Blending artisan glass and wine on California’s Central Coast

You wouldn’t expect to find a wine bar inside a glass factory — or would you?

Visit Annieglass in Watsonville, on the California Coast, between Santa Cruz and Monterey, and you’ll find local wines being poured among shelves of just fired glass platters, bowls, vases and more.

Annie Morhauser, the brainchild behind the design, launched her artisan, sustainable glass studio 35 years ago. Her unique techniques and organic designs have garnered a loyal following, not only for their beauty and collectibility, but also for their functionality for day-to-day living. Two of Annieglass’ iconic pieces — from the frosted and sandblasted Shells series,— are on permanent display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Annie’s factory has been open for tours and shopping, but in May 2017, she added Craftbar, a wine bar and crafts workshop mashup. On weekends, you’ll find local wine and beer at the bar, offered along with a rotating selection of hands-on workshops. Want to learn how to make your own glass plates or ceramic beer mugs? There’s a class just for you. And you can enjoy a glass of local wine or craft beer as you work on your creation.

We recently caught up with Annie as she was celebrating her 35th anniversary, as she looked back and forward.

WF: What does a 35th anniversary means to you?

AM: It makes me realize how damn lucky I am to do what I love for a living and how many people have helped me get here. I’m really happy to see so many of our staff have been here for more than 20 years one half of the staff has been here half the time the business has been in existence, it’s crazy.

WF: Did you create a special collection for the 35th anniversary?

AM: I made the Storybook Collection and the Poppy Sculpture, both limited editions.

Limited edition Giant Poppy Sculpture. (Courtesy of Annieglass)
Limited edition Storybook bowls. (Courtesy of Annieglass)

 

WF: How has The Craftbar changed or influenced your business?

Annie Morhauser (left) with participants in a pinch pot Craftbar workshop.

AM: The craft bar has created excitement with a whole new crowd of people that may not be interested in collecting antique glass, but are definitely interested in making something with their hands. Particularly people who want to put down their phones, stop looking at screens and actually learn how to make something. We are excited to see the change in clients and all these new people coming as well as our regular customers who are bringing family members to celebrate a special event, a girlfriends weekend, or mother-daughter play time.

WF: What are your most popular workshops?

AM: By far the one that my daughter Ava Reinhold teaches, the Succulent Garden Workshop, where you make a succulent garden in an Annieglass planter.

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