Wine exchange is the Park City Wine Club’s white elephant party | ParkRecord.com

Wine exchange is the Park City Wine Club’s white elephant party

Creatively decorated wine bottles are an essential part of the Park City Wine Club's annual wine exchange party that will be held at Jeremy Ranch Clubhouse on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Pamela Wood)

Although the holiday season is over, there is still one traditional white elephant gift party coming up.

It’s the Park City Wine Club’s fourth annual wine exchange that will be held at the Jeremy Ranch Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 13.

The event will feature hearty soups — one will be cream-based and the other broth-based — salad and bread that will be paired with wines that wine club president Pamela Wood is in the process of selecting.

"The fun part is that people who attend the exchange elaborately decorate bottles of wine to give away," said Wood, a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine. (see accompanying story titled "Pamela Wood is now a Certified Specialist of Wine"). "I draw numbers that coincide with the guests and they can either pick a bottle of wine or steal another from someone who already picked a bottle."

Then the person who got their wine stolen, can pick a new bottle or steal from someone else.

"At the end of the night, some people will open their bottle for all to enjoy," Wood said. "Others take theirs home to enjoy afterwards."

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In addition to the fun and games, Wood will award first and second prizes for the "best dressed" bottle.

"You won’t believe the ideas that people come up with," she said. "I remember one year someone made a Cinderella dress, wrapped it in a fur coat and attached hair and crown on their bottle."

Another time, someone took a glue gun and made a case out of corks that covered the bottle, according to Wood.

"There was also one time where someone took a trailer-hitch in the shape of a mallard duck head and wrapped it in a bag and decorated with a camouflage tie and added some duck feet," she said. "It was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’"

RSVPs are required and can be made by visiting http://www.parkcitywineclub.com , and participants must be at least 21. Registration deadline is Monday, Jan. 11. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the cost is $30 and a bottle of wine.

"We ask that the bottles people bring will be equivalent to ones they would like to receive," she said. "We don’t want something that’s been lying on the top of their refrigerator that they just want to get rid of.

"We also ask that the bottle be between $15 and $25," Wood said. "We don’t want anyone going off the deep end or receive a $15 bottle when they brought in a $50 one."

Three days prior to the wine exchange, the Park City Wine Club will kick off it’s 2016 Winter Wine Series at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

The event, which also starts at 6 p.m., is titled "Judgment of Paris," in honor of the 40-year anniversary of the original French vs. U.S. blind wine tasting competition held in Paris that changed the world’s perception of California wines, Wood explained.

"A British wine merchant [Steven Spurrier], who only sold and drank French wines, came to the United States because he heard the buzz about the wines that were made in California," Wood said. "He decided to organize a blind taste test competition in Paris that pitted the U.S. wines against French wines."

The nine French judges selected Chateau Montelena for chardonnay and Stag’s Leap for cabernet, both U.S. wines.

"The French were in dismay," Wood said. "So, they repeated the competition in 1986 and the U.S. swept it again. Then they repeated it 30 years later with just the red wines of the same vintage (1973), and the U.S. still swept."

So, Wood thought it would be fun to use the first Winter Wine Series to commemorate the first judgment.

"We’re not using the same vintage, obviously, but we are using the same types of wines, a Chateau Montelena chardonnay to taste against a burgundian chardonnay, and we’ll use a Stag’s Leap cabernet to taste against a Left Bank Bordeaux," she said. "Patrons will pair the wines with food and get to be the judge. They’ll rate the wines and we’ll come up with an average and we’ll see who comes on top this year."

Adding to the flair, Ruth’s Chris will make escargot to go with the white wines and some osso buco ravioli to go with the reds, according to Wood.

Registration for the Winter Wine Series is also required and can also be done by visiting http://www.parkcitywineclub.com . The cost is $50 per person and participants must be at least 21.

"We host the Winter Wine Series tasting on the 10th of every month," Wood said. "So the next will be held Feb. 10."

Wood is proud of how these two events have grown in popularity.

"People constantly ask when the winter wine series will start up because they like the food and wine pairing at Ruth’s Chris, which has food that is second to none," she said. "And since the wine exchange has become a tradition, there is a following of people who attend every year, but only attend a few of our other events throughout the year."

For more information about the Park City Wine Club and to register for the Park City Wine Club’s Winter Wine Series and Wine Exchange, visit http://www.parkcitywineclub.com.