Silver Star Café wines honor the local community
Silver Star Café owners Jeff and Lisa Cliva Ward love the Park City community.
"When we started this business more than six years ago, it has always been the community that supported us," Lisa Ward said during a joint interview with The Park Record. "They always come around during the slow season and have given us an opportunity to create a gathering place for people to be together and interact with one another in a comfortable setting."
So, when their general manager Jeff LaBounty told them about an idea to create new Silver Star Café private label wines, the couple knew they wanted to keep the project as local as they could.
"We thought it through and decided if we wanted to proceed, it would not just benefit us, but it would have to benefit the community in some way," Ward said.
The first thing they thought of was the labeling.
"We wanted to invite a local artist to design a label for us and from there we decided to keep everything local," Ward said.
The Wards contacted an old friend, visual artist Stacy Phillips.
"I’ve known Lisa and Jeff for 30 years, but I hadn’t seen them for a long time, although I knew they were doing some great things with the Silver Star Café," Phillips told The Park Record. "Four months ago, Lisa called me out of the blue and told me what they were working on and asked if I would be interested in helping them. And I immediately said yes."
Although based in Salt Lake City, Phillips has strong ties to Park City. Having lived in town for 27 years, before moving to the Salt Lake Valley four years ago, she opened the Flat Rabbet Art Gallery Main Street in 1987, and has been represented by the Trove Gallery for the past 15.
The Wards and LaBounty paid a visit to Phillips and snooped around her studio.
"I was getting ready to do a show in Boise, and I had some paintings that I had just completed," Phillips said.
Two acrylic and mixed media works were selected for the labels.
"I think the reason they responded to the pieces so well was because the colors are organic and the tones and textures are simpatico for what they are doing at the Silver Star Café," Phillips said.
Once the Wards selected the paintings, they hired Austin Diamond, a Salt Lake-based photographer, to photograph the paintings and then asked Park City-based graphic designer Dave Napiwocki to design the labels using the photographs.
"We sent the labels to the winemaker and went from there," Ward said.
The wines are from the IG Winery in Cedar City, and, once again, LaBounty was the one who came up with that idea.
"He had an idea to do private-label wines prior to his coming and working with us at the Silver Star Café, but he couldn’t get the idea off the ground," Ward said. "So he was excited to get this project going with us."
LaBounty connected the Wards with IG Winery owner Doug McCombs.
The winery makes world-class wines sourced from vineyards located in Napa, Sonoma, Sierra Foothills and the Willamette and Rogue Valleys.
"It all came back to how can we make this a local as possible," Jeff Ward said. "There are just a few options of wines that are produced in state and we decided to go with IG. It was the local connection we were looking for."
The wines the Wards and LaBounty selected were ones that IG had been producing for some time, according to Ward.
The first is a 2014 Dry Riesling, which is a blend of 90 percent Dry Riesling and 10 percent Chardonnay. The wine is crisp and dry, with flavors of grapefruit, lemon, apricot, granny smith apple, and a hint of eucalyptus.
The second wine is a 2005 Tempranillo, which is made from 100 percent Tempranillo grapes grown in Paso Robles, California. The wine has a rich burgundy color, with flavors of butter and dark cherry, raspberry, black currant, cassis, mint and graphite, with a touch of leather and oak and cedar.
Both wines have received gold and silver medals from various competitions, including the San Diego International Wine Competition, Sunset International Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, Grand Harvest Wine Competition, American Wine Society Competition, and the Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, where the Tempranillo won a silver medal in a competition of nearly 900 wines from six countries.
The final element the Wards wanted to acchieve with the Silver Star Café wines was to benefit a local nonprofit.
The Wards selected Arts-Kids, a Park City-based organization directed by Jenny Krompel, that uses art to teach positive life skills and creativity, and fosters confidence and self esteem, for children and youth who are facing adversity.
"We selected Arts-Kids because they are doing such amazing work with young people up into their teen years," Lisa Ward said. "They work with kids who are dealing with adversity of some kind, including self-esteem issues, anxiety, grieving or other personal issues.
Silver Star Café has set a goal of sponsoring five youths in the coming year, Ward said.
"A portion of the profit from every bottle of the wine sold to Silver Star Café’s dining guests will be donated to Arts-Kids, which gives our guests an opportunity to support that organization," Ward said. "Unfortunately, our liquor license won’t allow us to sell bottles that are unopened. We can only sell wine to our guests who are dining in our restaurant. So, we did work with Doug to come up with a way for people to purchase bottles through him legally and still benefit Arts-Kids."
Phillips is thrilled that she is part of this project.
"I think Arts-Kids has a fine program and I would love to be involved with them someway after the winter season wraps up," she said.
Jeff Ward likes the way everything came together.
"It was all organic," he said. "We love being in Park City and our business is kind of the reflection of who we are and part of that is being connected with the community."
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