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The Gaffer Experience: Wine & Design

You would be hard pressed to find a place in the Gaffer District with more laughter than Wine and Design.

Friends, coworkers, families, sports teams, brides-to-be, and couples on first dates gather around wine barrel tables adorned with art easels. A chosen image has been sketched onto each, and the group giggles their way through their best attempt at bringing that sketch to life with paint.

Owner Kylene Kiah snapped up the first franchise in New York State, surprised that someone hadn't done so sooner. As she says, "The combination of art and wine speaks to the heart of the Finger Lakes region." Ah yes, the wine. These first-time artists are encouraged to bring food and drink to help move the creative process along. Some folks take that part seriously.

"We have a lady who has done parties with us and she lugs in a blender for cocktails. It's great fun." And then there are the gentlemen who arrange artistic evenings for the new ladies in their lives. "Some guys bring elaborate place settings with all her favorites. It's sweet to see them put such thought into it."

The Market Street storefront is open by appointment for classes, including during business hours. "We have companies that use this as a performance reward or a team building exercise." Sounds like more fun that falling backwards into your teammate's arms! There is often some frustration, though. Kylene says there is always one person who "wants to get the painting perfect. Then others really don't care, they are just here for the fun."

Wine and Design offers something for everyone. There is the ArtBuzz Program for kids, a great alternative to the chaos that usually happens with a home birthday party. Paint It Forward offers unique fund raising for charities. A portion of the money raised goes to the selected local or national cause. The On Wheels program makes painting portable. Private homes, businesses, public settings, the ladies are willing to explore any opportunity for a special event.

Hosting could not be easier. Kylene and her crew supply everything and do it all, including cleanup. Any artistic marriage proposals yet? "No!" Kylene exclaims with indignation. "A lot of the other locations in the country have had one. I want to do one here!"

Romantics of the Southern Tier, take note. If this season includes plans to ask the big question, call Kylene at Wine and Design. You will end up making two people very happy.

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