Recently, I was very excited to attend the Whole Foods Venice for the Fantastique French Wine Tasting and Gildras Coudrais Art Show at Whole Foods in Venice, CA. The proceeds from the event went to the Whole Planet Foundation. I thought it would be the perfect date night for my husband and I since it happened to fall on our anniversary weekend. I’m sure that most of the people attending went primarily for the wine and the art was a bonus, but for us it was the reverse. We were more interested in the art and the wine was a bonus. 🙂 I have been to many art exhibits, but this would be my first time wine tasting.
I had a major new mom fail…I had heard all of these stories from friends about how they bring their babies with them when they go wine tasting and just assumed that we didn’t need to leave our baby with my parents or the babysitter. I should have asked ahead of time but I didn’t. Also, somehow in my mind I figured that since it was inside a grocery store, it wasn’t a “real” bar. You know what they say about what happens when you assume things! I also blame the voice of my Italian grandmother lingering in my mind saying, “It’s not alcohol, it’s wine!” When my husband and our baby tried to come in, they were politely informed that they could not stay since the baby was under 21 years old. 🙂 So they wandered around the store, shopped, and relaxed and played games in the car while I enjoyed the event. I felt awful for my husband but surprisingly he didn’t seem to mind. He said it was no different than if he had just gone about our normal routine when I need some time to work…usually E and him go shopping and then have play time when I need to catch up on photo editing or other work. Normally, they would be sitting in our son’s bedroom, and not in our car in the rain, but they seemed to have fun anyway.
So, I was left to enjoy the event on my own, which felt so odd since it has been so long since I attended an event without my husband. I apologize for all of E’s fans…there are no photos of my little guy in this post. 🙂 I also originally hoped to get some photos of myself with the artist, but there is no way that I ever let anyone other than my husband use my camera. Next time we will definitely utilize a babysitter!
After I saw the display in our local Whole Foods with all of the labels designed by artist Gildas Courdrais (original post here), I was very excited to see his art on display at the event. I have been to many art gallery events over the years, and usually the artists featured are not the most gracious people you will ever meet. I have also seen art displays where I wonder what in the world the artist did to get their work featured since it was pretty underwhelming. The opposite was the case with Gildas Coudrais. He was pleasant, charming and gracious…truly a pleasure to meet. His work was impressive and I could definitely understand why he was asked to design the collection of labels!
I personally loved the sketch of the rabbit on the bottle of Malbec. It reminds me a lot of a whimsical version of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, so obviously I was drawn to it. 🙂 I was excited to see that the art series featured at the event focused on the rabbit. At first glance, I thought that the series had a print of the rabbit that was altered for each piece. Upon closer inspection, I realized that each one was individually drawn. The precision and consistency between the pieces was very impressive. I also loved how Gildas overlayed the ears up onto the matting in each piece, showing that each one is hand drawn. The pieces were all mixed media, and had witty plays on various quotes. If I wasn’t currently saving up for a bunch of large expensive prints of my own photos, I would have definitely considered purchasing one of the pieces!
When I was in my early 20’s, I had the impression that I did not like beer since my primary experience with beer had been whatever was served up for free from a keg at fraternity parties in college. Then one day some friends of mine convinced me to go beer tasting at a brewery, and I realized that I just don’t like bad quality beer. Since I am new to learning about wine, I have had some not so great experiences with some of the lower priced grocery store options that I have tried. My husband and I were pretty convinced that we are just microbrew beer fans and wine was not for us. However, this whole tasting experience completely changed our opinion.
At the event, I tried each of the different varieties, and I enjoyed all of them, even the sauvignon blanc, which was surprising since previously white wine was at the bottom of my list of drinks that I enjoy. My favorites were the malbec and the cabernet syrah. At just $9.99, all of the wines are an incredible value, and definitely way better than any of the other wines I have ever tried.
There were a surprising number of people crammed into the tiny bar area that night, despite the massive rain storm here in Southern California!
Bottles signed by the artist, and the very talented Gildas Coudrais.
Some of the amazing food that night…I would pretty much die for some creme brulee…darn egg allergy.
*Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Venice (but everything I wrote is completely honest…definitely go to your local Whole Foods and pick up a bottle!).