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Event set to offer a taste of the good life

MATT JAMES Of the Record staff
The Park City Culinary, Wine and Ski Classic will run Feb. 2-5. Image courtesy of the Underdog Foundation.
2Wine-Fest

Last February, the Park City Culinary Wine and Ski Classic became Park City’s first wine event. Featuring a variety of wine makers vintners organized by Blind Dog Restaurant owners Penny Lehman-Kinsey, Derrick Kinsey and Chappie Lehman and benefiting the National Ability Center, the event brought a variety of wine lovers to town.

This year, after another completely separate summer wine event, the Park City Food and Wine Classic, the Culinary Wine and Ski Classic returns for its second year with a full lineup of vinters, dinners, parties and events.

"What’s different is this year we have 16 benefactors instead of one," said Lehman-Kinsey.

Now organized by The Underdog Foundation, a new nonprofit founded by Lehman-Kinsey, Kinsey and Lehman, the event will benefit a whole group of local nonprofit organizations almost all of which are based in Park City and the Summit County area.

"We are trying to raise this money for the community," emphasized Lehman-Kinsey.

With volunteers from many of the 16 organizations that will benefit from the event, the Culinary, Wine and Ski Classic is a community happening in and of itself.

"It brings all parts of the community together," said Lehman-Kinsey.

And at the same time, the group is trying to create a regular event that will become known on a national level, creating another winter tourist attraction in Park City.

"We really do want, in three to five years, this to be a destination event," said Erin McDonough, the director of development at The Underdog Foundation. "The impact this can make in this community can truly be felt in a broad sense."

For the weekend, 35 vintners will bring more than 200 wines to the Wine and Ski Classic. While the event offered a free community night on Tuesday evening, the main push will begin with Thursday evening’s Grape Kickoff Soiree, which will be held at The Chateaux at Silver Lake from 7-10 p.m.

McDonough said the event would be similar to last year’s kickoff soiree, but not completely so.

"The difference is, this year, our focus is on the wines," she said.

The event will feature the widest variety of wine and food pairings available for the weekend and will include tables from almost all of the vintners involved with the event, along with food and live music from Treat Williams’ band. The highlight, though, according to McDonough, will be the chance to sample almost 100 different wines and talk to the vintners.

With its openness, she said the event has something to offer for all sorts of food and wine lovers.

"This is just a great event with wine, whether someone is a novice or a connoisseur," she said. "We just really want you to come and have a good time and come away having learned something about wine."

On Friday, during the day, the Wine and Ski Classic will stay true to its name and offer a chance to ski with a vintner at Deer Valley Resort. The event will run from 12:30-3 p.m. and feature select vintners (who are also experienced skiers) skiing with small groups.

The day will conclude with 19 small vintner dinners, which will be held at local residences and offer a chance to dine on food prepared by a chef to match the food of a specific vintner, who will join the guests for the meal, along with his or her wines.

The dinners are made to seat between 12 and 16, in most cases.

"They’re really pretty special events," said McDonough. " It’s pretty rare when you can get that face-to-face time with chefs and vintners."

The events are arranged into three different price levels at $1,000, $650 and $350 per person. McDonough noted that the spaces there would go fast.

"When they start filling up, they fill up very quickly," she said.

On Saturday at 6 p.m., the Wine and Ski Classic will continue with a black-tie Masquerade Ball and Auction at Stein Eriksen Lodge at 6 p.m.

"The theme," said Lehman-Kinsey, "is Mardi Gras."

The evening will include a cocktail hour, plus a five-course meal prepared by Stein Eriksen Lodge executive chef Zane Holmquist and live music from the Small House Quartet.

Among the auction items, according to McDonough, are tickets to Las Vegas, complete with an Elton John concert, 10 different wine-related trips to California, a party with FLY Freestyle and a firemen-themed birthday party for up to 15 kids.

"We’ve got some really fun items," she said.

She said the dinner would include wine pairings and wine would be poured throughout the event, and guests are encouraged to wear creative masks.

The next morning at 11 a.m. the Hair of the Dog Brunch will conclude the Wine and Ski Classic at Blind Dog Restaurant and Sushi Bar, with morning cocktails and a meal prepared by Lehman-Kinsey, who, in addition to serving as the executive director of the Underdog Foundation, is also the executive chef at the Blind Dog.

Overall, McDonough said that while the event was created to raise money for its 16 benefactors, the focus for the weekend will be on celebration.

"What we want people to have a sense of is that they get to eat and have fun and help out," she said. "To highlight who [the benefactors] are and what they’re doing, we have Tuesday."

So participants can expect a good time as they help the community. But, noted Lehman-Kinsey; the weekend shouldn’t be like anything else Park City has to offer.

"I want to make sure, this event doesn’t blend in with the others," she said. "I want it to stand out."

"We’re really excited," said McDonough.

For more information about the Park City Culinary Wine and Ski Classic, or to purchase tickets, call 615-7900 or visit http://www.parkcitywineclassic.com.


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