Wine is set to flow on Park City’s Main Street
David Hildreth was riding the PayDay Express at Park City Mountain Resort last winter when the idea struck him. He had spent the past three or four years brewing his own beer and making his own wine, and he began to wonder if he could turn what had become a passion into a business.
"I’ve seen how well other businesses in Utah have done starting their own manufacturing companies," he said. "And I thought, ‘What is Park City missing? It’s missing a winery right here in the middle of town.’ We’ve got a great distillery here with High West, and Wasatch (Brewery) started just up the road. So I started throwing around the idea of a winery."
The idea truly began to get legs in the spring, and he brought friends Stephen MacKay and Jason Morgan in on the venture. They rented out space at 890 Main Street and last month received a winery manufacturing license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The trio is putting the finishing touches on the space, and Old Town Cellars is set to open its doors right after the Sundance Film Festival. One of the primary draws will be a tasting bar, where patrons can sample different kinds of wine.
"It’s just kind of snowballed out of control in the best way possible," said MacKay, who co-owns the winery with Hildreth.
They plan to blend wine from other wineries for their initial offerings and will begin fermenting their own product this year, following the next grape harvest. Additionally, the winery has applied for a package agency license from the DABC in order to sell bottles for people to drink off-site. The winery anticipates receiving that approval Jan. 27.
MacKay is the one with the most wine expertise. A Park City native, he moved to New Zealand after college and studied under a master sommelier. He is now the director of wine and spirits at Stein Eriksen Lodge. He has traveled to many of the most well-known wine areas in the world and hopes to bring a sense of inclusion to Old Town Cellars that some of those places lack.
At Old Town Cellars, he said, everybody will be welcome to appreciate fine wine. Pretention and upturned noses will be non-existent.
"For us, we want to break down the walls of what wine is. It doesn’t have to be the traditional sense of wine," MacKay said. "Because at the end of the day, it’s just fermented grape juice, and it’s meant to bring people together."
Added Hildreth: "Our goal is to have a wine for everyone. And we want to provide it at a very reasonable price. We don’t want to price anyone out of being able to enjoy our wine."
If the winery proves to be a success — and the partners are confident it will — they may one day expand that philosophy beyond Park City’s borders. They envision the winery eventually becoming synonymous with ski towns throughout the country.
"I would love to see the brand expanding to a Ski Town USA type of thing," said Morgan, the winery’s operations director. "We want to offer a very beautiful product, but also deliver it in a very authentic, ski-town, stay-true-to-your-roots kind of way."
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