Fox School of Wine’s weekend Wine classes are deemed ‘educational happy hours’ by some local residents
What: Fox School of Wine’s Weekend Wine Series
When: 6 p.m. every Friday from Dec. 13 through March 27
Where: Silver Baron Lodge, 2880 Deer Valley Drive East.
Cost: $34 per person
After 11 years, the Fox School of Wine will move its Weekend Wine Series from Saturday night to Friday night, starting Dec. 13.
The move of what some local residents call “educational happy hours” for ages 21 and older was a necessary adjustment to accommodate the Saturday afternoon Mines and Wines tours the school started in 2017, according to the school’s headmistress, Kirsten Fox.
“After we added Mines and Wines, we just felt too spread out, in terms of supplies, staffing and reservations,” Fox said. “So we decided to move the wine series to Friday and see how that will go for the students.”
Mines and Wines will begin its new season in January, but in the meantime, the Weekend Wine Series is ready to go, Fox said.
“The Wine Series format hasn’t changed,” she said. “It’s kind of like being at a wine tasting room in California, where we pour five small tastes in an hour and the class learns about the wine, via a theme that’s chosen for the weekend.”
The wines come from all over the world but can be purchased at state distributors, Fox said.
“The students will be invited to find something unique about the wines to help broaden their choices about the wines they choose for their next event dinner,” she said.
The class also ends with a blind tasting challenge, Fox said.
“That’s when we offer a duplicate taste of one of the wines we had already offered that night,” she said. “This helps keep the students focused. I found that the students pay more attention when you have a pop quiz, even if it’s wine.”
Still, the quiz doesn’t mean the class is like a sommelier certification course, Fox said with a laugh.
“It’s a rapid-fire, fun environment where people interact,” she said. “I have a formula the professors follow in terms of what type of information they should cover about each of the five wines.”
With that many wines showcased per class, Fox knows the professors can’t delve too deeply into a specific wine for very long.
“They can still share a story about the wine, the grape, the winery or maker,” she said. “The idea of the class is to give a memorable takeaway story from the bottle or label.”
The topics for each week, such as this Friday’s “Pinot Noir: Slip Into Something Sexy,” is chosen by the professors, Fox said.
“I send an open schedule to the professors, and they will sign up with the dates they want and the preferred topics they want to teach,” she said. “In a rare situation where we’ll have more than one professor propose the same topic, I will look to see which professor posted their request first.”
Having multiple professors at each class is important for Fox.
“This allows students to learn from a variety of people, which makes for a more rounded, enriched and fulfilling educational experience,” she said.
Fox also loves it when her professors choose timely topics, such as Jan. 31’s Wine for the Silver Screen, which coincides with the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals.
“During this class, we encourage students to bring their sunglasses and feature boas to get into the spirit of things,” Fox said laughing.
The classes continue to be held at Deer Valley’s Silver Baron Lodge.
“They have been such great partners for the past 11 years we’ve been open,” Fox said.
“We have a nice second-story room that overlooks the pool area.”
The classes cap at 22 students and sell out regularly, so the best thing to do is visit foxschoolofwine.com to see which classes still have openings, according to Fox.
“You can register up until 5 p.m. the night of the class,” she said. “That gives us time to make sure we have enough wine and seats.”
Fox said she is grateful to be able to continue offering the Weekend Wine Series throughout the years.
“I am very privileged that I have a educational-use permit from the DABC that gives me the opportunity to help people understand the world of wine through that permit,” she said. “It’s nice to have been around enough that people recognize the name of the business and my face, so when they run into me at the liquor store, they ask me to help them pick out a bottle of wine for their friend’s birthday. It’s great to be part of the community that I love so much.”
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