Local ladies enjoy “girls’ night out” creating cookies

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

South Ridge Winery partnered with Sugar on Top Bakery to host a cookie decorating class on Friday evening.

The class is one of many regular events the winery hosts to invite locals to their site on Sweetwater Road, for food, fun, and a sampling of beverages.

Tonya and Matthew Pippin opened South Ridge Winery near Luverne a little over four years ago and began offering creative events to draw in local customers.

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“Since we’re out in the country, it’s kind of hard for people to come out and buy a glass or a bottle of wine,” Pippin said. “I was trying to bring people out to the winery to have a good time because there’s nothing like that around where you can have a cookie or ceramics class.”

The COVID-19 pandemic paused those events for a while, but since the pandemic has slowed, the couple has resumed hosting events which give area residents a much-needed space to gather and try their hand at creative projects.

‘We started back with our Kickoff Summer Arts and Crafts Festival and then just kept adding events,” Tonya Pippin said.

The winery has posted “Sip and Paint” classes, “Cookies and Corks” parties, and an adults-only Easter egg hunt. Guests at the events can sample wines produced on sight, as well as wine slushies, sodas, or non-alcoholic beverages.

“There’s just not a lot of stuff to do after hours in Crenshaw County,” Tonya said. “We wanted to bring something for everybody.”

Teal Longerbeam, who lives in Highland Home, was invited to attend by a friend and brought her mother, Kenna, who traveled from Greenville for the class.

The mother and daughter agreed the event provided an opportunity to have some fun without the work of preparing and cleaning up afterward.

“There’s not a lot to do at night,” Teal said. “This is our first visit. I’m curious to see how interesting my cookie will look when we’re finished.”

Christy Johnson, a local baker and owner of Sugar on Top Bakery, facilitated the class and guided participants with options for decorating their Christmas cookies.

“Tonya called me and asked if I would be interested in doing a class,” Johnson said. “We thought it would be a good time to have people come out to the winery, have a glass of wine, and learn how to make sugar cookies. So, we’ve done one other class so far and we hope to do a cake pop class later.”

During the holiday season, the Pippins invite local vendors who don’t have a brick-and-mortar store to sell their wares onsite each Saturday.

“I try to help local people,” Pippin explained. “They can set up inside the winery free of charge.”

Crenshaw County resident Margaret Fox often visits the winery for events and as someone who enjoys art, appreciates the create offerings hosted there.

“I was here when they made Thanksgiving cookies,” Fox said. “We come up here and enjoy the wine and charcuterie trays. We also came for Easter. It’s a lot of fun.”

Alabama law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone who is intoxicated, and Tonya said visitors come for the fun and fellowship, sampling beverages while they are there.

To learn more about South Ridge Winery, visit southridgewine.com. Follow them on Facebook to discover upcoming events.