24hrs with a Local

24hrs with a Local: Sun Valley Wine Company’s Dexter & Crystal McKenzie, September

Covid and quarantine brought many new people to town, who perhaps came just to hunker down for a few weeks or months but then couldn’t imagine living elsewhere. This was the case for Dexter and Crystal McKenzie, new owners of the Wine Co. along with Crystal’s parents Gayle and Jim Phillips. Gayle and Jim have been homeowners in Ketchum for 33 years, hosting the family each Christmas for a little skiing and vacay away from Dexter and Crystal’s home in Olympia, Washington.

Like every other year, the couple came to visit the Phillips in Ketchum for Christmas of 2020 to ski, but two weeks turned into four months turned into “let’s put our house on the market and move to Ketchum,” in the words of Dexter. The couple has been running an online women’s boutique and decided to look for a new opportunity in Ketchum; Gayle and Jim were retired, but were also ready for a bit of adventure.

After seeing a description of a 27-year-old Ketchum business for sale and realizing it was the Wine Co., the foursome put in an offer right after another had fallen through, and in a moment of kismet, they suddenly found themselves the owners of a Ketchum mainstay in September 2021.

After a small remodel, the business reopened in November 2021 and things have been a whirlwind since then—so much so that there’s little time for outings like Redfish or Stanley, but they’re hoping to do more of that this fall. Dexter and Crystal live in Elkhorn with a poodle, yorkie, and a one-eyed mutt who they like to take to the dog park with Jim and Gayle’s poodle and yorkie, litter mates of the McKenzie’s dogs. “I love September here: it’s super pretty, the weather’s still really nice, it’s not super busy with visitors, but it’s busy enough that you can stay busy and still sneak away to go do all the things you like to do,” says Crystal.

Check out how these folks spends their perfect 24hrs in Sun Valley for the month of September.

How does your ideal morning start?

Dexter: As a business owner in Ketchum, an ideal morning for me is getting to sleep in.

Crystal: Yes, sleep in, and then go to The Kneadery for breakfast and get the Baldy Basic [3 eggs any style, served with golden hash browns, and toast].

Dexter: If I can get out and do a few laps on Baldy on my mountain bike before breakfast, that’s a plus for me. I’ve only had the chance to get on Baldy once this season and am hoping to do more. Then yeah, Kneadery breakfast with a big cold glass of orange juice—I don’t drink coffee. Something about their orange juice is just different, it hits the spot.

What about midday? Do you like to grab lunch?

Crystal: I would maybe do a hike in town; as a business owner, it’s harder to get away. I like doing Lookout, it’s easy and it’s still pretty! We’re not big lunch people, especially if we have a big breakfast like at Kneadery.

What does the afternoon look like?

Crystal: We would do a beverage somewhere, most likely The Wine Co patio with some friends. We like to find a fun, obscure bottle of wine and share it with friends.

And what do you like to do for dinner?

Crystal: We love Vintage, always.

Dexter: I think the top three dinner spots are Vintage with Rodrigo, Enoteca with Adelaide, or hang out at The Ram with Michael; that’d be the perfect way to end a long day—if we can find the time to slip out of here before all those places close. If they are closed by the time we go to dinner, Rickshaw has been a lifesaver many a time for us.

And how do you wrap up a perfect day?

Dexter: It’s always fun to end at Casino, have a few drinks there, play a game of pool or two before you end the day and start it all over again.

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