Artist Paints Wine Glasses Into Full-Time Career


While home from college one summer seven years ago, Danielle Johnson Grifo was tinkering with her craft projects and painting wine glasses for her sorority sisters when the idea for Wine by Design was conceived.

“My mom threw out the idea of painting crabs on wine glasses for an auction item she was donating to a local fundraiser,” Grifo said. “To be honest, I laughed out loud at the idea of being able to paint crabs on a wine glass! But sure enough, I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised with how well they turned out. Before I knew it, my mom was sharing pictures of the glasses with friends, who shared with their friends, and just like that, Wine by Design was born.”

Grifo is currently a fifth-grade teacher at an elementary school in Fairfax, Virginia, but that’s about to change as she prepares to turn her art into her full-time career.

“Teaching has been my passion for as long as I can remember. However, at the conclusion of this school year, I will be leaving the teaching profession and taking my business full-time,” Grifo said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to launch my own a business and join the ranks of the self-employed.”

Grifo’s art is inspired by the water and anything nautical. She said that growing up on the Severn River played an integral role in the overall theme of her designs.

“I guess it’s that Maryland blood running through my veins, or possibly the crabs and Old Bay, but I love adding a nautical flare to my wine glasses,” she added. “What started as a whimsical blue crab design quickly transitioned to colorful crabs, starfish, sea turtles, sailboats, anchors, fish and so much more.”

Grifo has no formal art training; however, she’s inspired by Kim Hovell, an Annapolis artist.

“Kim is best known for her work with oysters; however, she has a coastal theme to her designs as well,” Grifo added. “I also love her support of local philanthropies such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.”

For more information, visit, Instagram - @shopwinebydesign, Facebook- @shopwinebydesign, or email Grifo at


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