This Is The New Year: The 2013 World of Pinot Noir

World of Pinot Noir LogoIn just a month, Pinot Noir producers and lovers from around the world will converge at the 2013 World of Pinot Noir Festival in Shell Beach, along the central coast of California.  The 13th Annual World of Pinot Noir takes place on Friday, March 1st, and Saturday, March 2nd, with a stellar lineup of seminars, panelists, winemaker dinners, and intimate tasting sessions showcasing the Pinot Noir varietal.  Most of the events take place at The Cliffs Resort and Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa in Shell Beach.

A new year brings changes to the incredibly popular Grand Tasting by the Seas – for 2013 the Saturday Grand Tasting will have an increased number of winery participants as well as physical space.  At the same time, the Friday Grand Tasting is evolving to focus on smaller lots, only those Pinot Noirs with less than 500 cases produced.  This year, the WOPN cheese display will be done by a new cheese purveyor, Danika Reed of Vivant Fine Cheese.

As a premier wine event, the World of Pinot Noir offers an unparalleled education component for its guests.  We also find it offers unparalleled food opportunities.  Tickets are available by going here, by clicking on the logo above, or by calling 805-489-1758.  If you keep reading, we’ll share the highlights of the weekend events and the associated ticket prices.  Or, to paraphrase A Great Big World, “..and I would give the World of Pinot Noir to you…”   

World of Pinot Noir:  Friday, March 1st Events

Seminar Series A: Moderated by Master Sommelier Fred Dame

  1. Not Pinot Blanc, Not Pinot Gris – It’s White Pinot Noir!? – Between 9:00 am and 10:30 am, Fred Dame will lead the panelists in a discussion of white wines made from dark and sultry Pinot Noir grapes.
  2. Up Close, and Personal with Kosta Browne – Between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm, Fred Dame will moderate a tasting as Michael Browne presents an incredible lineup of the Kosta Browne Winery Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley.

Seminar Series B: Moderated by Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible

  1. Pinot Noir on the Rocks – The Question of “Minerality” – Between 9:00 am and 10:30 am, Karen MacNeil will guide participants through a discussion of “minerality,” with participants presenting wines as part of the discussion.
  2. Alcohol and Balance Redux, and How Vintage Comes Into Play – Between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm, winemakers discuss why they make the wines they do, if wines can have elevated alcohol levels and still be balanced, and whether lower alcohol wines are delicate or simply simple.

Attendees of both Seminar Series A and Seminar Series B will also be treated to a fresh and seasonal Pinot Noir inspired lunch in the Lido Restaurant at Dolphin Bay from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm.  Tickets for attending either Series of Seminars and Lunch are $199 per person.

Stephen Ross Wine Cellars

Stephen Ross Wine Cellars

Pinot Noir By The Sea Focus Tasting – “Small lot, boutique, barrel selections” All of the wines poured at this focused tasting will be those of less than 500 case releases.  More than 60 wineries will be participating including Acacia Vineyard, Bergström Wines, Bien Nacido Vineyards, Domaine Serene, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flowers Vineyard and Winery, Masut Vineyard and Winery, Melville Vineyards and Winery, Siduri Wines, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, and Windward Vineyard.

The tasting will be complemented by fresh, local, and creative cuisine from the Central Coast’s finest caterers and purveyors.  This Focus Tasting takes place between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm ($110 per person).  Early Access Tickets (entrance at 2:30 pm) were available ($125 per person) but appear to be sold out now.

Sparkling Lounge in the Dolphin Bay Penthouse Suite – Enjoy the ocean view as sparkling producers pour their effervescent beauties exclusively for 40 guests.  Includes a casual dinner featuring fresh shucked oysters, abalone, shrimp, and blinis with caviar as well as other passed hors d’oeuvres to pair with the sparkling wines.  This cocktail lounge seating atmosphere runs from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm and tickets are $165 per person.

Winemaker Dinner with Williams Selyem – Williams Selyem Winery is known at WOPN as pulling out all the stops when presenting their wines. You can only imagine what this 5-course plated winemaker dinner starting at 7:00 pm at the Lido Restaurant at Dolphin Bay will bring.  Tickets were $180 per person, but appear to have sold out recently. 

Viva Italia at Giuseppe’s Cucina Italiana – 16 wineries will be pouring their wines alongside a 5-course meal from Chef/Owner Giuseppe DiFranzo for a “Tuttu Benne” experience, which includes transportation to and from Guiseppe’s Cucina Italiana in Pismo Beach.  Tickets are $120 per person.

World of Pinot Noir: Saturday, March 2nd Events:

Burgundy Seminar – Terroir: Soul of Côte d’Or – Don Kinnan, CSS, CWE, and the lead instructor for the French Wine Society’s new Master Burgundy Certificate program presents an in-depth seminar on the wines, soils, climate and history of the Côte d’Or.  The seminar starts at 9:00 am, followed by a gourmet lunch at the Lido Restaurant at Dolphin Bay, complemented by wines from the seminar and other selections.  Tickets are $199 per person.

Sta. Rita Hills Focus Luncheon at the Cass House Inn – Between 10:45 am and 1:45 pm, Chef Jensen Lorenzen prepares a 4-course lunch inspired by Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills wineries (Brewer-Clifton, Dierberg Vineyard, Foley Estates, and Gainey Vineyard).  You will also be able to enjoy a short tour of the gardens on the Cass House Inn grounds.  Tickets are $140 per person.

Benovia Winery

Benovia Winery

Saturday Grand Tasting by the Sea – With tents on both the Cliffside lawns at Dolphin Bay and The Cliffs Resort, guests have more room than ever to mingle with and meet the winemakers and principals from more than 120 wineries pouring the best Pinot Noirs from around the world.  Participating Wineries include Ancien Wines, Belle Glos, Benovia, Etude, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Keefer Ranch, Sequana Vineyards, Sokol Blosser, Soter Vineyards, and WALT Wines.  The tasting will be complemented by fresh, local, and creative cuisine from the Central Coast’s finest caterers and purveyors.  This Focus Tasting takes place between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm ($110 per person).  Early Access Tickets (entrance at 2:30 pm) were available ($125 per person) but appear to be sold out now.

Breakout Tasting Sessions at Dolphin Bay Resort –

  • Breakout Session #1 Talley Vineyards presents a vertical tasting of Pinot Noir from Rosemary’s and Rincon Vineyards 2007 – 2010.
  • Breakout Session #2 – Taste and hear why these Rhone Rangers – Jason Haas (Tablas Creek Vineyard), Bob Lindquist (Qupé), Chuck Carlson (Curtis Winery and Carlson Wines), and Doug Margerum (Margerum Wine Company) are making just a little Pinot Noir!

Each of the Breakout Tasting Sessions (from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm) include a cheese sampling.  Tickets to the Grand Tasting and one of the Breakout Sessions are $160 per person

Chamisal Vineyards

Chamisal Vineyards

Gala at Chamisal Vineyards on Saturday Evening – As the grand finale to the 2013 World of Pinot NoirChamisal Vineyards invites you to a night of great wine, superb food, and lasting companionship featuring cuisine from some of the finest Central Coast chefs.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a bottle of their favorite Pinot Noir to share with everyone.  In addition, more than 30 winemakers will be pouring from large format bottles.  Tickets are $180 per person, and transportation is provided both to and from Chamisal Vineyards.

WOPN Large Format Silent Auction – All of the WOPN participating wineries are donating to the Silent Auctions this year which take place during the Friday and Saturday Tastings by the Sea.  A portion of the proceeds will support the Michael Bonaccorsi Foundation.  The Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund was founded at UC Davis in 2004, developed in response to the overwhelming reaction of friends and wine professionals interested in creating a lasting memorial to the man who generously shared his knowledge and talents throughout his brilliant, yet tragically short career.

View From Tent at 2012 World Of Pinot Noir

View From Tent at 2012 World Of Pinot Noir

So, did you get all that?   For complete and thorough details on the 2013 World of Pinot Noir Festival, including a list of all of the wineries participating and/or to purchase tickets, please go here.  We had a wonderful time at the 2012 World of Pinot Noir, and highly recommend the event to others.  The World of Pinot Noir is a non-profit organization established in 2001.  Their 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 Central Coast.

And in case you aren’t familiar with A Great Big World, and don’t watch Glee, you should go here to check out the original version of a truly awesome song.  “This is the new year, a new beginning…”


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