November-December 2010 | WELCOME TO THE CLUB




Through Bishop’s Stock, Ann Coates brings fine art, culture, and now, fine wine to bucolic Snow Hill

Looks as if Ann Coates has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. In the throes of an economy that’s not exactly friendly to institutions such as art galleries, Coates’ Bishop’s Stock in Snow Hill is actually expanding.

Not only has she decided to keep the gallery open year-round and hired an artist-in-residence named Doug Fisher, the launch of her companion “wine gallery” means that Coates will now have paint drying on her artists’ palettes while some really good wine dries on her patrons’ palates.

“I got my liquor license in July,” Coates said. “There’s a lot of wine that gets served at show openings, so I figured why not just do it all the time?”

So, in August, the Bishop’s Stock wine gallery opened for business. Though Coates maintains a stock of over three dozen different vintages, she features four each month at what she calls her “First Friday” opening reception to accompany the artist’s showcase.

Just as selective as she is with her exhibitions, Coates doesn’t offer just any old mass-marketed grape at her First Friday openings. Rather, she quite discriminately highlights wines from different regions and varietals that are designed to keep taste buds piqued. She also throws in a little history, to enhance the experience.

One such offering is a unique little Riesling from Washington State grower Charles Smith called Kung Fu Girl. A 2009 vintage, Kung Fu Girl isn’t your typical overly sweet Riesling. It’s smooth vibrancy and fruity body don’t overreach, giving it a bouncy versatility that makes it an exceptional choice for partnering with the rich and diverse flavors that characterize holiday fare.

Another find is the Italian – that’s right, Italian – Pinot Noir from Cesari Duetorri of Venice. An international hit, this Pinot Noir has been praised by wine critics for its “irresistible velvety smooth texture.” How much for this delectable vintage? Try $12. In fact, affordably unique wines are a theme at Bishop’s Stock. Sure, Coates stocks bottles $39 and higher, but the majority of her selections go for between $9 and $13.

The four featured wines may be sampled anytime throughout the month, and Coates said that special-ordering for customers is available. There’s also the Bishop’s Stock Wine Club, which automatically supplies its members two of the four wines featured each month. Subscriptions may be month-to-month or annual, but the latter gets you one month of entitlements free of charge.

“It’s always been my mission to bring an awareness of the arts community to the people of Snow Hill,” Ann said, “and I feel the wine gallery adds an extra dimension that is conducive to that mission. It’s also just a lot of fun!”

For a holiday treat with an authentic local flavor, check out the brand-new crab-pot Christmas trees on hand at Bishop’s Stock. Made out of green-coated crab-trap mesh — available in heights of 1.5, 2, 3, 4 and 6 feet — these delightful prelighted ornamentals are equally at home indoors or out. They’re also very light and can fold flat for easy storage. They even come with their own anchor wires, so Eastern Shore winter winds shouldn’t be a concern.

After seven years of operation, Bishop’s Stock has hosted an amazing 77 different artist showcases, featuring such gifted local artists as Denise Dumont, Lynne Lockhart, Kirk McBride, Maurice Spector, Stan Sperlak and Nancy West.

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