Between the Vines is a biweekly column on wine and winemaking in the Livermore Valley region. This column was contributed by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association.

Wineries across Livermore Valley are serving up a perfect pairing to tasting room guests -- wine and art.

"When you come into the winery, it's a somewhat overwhelming experience. We have about 80 works of art, mostly oil paintings by my sister, Laura, hanging in the tasting room," says John Evan Marion, who crafts wines for his family labels, Big White House and John Evan CelIars. "I'm lucky to be related to the best artists I know. Frequent visitors to the winery see new art during each release."

John is pleased that tasting room guests often collect his sister's art along with his wines. She creates an original work for each of his labels, then paints copies for guests who place special orders. Guests can experience the art of brother and sister at the tasting room on Greenville Road, which is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 4:30.

Darcie Kent Vineyards on Tesla Road is an art gallery featuring paintings by the vintner, Darcie Kent, and a tasting room serving single vineyard wines.

"I look to express the beauty of the vineyards, both as a vintner and as an artist," says Darcie. "Our wine gallery is where the palette meets the palate."

Most of the artwork featured in the gallery is for sale, and commissions are available upon request. Darcie paints and designs all of the wine labels. Darcie Kent vineyards is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Charles R Vineyards also has a resident artist. Owner Bonnie Bartlett's oil and watercolor paintings grace the walls of the tasting room, and she hosts a mixed-media art class Tuesday afternoons during the summer.

"As our guests stroll about the winery with a glass of wine in hand, the art adds to the celebratory environment that people experience with friends and family," says Bonnie.

Charles R displays artwork and handcrafted jewelry from local artists, including scenic oil paintings by Marvin Delander, local wildlife graphics by Don Walder and jewelry by Carol Espinosa and Bev Patterson. Located at the south end of Greenville Road, Charles R is open for tasting Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The AuburnJames tasting room at 321 Hartz Ave. in Danville is a fine art gallery as well as the perfect downtown spot to enjoy wine flights and small plate culinary delights.

"About half of the art displayed in our gallery is from members of the Alamo Danville Artist Society. The other works come from artists that we admire from around the world," says AuburnJames owner Matt Ospeck. "Our art envoy, Mary Cope, has an eye for those considered 'painters of light' and has selected works that take our guests to a location or a place in time that is captured by the artist."

Currently on display are several modern American impressionist works by Rick Reinert and Mark Horton, of Charleston, S.C., and watercolors by Georgia Mansour of Mudgee, Australia. Most of the works are for sale and wine club members receive discounts on both art and wine. The tasting room is open Tuesday though Sunday; hours vary. For more information and help planning your wine tasting trip to Livermore Valley wine country, please visit www.LVwine.org.

Wine country events

  • March "Merlot" Madness -- 12 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at McGrail Vineyards & Winery, 5600 Greenville Road in Livermore; www.mcgrailvineyards.com. Cost is $10. Come out to taste a special merlot flight during March Madness. Don't worry -- you won't miss the game -- we will have them playing on the big screens!

  • Barrel Tasting Weekend -- 12 to 4:30 p.m. March 29-30 at 32 wineries across Livermore Valley; www.LVwine.org. Cost is $40 in advance, $45 at the event. Taste wines right out of the barrel, meet winemakers and more. Each winery will host a unique experience during barrel tasting weekend including at least one barrel sample for each ticket holder. This is your chance to prepurchase wines before they've even been bottled (aka "futures")!