The first weekend in March, Pinot Noir producers and lovers from around the world will converge at the 2015 World of Pinot Noir Festival on the gorgeous California coast in Santa Barbara. The 15th Annual World of Pinot Noir takes place on Friday, March 6th and Saturday, March 7th at Bacara Resort & Spa and this year’s Crystal Anniversary event comes with multiple in-depth Tasting seminars and excursions, Grand Tastings, a Burgundy seminar and tasting, and gourmet lunches and dinners showcasing the local cuisine.
Two of our favorite parts of the World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) are its two separate Pinot Noir by the Sea Grand Tastings with about 100 different producers at each session. The Grand Tasting sessions take place between 3 and 6 pm each day (tickets are $110) or you can also purchase early access tickets allowing you to enter 30 minutes early (for an additional $25). This is your chance to “get current” on the latest offerings from wineries from many appellations such as the Carneros Region, Russian River Valley, Santa Maria, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez, Sonoma Coast, and the Willamette Valley.
Some of the wineries we are most looking forward to enjoying at this year’s Grand Tastings are Alma Rosa Winery, Archery Summit, Au Bon Climat, Bouchaine Vineyards, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Kosta Browne Winery, Merry Edwards Winery, Sea Smoke, Soter Vineyards and Talley Vineyards.
On the international front, the WOPN Grand Tastings will also include Weingut Fred Loimer (Austria), 50th Parallel Estate (Canada), Kingston Family Vineyards (Chile) and Burn Cottage Vineyard (New Zealand) as well as representatives from Wine Australia and New Zealand Winegrowers.
World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting event attendees will also be able to enjoy food samples and small bites from the host hotel in between sips. Last year, in addition to having a table of spreads (such as Hummus) the kitchen served up tastes such as Mushroom Tartlets, Crab Cakes, and Spicy Ahi Tuna with Cucumber Noodles. Heartier choices included Short Rib Ravioli, Veal Sliders, and Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream.
Each year, the WOPN Grand Tastings also provide a food purveyor specializing in cheese, with friendly and knowledgeable staff members offering samples from around the world such as Brie Fermier, Campo de Montalban and Fourme d’Ambert (to pair with your Pinot Noirs from around the world). This year’s guide, once again, will be Santa Barbara’s charming C’est Cheese.
As a premier wine event, the World of Pinot Noir offers intriguing educational components as well as unparalleled food opportunities. Keep reading and we’ll share the main activities of the festival and the associated costs. Tickets are available by going here or by clicking on the logo above but you should move quickly before the activities sell out.
2015 World of Pinot Noir: Friday, March 6th Events
Latitudes & Longitudes Seminar and Lunch
Friday, 9am – 2pm ($199)
World renowned wine critic, journalist and editor of wine literature Jancis Robinson will take you on a trip around the World of Pinot Noir in the first half of this seminar. Listen to panelists from Austria, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Canada discuss vintages, growing conditions, terroir and winemaking styles. In the second half, the focus shifts to the center of old-world Pinot Noir as winemaker Alexandrine Roy of Domaine Marc Roy leads you through a tasting of four distinctive cuveés from this prestigious Gevrey-Chambertin winery.
Seminar guests will then be treated to a 3-course gourmet lunch prepared by Executive Chef David Reardon and Chef de Cuisine Johan Denizot, created specifically to pair with these international wines.
Pinot Noir by the Sea Friday Focus Tasting
Friday, 3 -6 pm ($110, or $135 for entrance at 2:30 pm)
Enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean from the Terraces as you immerse yourself in the World of Pinot Noir. The Friday Focus Tasting will feature Pinot Noir from more than 100 producers including Baxter Winery, Chamisal Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Fiddlehead Cellars, Fog Crest Vineyard, LIOCO, Presqu’ile Winery, Sokol Blosser, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Ten Acre Winery.
Mingle and meet the winemakers and principals, and nibble on fresh, local and seasonal wine country appetizers from the Bacara culinary team (and don’t miss the cheese display from Santa Barbara’s C’est Cheese). In addition, the Silent Auction will include large format and rare finds and will benefit the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund and the Keith Patterson Memorial Endowment at Cal Poly.
5-Course Dinners: Fire, Earth or Water
Friday, 7pm ($120)
A set of three intimate 5-course dinners, from three favorite local restarurants, featuring Pinot Noirs from winemakers near and far, to choose from:
- FIRE – Classic and renowned wood-grilled fare from the Hitching Post II restaurant and Chef Frank Ostini
- EARTH – A vegetarian feast of gourmet and artisanal foraged and specialty foods, designed and created for you by Chef David Rosner of Wine Cask
- WATER – The best of fresh seafood delectables prepared by the Bacara culinary team.
Friday, 7pm ($350)
The Bacara Cellar is the venue for a very intimate dinner (limited to 36 guests) with winemaker Alexandrine Roy of featured Burgundy Producer Domaine Marc Roy. She has selected 2012 Marsannay Les Champs Perdix Blanc, 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin “La Justice” and 2006 through 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur to pair with a six-course gourmet meal created by Bacara’s Executive Chef David Reardon.
2015 World of Pinot Noir: Saturday, March 7th Events
Burgundy Seminar and Lunch
Saturday, 9am – 2pm ($250)
Don Kinnan and Nick Poletto invite you to explore the world of Burgundy even further. In the first half of the seminar, learn more about the land and the wines from Mercurey, Givry, and Rully as you explore the Côte Chalonnaise, the region immediately south of the acclaimed Côte d’Or. Then, watch the debate (and vote on the verdict) when two appellations (Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee) vie for the title of “Burgundy’s Best Reds.” Seminar guests will then be treated to a 3-course gourmet lunch prepared by Bacara’s culinary team.
Foodie Frenzy Seminar Pairing
Saturday, 10am – 2pm ($99)
Gain insider knowledge on how to pair food with Pinot Noir, focusing on two taste sensations. Bob Cummings will take you on a tour of all things Mycology as he discusses how regional mushrooms go so well with regional Pinots. Then, Stephanie Mutz leads you through an exploration of Uni (Sea Urchin) and how its unique taste and texture matches up with Pinot Noir. Enjoy these tastes and sips, and you can even select only one of these pairing opportunities for only $55 if you prefer.
Pinot Noir by the Sea Saturday Grand Tasting
Saturday, 3 -6 pm ($110, or $135 for entrance at 2:30 pm)
Enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean as you immerse yourself in the World of Pinot Noir. Saturday’s Grand Tasting will feature wines from over 120 producers (different than the ones that poured on Friday) including Ancien Wines, Belle Glos, Brewer-Clifton, Erath Winery, Goldeneye Winery, Saintsbury, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, WALT Wines, Wayfarer Vineyard and Windward Vineyard. Meet the winemakers and principals, nibble on wine country appetizers and be sure to check out the cheese display.
Crystal Anniversary Dinner
Saturday 7pm ($165)
Celebrate the World of Pinot Noir’s Crystal Anniversary with fine dining at its best, featuring the exemplary service of WOPN’s Sommelier team pouring outstanding current and library Pinot Noirs in plenty of crystal stemware. This Black Tie Optional 5-course dinner will feature exquisite wine country cuisine prepared by Bacara’s culinary team.
Rock Stars of Pinot Noir
Saturday 7pm ($165)
Celebrate the “rock stars’ of the wine world and help honor Santa Barbara County’s Jim Clendenen, the featured Rock Star of Pinot Noir at WOPN’s 15th anniversary celebration. Enjoy tastes from dozens of wineries as you travel across food stations of all kinds from the Bacara kitchen as you gear up for a little Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Vintage Burdundy Dinner
Saturday 7pm ($400)
The World of Pinot Noir presents an extraordinary wine dinner hosted by the Court of Master Sommeliers where Fred Dame presents vintage wines in this intimate six-course gourmand experience. Wines being poured include 2004 Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes, 1990 Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru and 1980 Philippe Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin Les Cazetiers.
2015 World of Pinot Noir: Tickets
So, did you get all that? For complete details on the World of Pinot Noir, and to purchase tickets, please go here. In addition, this year’s event also provides the opportunity to sit and watch some movies. The Bacara Theatre will be screening both Vintage 2014 (a series of short films that chronicle the journey of the 2014 vintage from bud break to bottling) and American Wine Story (a narrative film about how after a winemaker’s untimely death, his sister steps in to try and save his fledgling winery for his 8-year-old son).
We’ve had a wonderful time at past WOPNs and highly recommend the event to others. The World of Pinot Noir is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring Pinot Noir producers from the most exceptional and unique regions in the world together with Pinot Noir enthusiasts for a weekend of celebration and education on the shores of California’s beautiful coast. Returning once again to the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, we hope this year’s Crystal Anniversary event will be a little dryer than the rainstorm experience of 2014.
If you decide to attend the World of Pinot Noir, and are looking for suggestions on local wineries and restaurants in the Santa Barbara area for before and after the event, please go here to see what our personal favorites in this region are.