Sometimes, expertise in one industry and a side interest in another artfully blend to create something totally new and unexpected. This is how Kirsten Henry Fox’s career transitioned from working in group sales for Deer Valley Resort and as director of sales (DOS) for RMC in Park City, Utah, to launching Fox School of Wine and the Culinary Wine Institute.
After being raised in La Jolla, California, and graduating from Vanderbilt University, Fox eventually landed in Park City, where she grew up skiing and has lived since 1995. Her sister, Sara, opened Art of Wine locally in 2004, and Fox helped lead wine-tasting classes. She found herself without a venue to taste and teach when Sara moved to Napa Valley in 2008, so she opened Fox School of Wine later that year and began achieving various certifications, including Certified Executive Sommelier in 2014.
“It’s funny when you get to this age, look at your life and see the threads that create a fabric that is your own individual signature. I didn’t see this coming! When you are DOS at a destination management company looking for things to do in the afternoons with groups other than athletics, you almost trip into it!” she says.
Fox School of Wine is set up with the goal of being “a fun activity company with a side of wine education,” explains Fox. “We are the opposite of stuffy.” Groups can choose from activities like a Sommelier Smackdown and Wines of the World reception to a Bordeaux Blender teambuilder that involves creating a wine blend, bottle label and one-minute video ad.
When Fox was “knee deep” in selling wine for Southern Wine & Spirits and running the school, breast cancer appeared on her landscape in 2011. While in treatment, she noticed the hospital’s beautiful library and challenged herself to write a book there as a means of focusing on something bigger and more positive than the treatment that had brought her there. She wrote the rough draft for “The Profitable Wine List: Three Steps to Easily and Quickly Increase Wine Sales” by the end of her treatment. The following year, Fox published the book and started the Culinary Wine Institute to help restaurant servers gain wine knowledge through online training, testing and certification.
It’s unlikely that Fox will rest on her laurels anytime soon. Find out more about one of her latest creations, the Mines & Wines tour, on page 14.