Park City Wine Club’s ‘Flights and Bites’ virtually visits New Zealand |

Park City Wine Club’s ‘Flights and Bites’ virtually visits New Zealand

Park City Wine Club's upcoming "Flights and Bites" tasting theme will be the wines of New Zealand. The event will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
Photo by Pamela Wood

Park City Wine Club will host its monthly “Flights and Bites” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, 2001 Park Ave. It will also partner with the Salt Lake Culinary Center for “Shape of Things to Come” on Friday, April 20. Both events are for ages 21 and older. Reservations are required. The cost for “Flights and Bites” is $55. To register, visit, and do so by Monday, April 16. Reservations for “Shape of Things to Come” is $85. They can be made by visiting

Park City Wine Club President Pamela Wood wants to take guests on a trip to the other side of the world with this month’s “Flights and Bites.”

Although the tasting is set to be held Tuesday at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Park City, participants will sip wines from New Zealand’s North and South Islands, said Wood, a certified sommelier.

“I was so happy to know that wines from both islands are available for purchase in Utah,” Wood said. “It is exciting to be able to offer these wines.”

New Zealand wines are unique because of the island nation’s location in the south Pacific.

“Because thecountry is composed of islands, the ocean influence or maritime climate is always present,”Pamela WoodPark City Wine Clubpresident

“Because the country is composed of islands, the ocean influence or maritime climate is always present,” Wood explained. “The closest vines to the ocean are only eight miles and no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean, and that carries not only a little different climate — fog, cold, wind — in the way the wines are produced and grown, but it also leads to how soon or how late the grapes ripen.”

There is also salinity that is not only found in the ocean air, but also in the soil.

“All of these things play a part in the development of those plump little grapes before they are squeezed and put into the bottle,” Wood said.

In addition, there are differences between wines from the North Island, known in Maori as Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, also called Te Waipounamu.

“Most of the vines on the North Island are grown at its most southern point in Aukland,” Wood explained. “However, Central Otago (on the South Island), which houses the southernmostvineyards in the world, is a really nice Pinot area. That is where, based on the International Date Line, the sun rises first on any given day.”

There are 11 wine regions in total between the two islands.

“New Zealand’s primary wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir,” Wood said. “The country does, however, also produce Chardonnay, Merlot and a small amount of varietals including Cabernet.”

Wood selected New Zealand wines because of a suggestion during last month’s tasting.

“I told them I had a date, but not the topic, and someone suggested we do New Zealand,” she said. “I, of course, had to look at Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) to find what is available, so we can have a quality tasting, and I was thrilled that we were able to do this one.”

“Flights and Bites” participants will learn about the wines, and also pair them with dishes prepared by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Executive Chef Gregory Dills.

The night’s menu features chopped salad, veal ossobuco, and sizzling filet medallions, Wood said.

“Once I decide on the wines, I work with the general manager or food manager and give them a topic, and they have a pretty good idea of what to serve, because they also have an extensive wine list as well,” she said.

Ruth’s Chris and the Park City Wine Club began its collaboration in 2012.

“This was where we did our ribbon-cutting when I first started the club,” Wood said. “Ruth’s Chris has always been a great place for us. They serve the local community.”

• “Flights and Bites” is one of two events that are part of the Park City Wine Club’s “Wine Down” week, Wood said.

The second is titled “Shape of Things to Come” that will be held on Friday, April 20, at the Salt Lake Culinary Center in Salt Lake City.

“The guests that sign up for that will taste four wines in four different glasses, and we will cover the science behind why the glass matters,” Wood said. explained. “Participants will get to take home three German crystal wine glasses so they can repeat experience at home or whenever they want to.”

The event will feature prepared cheeses by Darcy Swedish, cheesemonger for The Market Park City.

“This will be a great and fun experience for all,” Wood said.

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