Park City Wine Club kicks off the season |

Park City Wine Club kicks off the season

Scott Iwasaki

Winter is a special and romantic season and can be the perfect time to learn about cheeses and wines.

That’s why the Park City Wine Club wants to kick off winter with its annual Wine, Cheese and Change that will be held at St. Regis Deer Valley on Nov. 20, said Certified Sommelier Pamela Wood, president of the Park City Wine Club.

The event, which will feature an array of wine and cheese pairings, is also a fundraiser for Quarters for Change, a program established by KSL TV that uses the money to buy shoes for children.

"This is when the local community gets together and socializes," Wood said during an interview with The Park Record. "You arrive at St. Regis and take the funicular up, which sets the mood, and then you proceed into the wine vault and are led outside on the terrace where we’ll have a fire going."

The evening will start with a sparkling sabering.

"An employee will give a short presentation about the tradition of opening a bottle of sparkly with a saber and then he’ll do it," Wood said. "Then we’ll raise a toast to the winter season."

After the toast, the group will re-enter the wine vault, where they will find plates of cheeses and bottles of wines that can be purchased in Utah.

"We’ll spend the rest of the evening tasting and talking about the wine and cheese," Wood said.

Darcy Swedish-McKay, the cheesemonger from The Market Park City, will discuss the cheeses for the event, and Wood will talk about the wines.

"Darcy is amazing," Wood said. "We work together to figure out what we’re going to offer because we have a theme each year."

This year is English Holiday Traditions.

"Since the event happens before Thanksgiving, we decided to look at some traditions that came over with the Pilgrims," Wood said. "We will present some English cheeses and I know Darcy has a whole selection."

At the time when the Pilgrims came to the new land, England didn’t produce wine, according to Wood.

"So, we are going to present wines from France," she said.

The Park City Wine Club has presented the Wine, Cheese and Change for four years, according to Wood.

"We expected 40 people at our first event and we ended up with 63," she said. "We had to improvise and utilized an overflow room. So, we would teach about cheese in one room and then in the other teach about wine and then switch rooms."

The event has also been good for St. Regis.

"It’s been great from the beginning because St. Regis Deer Valley wants locals to come see what they have to offer," Wood said. "I think it engages the community to want to be part of what’s going on with the holidays coming up."

Alongside the rise in popularity of Wine, Cheese and Change, the Park City Wine Club itself has enjoyed a steady growth.

"The first year we were in existence, I wanted to get 90 members in 90 days and had a business plan," Wood said. "The thing was, I recruited 90 members in 30 days and the business plan went right out the window."

The club then grew to 300 members within four months.

"So, there was a lot of improvising in how to handle the growth and keep the events fresh," Wood said. "That’s still a struggle, because you can only repeat so many things for so many times."

Throughout the past four years, Wood has experienced a handful of disappointments.

"You try to put something together, but something happens and you don’t get the involvement you were hoping for and you have to cancel," she said. "However, those things become a learning experience, because you find ways to make things work by either holding the even at a different time of year or to work with other organizations in the community and hold a joint venture."

Those joint ventures have introduced Wood to some of her strongest supporters.

"We do things with the Swaner EcoCenter, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has come on as wine club sponsor," she said. "We do events there every month and they get to showcase their food and their wines that they have in restaurant."

Wine, Cheese and Change not only continues the Park City Wine Club’s relationship with St. Regis Deer Valley, but also strengthens its bond with the local community.

"Residents enjoy it and they want it to continue," Wood said. "Obviously, we don’t offer the same cheeses and the same wine, but it’s an event that the community supports. It’s an elegant, fun evening of socializing, learning and enjoying."

The Park City Wine Club will present Wine, Cheese and Change at St. Regis Deer Valley on Friday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m. The cost is $40 for Park City Wine Club members and $50 for guests. Reservations can be made by visiting All participants must be 21 or older.

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