Keeping the palate trained
Wine education, like music or academics, can be forgotten if not maintained over time.
Kirsten Fox, headmistress of the Fox School of Wine, not only offers weekend wine series classes Fridays and Saturdays at the Silver Baron Lodge at Deer Valley, but has developed two new study programs to help her students retain what they have learned and expand on their education.
The programs include a home-school wine-tasting and testing kit and a new pre-concert class held at Canyons Resort.
"We want to take care of our students and don’t want them to fall down on their studies," Fox said with a laugh during an interview with The Park Record. "These programs are part of our No Student Left Behind policy."
Joking aside, Fox takes her wine education and instruction seriously.
"We want people to understand that there are great wines out there that cost less than $30 a bottle," she said. "There is a misconception that wines need to be expensive to be good, but that isn’t the case and these programs will help people get familiar with these wines."
The "Learn on the Lawn (LOL)" kits can be ordered online at http://www.foxschoolofwine.com or by calling (435) 655-WINE.
The kits teach five different subjects Light and Easy Reds, Wines of Australia, The Many Faces of Chardonnay, Wine Paring 101 and Beautiful Blends: Great Wines with Food, Fox explained.
"People can order the kit that contains the topic they want to study," she said.
The packets come with a lesson plan that includes brochures and a copy of the Wine Aroma Wheel, a chart used by wine schools throughout the country that explains why wines taste and smell the way they do, Fox said.
"Unfortunately, the kits don’t include the wine, because that’s not allowed in Utah," she said with a laugh. "But people may go buy wines at local wine stores."
The brochure includes general information about wines and what types are made in the different regions of the world, Fox said.
"I’ve included QR codes on the brochures that allow the students to open a link with videos of me giving overviews about the classes that are contained in the kits," she said. "The video helps set the tone and also contains information about three wines the students will learn about that pertain to the certain topic they chose."
There is a grid on the back of the brochure where students can quiz themselves regarding the wine aromas and tastes before comparing their notes with a provided list of winemakers’ comments that is included in a folder.
"The kit also includes additional grids for people who want to hold their own wine-tasting classes," Fox said. "Students can see how close their answers match what the winemakers say, and then register their kits online and compare their scores to other wine-tasting students’ scores around the country."
One of the advantages of having a home-school wine-tasting kit is that its portable.
"You can take the kits anywhere wine is allowed, including various outdoor concerts and other activities," Fox said. "I had originally wanted to hold classes at the various concerts in town, but a lot of my professors live in Salt Lake and it was asking a lot for them to drive up here for a half-hour class.
"I started thinking how I could duplicate my wine education ability in terms of teaching, so that’s when I came up with the idea of these LOL kits.
"This way, people can conduct the classes as many times as they would like with as many people as they would like," she said. "Once they finish with one and store the information away, they can order a new kit that will feature three more different wines and so on."
The pre-concert classes that are held at Canyons resort before the free summer concerts are private sessions that require registration, Fox said.
There will be seven sessions that will begin with the George T. Gregory Band show on July 13 and end with the Wood Brothers concert on Sept. 1.
The other dates are Fox Street All-Stars on July 14, the Tea Leaf Green on July 28, Patwa Reggae Band on Aug. 24, Dumpstaphunk on Aug. 31 and Mullet Hatchet on Aug. 31.
"Before each show, one of our professors will bring three wines and meet the wine-tasting students at a designated location at the concerts and hold a class on a picnic blanket," Fox said. "These sessions will run for about 30 minutes and end just before the concert begins.
"We have a limited availability in terms of our professors, so, people need to check online or call us to see if a professor is available on the concert date they wish," she said. "They can choose from these categories Perfect Summer Wines, Great Wines with Cheese and Wines for a Summer Barbecue. They can also choose to custom-make a category that will cost a little more."
As with the wines featured in the LOL kits, the wines that are sampled during the pre-concert sessions are available in Utah and cost $30 or less.
"In fact, the manager at the liquor store in at the Snow Creek Plaza is briefing his staff about the LOL kits," Fox said. "So, when people go in to buy the wines, the staff will know what to look for."
For more information about the Fox School of Wine, the LOL kits and the pre-concert wine tasting sessions, visit http://www.foxschoolofwine.com or call (435) 655-WINE.
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