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The Art of Wine becomes classroom of the vine

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

Starting Friday, The Art of Wine will begin conducting hourly wine classes at it’s store every day from 4-7 p.m.

Owner Sara Henry said classes will last 45 minutes and will cost $15 per class.

Already one of the premier stores for wine and cigar accessories in Park City, Henry said the addition of the classes, along with the opening of the new state liquor store in the same shopping center, will create a new excitement and awareness about wine.

"I wanted to bring a little bit of the wine country to Park City," she said. "I knew I wanted to carry accessories because I always had trouble finding gifts for people who love wine and spirits. Then I added the concept of cigars, which, to me, goes very well with wine and spirits. Then, finally, I came up with the idea of having wine classes to teach the public about the joys of wine."

She said she saw a tremendous response to the store when it first opened in August of 2004, but that the excitement about the classes has been unparalleled. She said her store has evolved thanks to great community support for the store.

"Since opening the store has evolved to include other items that relate to wine, such as the cheeses, the breads and now going to hourly nightly classes," she said. "The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been very helpful, even though this is the first exception to the rule that they’ve made. They have, however, imposed some funky little rules that I have to follow."

Most of those rules have to do with the appearance of the classes. Because The Art of Wine is not a licensed liquor store or bar, Henry cannot sell alcohol, but, because of an education permit, she can teach about it.

Some of the rules include not using the words "tasting" or "sampling" when referring to the classes and not calling the counter a "bar." She also has to have the classroom area partitioned off during the classes, which will amount to Henry placing a coat rack in front of the counter with a sign that says "Class in session."

"The appearance must be on education," she said. "But I call them classes because that’s what they are; it’s not about walking in and having a glass a wine, it’s walking in, taking a class and learning."

Another rule is that no one will be allowed to enter a class once it has begun. All participants must be registered by the time the class starts.

She previously ran two-hour classes once the store had closed, but Henry said she found people lost focus after about 45 minutes. He goal with the new classes is to teach about the same number of wines, but in less detail and more efficiency.

Students will stand at the counter for the lessons as five different wines from a similar region are taught. Each student will be able to try one ounce of each wine, amounting to what Henry called a "nice sized wine glass of five great wines."

"I wanted the feel to be similar to a winery," she said. "I want people to be able to talk and mingle. During the week it will all be the same wines; the wines will change each weekend."

Each week will feature a different theme, usually a wine region. The first week of classes will focus on Napa Valley wines before Henry switches to Australian and then Spanish wines.

Each class will go over two white and three red wines for the selected region.

"In our experience we found people are drinking more reds than they are whites, but we wanted both red and white so we can keep everyone happy," she said.

The wines will all come from the new state liquor store, which plans to open either Friday or Monday.

The Art of Wine carries everything from decanters to flasks, corkscrews to spoons, shakers to humidors, gourmet cheeses to fine cigars. Henry said the breads, oils, cheeses and other foods will be a part of the classes as they teach about tasting protocol and how to enjoy wines. Other categories of discussion will include purchasing wine, wine history, how wine is made, preparing, storing and serving wine.

Those interested in classes can either make a reservation in advance, which requires full, non-refundable payment, or come in and register for a class before it has started.

The Art of Wine is located at 1400 Snow Creek Drive in the Snow Creek Shopping Center by the new liquor store and will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. as of Dec. 8. The store can be reached by calling (435) 655-WINE.


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