Epicureans and wine connoisseurs of varying degrees will have an extra day and five more events' worth of indulgence at this year's Park City Food & Wine Classic.
Now in its ninth year, the festival opens Wednesday night instead of the usual Thursday start with a five-course "Farm-to-Barn" dinner at the Blue Sky Ranch that benefits the People's Health Clinic in Park City.
The festival is essentially what it sounds like. Winemakers, sommeliers and chefs treat attendants to 25 events ranging from rustic to ritzy. Some events incorporate outdoor activities such as mountain and road biking, stand-up paddleboarding and hiking, and a concerted effort is made to offer something new each year.
"The cuisine is always different, the wine is always different, the routes are always different," said executive director Jason Ornstein of Team Player Productions. "Everything changes."
Ornstein's Denver-based Team Player Productions manages highbrow festivals, including the Steamboat Wine Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Some partners at that festival tipped Team Player to the dearth of such events in Park City, and an investigation confirmed that demand was high. Nine years later, it's still growing.
"It's so well-received," Ornstein said. "Most of the events are either sold out or on the verge of selling out."
"The Chamber [of Commerce] and everybody in Park City have been really supportive," Ornstein said, noting that a survey last year showed more than 70 percent of guests coming from out of town. "It highlights the things about Park City that they want to highlight."
Park City Chamber of Commerce Communications Manager Amy Kersey agreed. "It's a really great way to show Park City in a culinary light," she said. "We're really ahead of the curve when it comes to the culinary scene."
Ornstein said some events still have tickets available to latecomers, and not to worry if you're a wine-drinking novice: Each event includes an educational portion.
The five-day festival wraps up Sunday, with ticket prices ranging from $55 to $195. For more details on the events and to buy tickets, go to www.parkcityfoodandwineclassic.com. A new app that will help connect attendees to events at the festival is also available at the site.