Flights and Bites has become a Park City Wine Club signature event
Fine tasting of the season set for Tuesday
September 17, 2017
Four years ago, the Park City Wine Club partnered with Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to experiment with an series called Tapas and Tastes, the precursor to what is now known as Flights and Bites.
Club president Pamela Wood, a certified sommelier, hosted three wine pairing events over five months.
"It was so well received that our members asked when it was going to happen again," Wood said during an email interview with The Park Record a few hours before she took off for Yellowstone National Park. "A few tweeks and changes later, along with a new and wonderful General Manager at Ruth's Chris, Scott Stanfield, Flights and Bites was the result."
Park City Wine Club hosts three Flights and Bites during winter to spring — February, March and April — and three tastings in summer to fall — July, August and September.
The last Flights and Bites of the year will be held Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The following is the remainder of The Park Record's email interview with Wood.
Park Record: How has this year been for the program?
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Pamela Wood: This year's Flights and Bites has once again been a success, however, I'd like to see more people come and enjoy the offering from Ruth's Chris as well as enjoy the wines selected for each bite. Part of what makes this a success is the creativity from Ruth's Chris Executive Chef Michael McKeon. In his words "I enjoy these tasting events as it allows me to be creative with the pairings and stray a bit from the Corporate Ruth's Chris menu. When we have these wine tastings it's great to refresh our palates and come up with something new and creative. And it allows us to cook and add our own special touch."
P.R.: What have been the highlights this year?
Wood: Each month is a different topic, different wine, different food. No two tastings are ever alike. The only constant is great food enjoyed with equally great wine.
P.R.: What will the Sept. 19 Flights and Bites event entail?
Wood: This month's theme is "Taste from Down Under," and it will feature wines from Australia and of course selected bites from Chef Mike, even I don't exactly know what he has planned for us.
P.R.: What does it mean to be able to meet at Ruth¹s Chris Steakhouse for Flights and Bites?
Wood: Park City Wine Club has a soft spot, if you will, for Ruth's Chris, Park City. This is where the Park City Wine Club started back in August 2012. At that time then-Mayor Dana Williams and I held up two champagne flutes tied together with a ribbon and in front of 50-plus guests, cut the ribbon and celebrated the beginning of the Park City Wine Club.
I love that the celebration continues multiple times each year at this location. The relationship that has developed between Park City Wine Club and Ruth's Chis, goes beyond just putting on an event, we enjoy working together, coming up with new and exciting menu items, challenging wine pairings and hosting the local community as well as those visiting our area.
For me personally, I truly have built relationships and friendships with the chef, manager and staff at Ruth's Chris and very much appreciate the continued support they give to Park City Wine Club. I can't imagine doing the monthly tastings anywhere else.
P.R.:What was the goal when Flights and Bites first started?
Wood: The goal was to bring a group of people together to enjoy tasting wines they might not otherwise know or taste, and to show how to pair with different foods.
Keeping in with Ruth's Chris menu, I try to always select at least one if not two wines that are available at Ruth's Chris on their wine list and have the Chef showcase at least one item from the menu to give guests a chance to taste something they might want to come back for as well as simply enjoy learning about the other wines and pairings.
P.R.: Has the goal changed?
Wood: No still the same as above, with maybe a bit more education on the history or culture of the wines, and Chef will come out with each bite and tell us about the preparations, ingredients, etc.
P.R.: How has the event grown since it started?
Wood: This event has gone through changes and growing pains, just as most new concepts do. First it was oversold with a wait list, then for some reason unknown there was a drop is attendees, but luckily that was brief. For the past two years it's been fairly steady with a solid number of people enjoying the tastings. Only a few people come to multiple tastings so I am seeing and enjoying many new faces throughout the year. I hope this trend continues and hopefully it even increases.
P.R.: When does the new season start?
Wood: The 2018 Flights and Bites will return with the winter tastings starting in February – dates and topics will be posted on the Park City Wine Club web site as we approach the new year. (www.parkcitywineclub.com).
Park City Wine Club will host its last Flights and Bites of the summer from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 2001 Park Ave. The cost is $55. The event is for ages 21 and older. Reservations are required. They can be made by visiting http://www.parkcitywineclub.com.