for November events!