Fox School of Wine pairs wines with mines for Park City history tour
Fox School of Wines Mines and Wines Saturday Tours
When: 3 p.m. every Saturday, starting Jan. 4
Where: Groups meet at the Brass Tag, at The Lodges at Deer Valley, 2900 Deer Valley Drive East
Mines and Wines Saturday Tour stops and wines
• Brass Tag: a vintage sparkling wine made for the king and queen of Spain
• Ontario Mine: a French Chablis
• Main Street Park City: an Oregon Rosé
• Miner’s Hospital: a Napa Pinot Noir
• Silver King Consolidated mining tunnels: a French Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape
• Red Light District: a 20-year Tawny Port
For information, visit foxschoolofwine.com
Wine lovers will get a chance to dig into some of Park City’s history when the Fox School of Wine starts up a new season of its weekly Mines and Wines Tour on Jan. 4
The tours, open to ages 21 and older, meet at 3 p.m. every Saturday at The Brass Tag, a mining-themed restaurant at The Lodges at Deer Valley, 2900 Deer Valley Drive East.
The group, which is limited to 15 for each tour, will learn about mining history at the restaurant before being driven to the Ontario Mine, Miner’s Hospital, Historic Main Street, Silver King Consolidated HQ and Park City’s historic Red Light District, said Fox School of Wine Headmistress Kirsten Fox, an executive sommelier.
“At each stop we will taste a wine that has been specifically chosen to pair with each location,” Fox said. (See list of stops and wines).
The wines match the theme of each location, Fox said.
“One of the wines we taste is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Southern Rhône, France,” she said. “This wine is a blend of three grapes, and it is and extremely, food-friendly and flexible wine.”
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape is paired with the Silver King Consolidated Mining Company’s tunnel stop, which opened in 1916, because the tunnel was used for multiple purposes, Fox said.
Solon Spiro, the company’s president and general manager, decided to dig the tunnel from the outlining area of the Silver Star location, which is currently home of Windermere Real Estate offices, three miles into the mountain to the Thaynes Canyon mining operation, Fox said.
“It was going to provide water drainage, and it was going to provide possibly a location to add to the ore if ore was found there,” she said. “Thirdly, it was a direct way for miners to get to work, because they would ride the horse-pulled carts through the mountain instead of going over hill-and-dale to Thaynes.”
A downturn in the price of silver and lead in the 1960s forced the mining company to find alternative ways to keep its doors open, Fox said.
“So it began participating in a new sport called skiing, and opened the Treasure Mountain Recreation Center, where Park City Mountain Resort now stands, in 1963,” she said. “In 1966, the tunnel became a ‘skier subway’ that was used to bring in skiers to the resort.”
Finding wines such as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape for the tour was fun, Fox said.
“I hear people at the resorts say, ‘Research and development, research and development,’ when they grab their skis to get in a few runs, and that’s what my staff and I did when we were tasting through the wines,” Fox said. “There was one time when I had six bottles of wine open in my refrigerator, and it was such a fun processes.”
Fox is no stranger to Park City mining history, because her great-grandfather and grandfather were miners.
“Since I’m the oldest daughter in my family, my mom started sending me all of this family mining memorabilia four or five years ago,” she said. “As I looked over these items, including maps and photos, I wondered what I was going to do with these things.”
The Mines and Wines idea woke Fox up in the middle of the night.
“I sat up and said, ‘Mines rhymes with wines,’ and decided to create a fun tour that combined all of our fun history in Park City and the memorabilia I got from my mom,” she said. “It’s become my history and wine passion put into one two-hour experience that will show off our town.”
The tours opened two years ago, and have grown so much that Fox had to recruit additional guides.
One guide is her son, Mitch von Puttkammer, a certified wine instructor.
“He worked at Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, and has moved back to Park City,” Fox said.
The second guide is Oliver Peronnet, a vineyard owner from France.
“He had a deep passion and knowledge of wines, and it’s an experience hearing him talk about Park City in his wonderful accent,” Fox said.
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