Fox School of Wine celebrates 10 years of wine and education
Since 2008, the Fox School of Wine has offered weekend wine classes and other wine-related services.
When headmistress Kirsten Fox thought about the past decade, the first thing she said was, “That’s a lot of wine.”
The second: “It has been a lot of fun.
“When you’re having fun it’s not a lot of work,” Fox said. “I basically can roll out of bed and have a lot of fun that day.”
Fox, a master sommelier, started the school as a “hobby. business.”
“I was interested in wine and I wanted to have people around me to help me pay for the wine I would be drinking myself, anyway,” she said laughing. “Now we have seven wine professors and a handful of teaching assistants.”
The weekend wine series will start up in December, and the Mines and Wines tours will run during Park City’s peak seasons.
Another offering, the monthly Table for 12 Tasting, started by Fox faculty member Pamela Wood, runs all year, except in December and May.
Wood, who is also president of the Park City Wine Club, and Darcy McKay, the cheesemonger at The Market Park City, came up with Table for 12, according to Fox.
Wood is about to beceom a Certified Wine Educator. (See accompanying story).
Other Fox School of Wine offerings that have been added throughout the past decade include wine cellar analyses, private classes, pairing services and field trips.
“All of the other, additional services we have added to our school offerings either came from students who asked for new and different things or an idea that came during the middle of the night,” Fox said. “That’s why I keep a pen and notebook by my bed.”
The goal for each service is to educate and entertain.
“As I watched people discover new wines they never tasted, or notice their eyes light up when they heard a story I would tell about the history of the wine or grape, the whole scope of the school began to grow,” she said. “It quickly became more than just a way for me and my friends to enjoy drinking wine.”
Fox’s favorite wine changes daily.
“My favorite wines depend on what I’m eating, because I’ve become so interested in the flavors of the food and wine together,” she said.
Fox’s wine pairing explorations have also included items and concepts beyond food, as she’s written in her Huffington Post blog, “Wines to Pair with Life: The Musings of an Executive Sommelier.”
“When I began writing the column, I started to realize how fun it was to pair wines with laundry, a night alone at home or an historic location in Park City,” she said. “That has added to the Fox School of Wine’s experience. Taking wine out of the culinary world and laying it across a normal person’s life adds opportunities for them to remember and connect to the wine in other ways.”
Fox’s newest initiative is a program on Cumulus Radio she hosts with Jim Santangelo, owner of the Wine Academy of Utah.
The “Twisted Cork Radio Show” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays on 860 KKAT.
“As a certified sommelier, I’m usually the person in the room who knows the most about wine we discuss, unless I’m with one of my wine professors, but recently I’ve been taping a new radio show and I have learned so much while sitting across the table from Jimmy,” Fox said.
The headmistress recently learned that some of the winemakers in the Penedes region of Spain, who are known for making cava, a sparkling wine, are adding some chardonnay grapes to the three native grape bunches that make up the drink.
“The chardonnay adds a little more richness and palate-friendly flavors to the cavas,” Fox said. “This is just one example of how Jimmy has opened my eyes to a whole new way to understand wines, which has really been fun.”
Another thing Fox learned through her wine school is to “chill out.”
“I’ve learned over the course of opening three different businesses in my life that it is much easier to let ideas and opportunities come to you, rather than try to push a boulder up a hill,” she said. “After trying to force different ideas into the public’s eye in Park City and watching them fail repeatedly, I’ve learned to let the right ideas and right people flow into the school at the right time.
“Since wine is such a connector, it has been an amazing experience to use it to bring people together and see the connections they make with the wine, their fellow students and the school and faculty,” she said. “I’m looking forward to some quiet time in November so I can get the class schedule up and get the back-office work done that is needed for the school to function.”
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