Wine makes so many connections,” says Kirsten Fox, sommelier and self-designated headmistress of Fox School of Wine. “Wine allows us to connect to the region where it’s grown. To the winemakers and their history,” which are both subjects that Fox enthusiastically espouses when speaking about the rich, dynamic, and yes, delicious, topic of wine.
Case in point: one of Fox’s favorite wines comes with an equally great backstory. The Gloria Ferrer estate in Carneros, California was the first sparkling wine producer in Carneros starting in the ’80s, but the Ferrer history extends back to the family’s Spanish winemaking origins in the 16th century.
“This is a true celebratory bubbly, made for the king and queen of Spain,” describes Fox, while raising a flute of Gloria Ferrer ‘09 Royal Cuvée to kick off her popular Mines & Wines Tour.
During the round-trip, three-hour chauffeured adventure, Fox matches six delightful sips with informative site visits like the 20-year-old Portuguese Tawny Port sipped in sly solidarity with the historic red light district’s madam. And yes, by stop six, most of us were wearing feather boas along with Fox, taking group selfies, and adding our own loquacious commentary.
Although Fox’s Mines & Wines Tour is arguably the most visible representation of her entrepreneurial spirit, she’s a woman with a lot of irons in the proverbial fire. In the 13 years since she started teaching wine classes for her sister’s wine shop (remember Art of Wine near the Snowcreek liquor store?), Fox has built her career around wine education.
“I started thinking about wine all day long. I wanted to know more and I wanted to share,” says Fox of her early obsession with the topic that’s never abated. Under the Fox umbrella are ventures as varied as her online wine education platform The SAVVY Wine Shopper, a one-hour weekend wine series, cellar analysis and sommelier services, and the wildly popular “Twisted Cork Radio” podcast she co-hosts with Salt Lake City-based sommelier and educator James Santangelo.
Building a business in Park City was a natural fit, says Fox. “Our lifestyle here in the mountains is all about doing what we love and making that work-life balance happen so we can be here.” And, she says, Park City loves wine. “People here are very knowledgeable and interested in expanding their palate by trying new wines, but they’re not overly intellectual about it.”
Summing it up with a big smile, Fox says, “We like to have fun. A glass of wine makes it even better.”