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If you’ve ever attended a food-and-wine festival like those held annually in Aspen or Sun Valley, you don’t need me to tell you how much fun they are. Wine festivals are an opportunity not only to sample wines from around the world, but also to pick the brains of the winemakers who make them.



Next week, from July 7-9, the inaugural Park City Food and Wine Classic will be held'and it promises to be classic, indeed. Among the events scheduled are a Grand Tasting, a variety of culinary and vineyard seminars, vintner’s dinners, reserve wine tastings, a Steel Chef competition, and auctions to benefit Park City’s performing arts organizations including The Park City Performing Arts Foundation, Egyptian Theatre Company and Park City Jazz Foundation.



The Park City Food and Wine Classic will be spread throughout Park City, with events being held at Deer Valley Resort, The Canyons Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and various private homes throughout Park City and Deer Valley. The best way to get a fix on the myriad events taking place is to go online at www.ParkCityFoodandWineClassic.com.



The Grand Tasting ($50) at The Canyons Resort on Saturday promises to be jam-packed, with attendees sampling more than 300 wines and food from some of Park City’s best restaurants. The Grand Tasting will also feature a Steel Chef competition pitting four Park City chefs (The Grand Summit Resort’s Houman Gohary, Robert Valaika from Shabu, Zane Holmquist of Stein Eriksen Lodge and Hapa Grill’s Chef Tosh) against each other in a culinary cook-off. There’s also a free concert at The Canyons after the event featuring Melvin Seals and The Jerry Garcia Band. Presumably, Jerry won’t be with them.



On Friday, Park City Mountain Resort will host a tasting of Pine Ridge reserve selections ($60) and The Canyons offers seminars on Argentine wines, Italian wines, and the hot wines of California ($25 per seminar). There’s also a cheese-and-wine- pairing seminar at The Canyons featuring Old World wines from France, Italy and Spain ($50).



On Thursday evening, get into Pinot and The Pointers as The Pointer Sisters perform at Deer Valley Resort and a private Pinot Noir tasting will be held on the Snow Lodge deck at Deer Valley. Tickets for the tasting are $60 with combo tickets (Pointer Sisters reserved seating and tasting) available for $110.



And every evening during the Park City Food and Wine Classic, dinners with winemakers will be held in private Park City homes and in restaurants. Again, for further information and winemaker dinner schedules and pricing check out the Website or call the Park City Performing Arts Foundation at 435-655-8252. And let’s hope this truly is an inaugural wine festival with more to follow!



Sips: There’s also plenty going on for wine lovers at Fleming’s as they present “Three All-American Nights of Discovery” on the last three Tuesdays in July. The series will feature five wines from family-owned California wineries paired with prize-winning artisanal cheeses ($20 per person reservations required). Also, Fleming’s recently announced the 2005 “Fleming’s 100,” its annual list of 100 wines by the glass. The new list features the best vintages from five continents including Nick Faldo Shiraz Coonawarra Australia 2001; Saint M Riesling Pfalz Germany 2003; Wattle Creek Sauvignon Blanc Mendocino 2003; Fritz Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley 2002; and Veranda Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Chile 2003. Fleming’s is located in the Gateway at 20 S. 400 West; for reservations and information, phone 355-3704.

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