Before I worked in the ski industry, I got my feet wet in the wine world while working at small wine shops in Boulder, Colorado. I immersed myself in learning about different grape varietals, aging methods, growing techniques and of course, the requisite tasting of fun and funky bottles. After moving to Utah and doing some research to get my wine fix in my new home state, I found there were hidden wine connoisseurs at wine bars around the state—happy to share their favorite bottles they’d worked every nook and cranny of state legislation to bring to their lists.
So, without further ado, here are a few great places for glasses of wine to celebrate après-ski (or après-anything, really) around Salt Lake City and Park City.
Ask about a wine bar in Salt Lake, and the first place a resident will point you toward is BTG Wine Bar. And they’re not wrong. Step into the dark-wooded restaurant with wine glass chandeliers to taste wine by the glass (BTG = By The Glass), in wine flights or order in full bottles. Whether you want to taste a rare vintage Rioja or just sip on an easy Cava, you’re in luck—there’s something for everyone here. The sommelier, Louis Koppel, is often on the floor and can help you make any and all selections. Plus, the food hails from the delicious Caffe Molise, which means you could stick to a classic charcuterie board, or send it into a full Italian meal while sipping.
I’ve written about Old Town Cellars before, but I can’t write a wine bar piece without calling out this charming little spot in Old Town Park City. Walk down a short set of stairs, and you’ll be transported from the bustling Main Street into a gorgeous basement wine cellar we all wish was in our home. OTC blends all their own wine with grapes purchased from locations around the world, and the bottles are good. Try the classic Townie Rose when visiting Park City this summer, or get more adventurous and taste some of their small batch wines like their Perpetual Reserve Pinot Noir or Elusive Chardonnay. Plus, these guys are big skiers—their tag line is “the official wine of après”—so know you’re supporting local AND the ski industry at the same time.
Pago doesn’t classify itself as a wine bar, but it has one of the best wine lists I’ve seen in the state. Plus there’s a bar you can sit at, so it counts in my mind. The spot has even scored awards for it, being named as one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in 2019 from Wine Enthusiast. Most of the wines are biodynamic or sustainable, and they all pair perfectly with their incredible farm-to-table food. Ask the sommelier what to order here, and be sure to try something you’ve never heard of. You won’t be disappointed.
Italian wine is delicious across the board, and the price is generally quite a bit lower than a wine of a similar quality from the U.S. Usually drink a Pinot Noir? Try a Barbera. Generally stray toward a Pinot Grigio? Taste a Gavi. Stanza has all of this and more. Part wine bar and part Italian bistro, their extensive wine list pairs perfectly with their Cannelloni Al Fungi (ricotta, black trumpet and oyster mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts, Duroc bacon, black garlic breadcrumbs, sunchokes, white truffle-fontina cream sauce) or now that we’re cruising towards summer, the Linguine All’Aragosta e Garberetto (lobster, gulf shrimp, baby heirloom tomato, white wine butter, herb oil, red pepper flakes).
I know, I know, this place isn’t necessarily a “wine bar” either, but it certainly has a bar and their wine list is cool and full of weird options, so I dig it. With a super creative list of bottles and glasses from all over the world, you won’t be bored tasting through all the different options. Each bottle is also made to pair with seafood, so you won’t go wrong with drinking a glass of Slovenian orange wine while you suck down an oyster.
Pro tip: Current launched an IGTV series called Sunday Somm, where Current’s sommelier walks followers through different wines and how he’s chosen them for their menu. Take a look!
Part tea shop, part wine bar? Weird combination, sure—but it works. Start with a steaming cup of chai, but as the time ticks on, switch to a glass of Forlorn Hope’s Queen of the Sierra, one of my favorite light, bright organic red wines from California. It makes for the perfect easy drinker on a sunny afternoon after a bike ride or a ski tour. Tea Zaanti’s cultivated wine selection is small, but every bottle is intentionally selected and isn’t something you would normally snag while at the liquor store, so be adventurous. All are served by the bottle or can, which means they can keep prices reasonable, and if you can’t finish while at the café, they’re happy to re-cork it and let you take the bottle home.
I know beer is usually the après beverage of choice, but this is my plea to throw wine in your rotation as well. Turns out, a chilled Godello or a big-ass Zinfindel can also be the perfect pairing to a day outside. Let me know if I missed any of your favorite spots—or if you try any of these gems!
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