Winery hosts first art event for 2008

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By Brent Schanding

Landmark News Service

Culture mavens gathered Saturday at an unassuming place: an old dairy barn, near New Castle.

Inside, whitewashed walls faded the by-gone "milking memories" in this converted art gallery, and food and wine flowed freely. It's something that's become expected at any Smith-Berry Winery event, said guests.

The Henry County venue showcased a collection of framed broadsides by Larkspur Press. The 35-year-old Monterey-based press has published books by Kentucky writers Guy Davenport, James Baker Hall and Bobbie Ann Mason, as well as the county's own Wendell Berry, whose daughter and son-in-law operate the local winery.

A collection of works representing Larkspur Press authors will be on display at the winery's Amyx Gallery through May 10.

Larkspur Press Printer/Artist Gray Zeitz handsets his works in metal type. Zeitz also uses the moveable type method to print other projects — a homespun craft that can take nearly two years for a book.

The difference? Quality.

"Gray has just been of such value to the Kentucky literary scene for 35 years. He's kept alive an art that's nearly dead," Mary Berry Smith, co-owner of the winery said. "And he's one of the nicest people I've ever met in my life."

More than 350 people attended Saturday's event.

"All the events at the winery are top-notch from the summer-long music dinner fests to the periodic art openings," said perennial event-goer Duanne Puckett of Shelbyville. "They are always like a reunion, seeing old acquaintances."

Puckett, a Wendell Berry fan, said she received one of her first Berry books as a gift and was given a framed broadsheet of one of his essays for Christmas.

"So I certainly enjoyed seeing what else was available," she said.

First-time event goers were equally impressed.

"I was very impressed with the event, good food, good art, good people and great wine," said Beth Holbrook of Frankfort, who was able to taste the winery's reserve bottles at the event. "It was a wonderful afternoon."

The winery will host its next art opening May 17. It will feature paintings by Nana Lampton and photography by Susan Seiller.

It will host its first summer concert series May 31, with headliners Nervous Melvin and the Mistakes.

For more information call 845-7091 or see the event calendar at www.smithberrywinery.net.

E-mail us about this article at editor@hclocal.com.