If you are a fan of Pinot Noir, you should seriously consider attending this year’s World of Pinot Noir festival. The 12th annual World of Pinot Noir takes place Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd and includes two days of Grand Tastings with more than 180 winery participants at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, California. The Grand Tastings By The Sea events feature international and domestic producers of Pinot Noir who will be pouring a sampling of their wines in a gorgeous setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The wines will be accompanied by appetizers from local producers as well as a cheese display and tasting. One of the fun aspects of the Grand Tastings By The Sea is that different wineries will be pouring on Friday and Saturday.
The World of Pinot Noir usually sells out most of its activities, so you should go here soon to order your tickets or to learn more about the various events.
The 2012 World of Pinot Noir activities include panelists tackling two current topics in the wine press on Friday (Technique vs. Terroir and Natural Winemaking) and on Saturday you can attend a primer on the history, grapes, soils, and geography of Burgundy which will feature a tasting of wines representing the terroir of villages in Côte de Beaune and in the Côte de Nuits.
There are also several opportunities for special dinners celebrating Pinot Noir during the festival. At the Vintage Burgundy Dinner, the cuisine will be prepared in collaboration with Chef Mark Peel of Campanile Restaurant and Chef Brian Collins of Lido Restaurant. The Court of Master Sommeliers President Fred Dame will host and pour a selection of vintage and rare wines from the Court’s cellar. At the Seaside Fête, fresh, seasonal, and local cuisine will be served on the beach with more than 30 host wineries pouring their wines. Alternatively, chefs at several local Central Coast restaurants will prepare meals specifically designed to pair with Pinot Noirs from four different wineries at each restaurant during this year’s Dine Around activities at The Cass House Restaurant, The Neon Carrot, Et Voilà, Ventana Grill, and Novo Restaurant.
If you want some exercise during the festival, 2012 marks the debut of the Pinot Adventure Camp at the World of Pinot Noir, with offerings of a golf outing, a kayak tour, and a hike.
As with many Grand Tastings at wine events, the number of wineries participating will probably be more than your palate can handle at once, so we’ve listed the wineries we recommend you visit first each day, to make sure you can fully appreciate the quality of their craft:
Favorite Wineries for March 2nd
Acacia (Napa, CA)
Bergström Wines (Newberg, OR)
Bernardus (Carmel Valley, CA)
Bouchaine (Napa, CA)
Domaine Carneros (Napa, CA)
Etude (Napa, CA)
Flowers Vineyard and Winery (Cazadero, CA)
Gary Ferrell (Healdsburg, CA)
Jack Creek Cellars (Templeton, CA)
Keefer Ranch (Sebastopol, CA)
Patz & Hall (Napa, CA)
Schug Carneros Estate (Sonoma, CA)
Talley Vineyards (Arroyo Grande, CA)
Windward (Paso Robles, CA)
Favorite Wineries for March 3rd
Belle Glos (Rutherford, CA)
Benovia (Santa Rosa, CA)
Breggo (Philo, CA)
Domaine Serene (Dayton, OR)
Drew Wines (Elk, CA)
Fiddlehead Cellars (Lompoc, CA)
Freeman Winery (Sebastopol, CA)
Freestone Vineyards (Freestone, CA)
King Estate (Eugene, OR)
Kokomo Winery (Healdsburg, CA)
Kosta Browne Winery (Sebastopol, CA)
Kynsi (Arroyo Grande, CA)
Melville Vineyards and Winery (Lompoc, CA)
Robert Sinskey Vineyards (Napa, CA)
Roessler Cellars (Sonoma, CA)
Sea Smoke (Lompoc, CA)
Sokol Blosser (Dundee, OR)
The wineries we recommended above are all domestic. For an international flavor you should check out New Zealand Winegrowers, Wine Australia, and Wines of Chile. These organizations will be pouring both days at the 2012 World of Pinot Noir festival, but with wines from different wineries being poured on Friday and Saturday.
Once again, we recommend going here soon to purchase tickets, see the full list of participants, and/or get more information on lodging and transportation.