Fox School of Wine will kick off its new semester on Saturday
When Kirsten Fox founded the Fox School of Wine in 2008, she just wanted to blend wine, education and fun.
Seven years later, the school headmistress’ goals remain the same, but the programs have grown.
"We grew from basically just me teaching all the classes into having a group of professors come in to teach," Fox said during an interview. "They bring great perspective to the classes that one person alone, no matter how knowledgeable you are, can bring. It helps bring in variety."
Last year, one of the professors, certified sommelier Pamela Wood, wanted to start a new offering called Table of 12.
"This is done in partnership with Nosh at The Market and its cheesemonger Darcy Swedish McKay," Fox said. "That added to our repertoire of classes."
The Fox School of Wine will kick off its new semester on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Silver Baron Lodge, 2880 Deer Valley Dr., from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. The weekly classes sample five wines chosen to reflect the topic of the weekend and all wines are available for under $30 and are available for purchase in Utah, according to Fox.
"Silver Baron Lodge loves having the classes there," Fox said. "They have been great for us to work with."
In addition to the weekly classes and Table of 12, the school has recently added a new offering called the Gourmet Experience at Gold Creek Farm.
"The farm, which is owned by Debbie and Alan Gold, have been working with us on this for about two years," Fox said. "We have done private groups, including corporate groups that have come to town, and now we are ready to offer this to the public."
The Gourmet Experience is an all-inclusive outing.
"Because we have people drinking wine in Woodland, we have included in the price, transportation to and from the farm," Fox said.
The experience starts when the group gets to the farm.
"I give them a fun sparkling wine and they are shown into the creamery, where the cheeses are made," Fox said. "The farm’s head cheese maker, Fernando Chavez, shows the guests through the processes and he also allows the group to cut through the curds and whey, so they understand how cheeses are made."
Before heading to the milk barn, the group will pass by the many awards Gold Creek Farm has won, including the gold medal for Best in Class for their smoked cheddar at the 2013 American Cheese Society’s World Championships.
"Once we get to the milk barn, the group meets and maybe gets the opportunity to feed the brown Swiss cows," Fox said. "Afterwards, we’ll head into the tasting room, where I teach a class that offers four fine wines."
These wines are not the under-$30 bottles that Fox teaches about during the Saturday classes.
"These are fine wines and we pair them with four of the Gold’s cheeses, Creminelli Meats and Red Bicycle Bread," she said. "Then each guest gets a sample block of cheese to take home."
While these new offerings have helped the Fox School of Wine grow, the headmistress enjoys adding new elements to the weekly classes.
"Over the years, the students will ask questions that are repeated week after week," Fox said. "You see a pattern after a while and you can respond by anticipating these questions and providing services.
"So, one of the things we have added is a blind tasting challenge that is held at the end of each class," she said. "The intermediate and advanced students have an opportunity to push their knowledge and challenge themselves to see if they can pick up what the wine in the blind tasting is."
The school also offers a special program for local residents.
"We give them a stamp card like Café Rio, and if they take four classes, they get to take a fifth class for free," Fox said. "This helps locals enjoy the classes more often and helps them branch out and encourage experimentation by not only choosing the classes they know that they’ll like."
Fox said she enjoys seeing her students develop into wine connoisseurs.
"The thing I see most often is that the students feel they are the least knowledgeable person is the room, but typically those who are sitting in a wine class know a lot more about wine than most of their friends," Fox said. "So, I think even they are surprised that when they get to the blind tasting at the end of the class that they are able to correctly peg the aromas and flavors.
"It’s a surprising experience and its one that I like to see, because it adds to their confidence and it’s the reason why they come to the class," she said. "I also see when you approach wine in a fun and playful way, students are more receptive to learning. They get over that intimidation factor more quickly. The walls break down and it becomes a great learning experience."
The Fox School of Wine, located at the Silver Baron Lodge, 2880 Deer Valley Dr. East, holds classes Saturdays, starting Dec. 12, from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. Registration is $37 per person. Registration is available online by visiting http://www.foxschoolofwine.com .
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