BERLIN — Over the next two months Berlin will begin its transformation into the unofficial wine capitol of the Eastern Shore. It is fitting then that on the occasion of the 2nd Friday Art Stroll, the first of several shops offering upscale wines will have its major coming out party.
Robin Tomaselli and her sister Shelly Eppard who own the Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery on Bay Street had always planned to sell wine and craft beer from their shop. Their original place on North Main Street was too small to accommodate the project, but once they moved to the larger place the shop now occupies, they began planning to do so.
The bakery has been developing a clientele interested in purchases beyond desserts. Over the last year-or-so they’ve created a niche selling artisan bread and local cheeses. Regular customers stop in for these items as part of a nice dinner. The centerpiece of a nice dinner is a good bottle of wine, so the transition made complete sense.
“This just lets us offer our customers something new,” Eppard said. “We’re trying to offer people things that are unique.”
Diversity has always been important, not only to the ladies at Baked but to many of the local merchants. The dominant thing has been to overlap without really competing against one another. It was a notion that was built into the Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery plan when they began searching for just the right wines to offer.
They settled upon what are known as boutique wines from small production vintners. Their particular niche is that the wines they bring in are sustainable, biodynamic and organic.
“These are wines that are underrepresented in the area,” Tomaselli said. “We’re not trying to be a bar.”
In order to introduce the wines they’ve selected to customers Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery will host a tasting during each 2nd Friday Art Stroll, complete with food pairings prepared by guest chefs.
The idea is to help would-be consumers have a better understanding of the wines sold at the bakery because the vintages are uncommon.
“I don’t think any other places are carrying the wines we are carrying,” Tomaselli said.
In addition to what she called “special occasion wine” there is a significant selection of wines that are quite reasonably priced.
Since they always participate and promote the fact, Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery tends to have an excellent turnout for the 2nd Friday Art Stroll. Add to that the fact that this weekend will be the 2nd Annual May Day Play Day and they expect quite a turnout for their big opening.
Beyond the event at Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery this 2nd Friday Art Stroll and May Day Play Day promises to be a huge event with openings and entertainment all up and down Main Street well into the evening.
For the first time, the Waystead Inn will participate in the event and are hosting music as well as having an art show by Ocean Pines resident Don Grafter. For an entire list of the 2nd Friday openings and events see Page 8.
The streets will be closed for the better part of the afternoon as Ocean 98.1 FM sponsors seven bands in the street: The Electric Co., Kaleb Brown, The Bryan Russo band, Saltwater String Band, Parental Guidance, The Hooplas, and Hot Sauce Sandwich.
Additionally there will be a dunking booth and other games and distractions for the entire family. The event is 5-9 p.m. Friday.