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A Taste of Summer
Arts Clayton, package store host wine tasting

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Just as many foods are better with wine, so is art, according to Kathleen Higgins, co-owner and vice president of the Highway 138 Package Store in Stockbridge.

For the fourth year in a row, the package store and Arts Clayton in Jonesboro will host a wine tasting to raise money and bring awareness to the gallery.

The "Taste of Summer" wine tasting will take place at Arts Clayton this evening from 6-9 p.m. For a donation of $10, visitors will be able to sample more than 30 wines from all over the world, while listening to live music, sampling light fare, and viewing the gallery's "Out of the Box" art exhibit.

Higgins said the event has become one her customers ask about frequently. "We have several customers who have asked, since our last tasting, when we are going to have another one, so it is very anticipated by our customers," she said. "It's a wonderful way to promote new wines and show our appreciation to our wine customers."

This year, visitors to the tasting will be able to sample red, white, and sparkling wines from France, Italy, California, Washington state, as well as a new sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and a Malbec wine from Argentina.

Several tables will be set up with six-to-eight different wines, each manned by a wine expert, who will answer questions about the wine's taste, price, and origins.

Higgins said that summer wines tend to be lighter, fruitier, and geared toward food pairings with grilled meats. While gas prices are affecting the price of many boutique wines, the tasting will offer a variety of wines that fit into "every customer's price range," she said.

Karen Powers, gallery manager of Arts Clayton, said that while the annual wine tasting has lots of overhead costs, the event itself introduces many people to what the gallery has to offer.

"The money goes mostly to cover the cost," said Powers. "The main benefit is getting people in here and exposing them to art. It also provides everybody who attends a chance to purchase pieces of art. We tend to bring in extra inventory, particularly three-dimensional art and jewelry, because in the past, those tend to be the most popular pieces that people purchase during the wine tasting.

"Like cake and ice cream, wine and art go very well together," said Powers. "It's a wonderful audience-building event for us to let people know that we are in the community. That is something that we are continually trying to accomplish."

For more information, call Arts Clayton at (770) 473-5457.