Are you crazy about Pinot Noir? Do you like to travel? Well, we’ve got over a dozen suggestions below on where you can go to satisfy both of those cravings during 2014. With destinations including Santa Barbara, Sonoma Valley, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles, these are some of the best Pinot Noir Tastings, Pinot Noir Festivals, and Pinot Noir Dinners you can find.
There are some interesting combinations below: Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs in Washington DC, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs in Chicago, North Coast Pinot Noirs in San Francisco, and Pinot Noirs from around the world in Santa Barbara. Depending on your food preferences, you may be excited to learn about your chances to pair Pinots with Pork in Healdsburg, Paella in Paso Robles, and/or Salmon in the Willamette Valley.
So keep reading, grab your calendar, and see how many of these events you can fit into your own personal travel plans for 2014.
World of Pinot Noir: Santa Barbara, CA – February 28 to March 1, 2014
Pinot Noir producers and lovers from around the world converge at the World of Pinot Noir festival, an annual celebration of the varietal along the beautiful California Coast. This year, WOPN moves from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara for its stellar lineup of seminars, luncheons, winemaker dinners, and intimate tasting sessions. You’ll also find two separate Grand Tastings showcasing over 200 wineries from around the world including outstanding producers such as Alma Rosa, Baxter Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Freeman Winery, Kosta Browne Winery, Littorai, Merry Edwards Winery, Peay Vineyards, Sea Smoke, Soter Vineyards, and Williams Selyem.
Pigs & Pinot: Healdsburg, CA – March 21 to 22, 2014
This year marks the 9th Annual Celebration of Pigs & Pinot, hosted by Chef Charlie Palmer. Friday evening is the lively Taste of Pigs & Pinot where guests sample 60 highly-acclaimed Pinot Noir wines served alongside a variety of pork dishes. Saturday offers two seminars and then the Pigs & Pinot Gala features a sumptuous five-course dinner with creations from Chef Palmer and guest chefs Amanda Freitag, Bryan Voltaggio, Frank Crispo and Philippe Rispoli, paired with limited-production Pinot Noirs from wineries including CIRQ, Domaine Pierre Gelin, Roth Estate, Te Kairanga, Rochioli Winery and Pyramid Valley Vineyards. Alternatively, guests of the h2hotel staying under their Pigs & Pinot Package can attend a Swine and Wine Dinner on Saturday evening with a four-course dinner from fellow Top Chef 2013 contestants Chef Louis Maldonado and Chef Carrie Mashaney.
Pinot in the City: Washington DC – April 2, 2014
Twice a year, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association holds tasting events outside of Oregon, increasing awareness of the pleasures of Pinot Noirs from this region. Prior destinations have been New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Next stop? Long View Gallery in Washington DC. Tickets go on sale February 1st for Pinot in the City: Washington DC where guests will enjoy wines from over 50 wineries including Alloro Vineyard, Bergström Wines, Boedecker Cellars, Chehalem, Colene Clemens Vineyards, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Domaine Serene, Le Cadeau Vineyard, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Shea Wine Cellars, and Winderlea Vineyard & Winery.
WoW/Chicago: Chicago, IL – April 9, 2014
West Sonoma Coast Vintners take their West of West “WOW” wine festival on the road to Chicago on April 9th with a stellar line up of acclaimed Pinot Noirs (and Chardonnays) all sourced and produced from vineyards along the coastline of West Sonoma Coast. The Consumer Grand Tasting will take place between 6 and 9 pm at City Winery and represented wineries include Banshee Wines, Ceritas Wines, Emeritus Vineyards, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Gros Ventre Cellars, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Littorai, Martinelli Winery & Vineyards, Peay Vineyards, and Ramey Wine Cellars.
Pinot Paradise: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – April 11 to 13, 2014
Enjoy three days in the Santa Cruz Mountains by participating in Pinot Paradise. Friday offers a technical session on making wine in a mountain terroir and on Saturday local Pinot Noir producers offer wine tastings, vineyard tours, and barrel samples at their wineries. On Sunday, over 30 Pinot Noir winemakers gather to offer over 150 wines at The Mountain Winery along small bites from over a dozen gourmet restaurants. Participating wineries include Bargetto Winery, Cinnabar, Clos LaChance Winery, Hallcrest Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Savannah-Chenelle Vineyards, Storrs Winery, and Thomas Fogarty Winery.
Pinot Days: Chicago, IL – April 26, 2014
Produced by The Bay Area Wine Project, this is one of four “Pinot Days” events each year (the first one, in New York City, took place on January 18). Pinot Days Chicago starts when 65 wineries fly into the Windy City and offer Winemaker Dinners, “Meet the Winemaker” Pinot and food pairings at local wine bars and restaurants, tastings at boutique retail stores and ultimately, the Grand Festival at the beautiful Navy Pier. In 2014, the Grand Festival will be limited to 1000 guests who will taste wines from Buena Vista Winery, Cartograph, Cornerstone Cellars Oregon, Davis Bynum Winery, Dutton-Goldfield, Gloria Ferrer, Inman Family Wines, Pali Wine Co., and Sojourn Cellars, among others.
Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival: Boonville, CA – May 16 to 18, 2014
The three-day Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival is sponsored by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. The first day (Friday) is a Technical Conference followed by a casual BBQ in the evening where guests are encouraged to bring a bottle to share. The second day (Saturday) is focused on a Grand Tasting in the afternoon with about 40 different Pinot Noir producers from around California celebrating Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines, with several Winemaker Dinners available that evening. On the third day (Sunday), the local wineries have special Open Houses open to the public. Some of the wineries at the 2013 Grand Tasting were Baxter Winery, Copain Wines, Drew Family Cellars, Goldeneye Winery, Phillips Hill Estates, and Williams Selyem.
The Pinot Classic: Russian River Valley, CA – May 24 to 25, 2014
Russian River Valley’s producers and fans celebrate their products at an annual Pinot Classic weekend where ticket holders can drive around and taste wines from over 30 wineries as they enjoy the rugged beauty of the Valley. Each winery has unique offerings including barrel tastings, futures purchases, library wines, vertical tastings, food pairings, artist demonstrations, vineyard tours and/or live entertainment. The weekend also includes a “Pinot Paulée Dinner” on Saturday night. Featured wineries include Arista, Benovia, Davis Family, Dehlinger, DeLoach, Dutton-Goldfield, Gary Farrell, Hartford Family, Kosta-Browne, Merry Edwards, and Williams Selyem.
Paso Pinot and Paella Festival: Templeton, CA – June 1, 2014
Join Paso Robles Pinot Noir Producers and 20 great Chefs for an afternoon of great wine, creative Paella dishes, and Latin guitar beats at the 11th Annual Paso Pinot & Paella Festival. Wineries at last year’s festival included Adelaida Cellars, Asuncion Ridge Vineyards, Carmody McKnight Estate Wines, Castoro Cellars, Derby Wine Estates, Jack Creek Cellars, Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery, Stephen’s Cellar, and Windward Vineyard. 2013 culinary participants included caterers Bomba Paella Catering, Catering by Chef Charlie, and Paellas by Juan Mendivil, restaurants Guiseppe’s Cucina Italiana, McPhee’s Grill, and Thomas Hill Organics, and Chefs Brigit Binns and Justin Goldberg.
Pinot Days: San Francisco, CA – June 14, 2014
The original city for the Pinot Days events, the Pinot Days: San Francisco Tasting includes wines from about 100 producers in California, Oregon, and around the world such as Alma Rosa, Benziger Family Winery, Davis Family Vineyards, Kokomo Winery, Masút Vineyard and Winery, Morgan Winery, Schug Carneros Estate, Sojourn Cellars, and ZD Wines. You can also usually find several small and intimate Pinot Noir-centered events around the Bay Area in the days leading up to the Grand Festival.
Pinot Family Reunion: Santa Rosa, CA – June 2014
A wine and food tasting event featuring Sonoma County Pinot Noir producers followed by a family style dinner at John Ash & Co in Santa Rosa are the foundation for the Pinot Family Reunion Tasting and Dinner, a benefit for a local health center. With about 40 wineries participating, this event focuses on the entire Pinot family (Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, etc.) and not just Pinot Noir. Some of the wineries at past Reunions have been Dutton-Goldfield, Hartford Family Winery, Holdredge Wines, La Crema Winery, MacMurray Ranch, MacPhail Family Wines, Siduri, Twomey, and VML Wines. Appetizers, live music, and a Silent Auction add to the festivities and the subsequent sit-down Dinner is usually a quick sellout. The exact date for the 2014 event has not been announced yet, but June 23 is a likely date.
International Pinot Noir Celebration: McMinnville, OR – July 25 to 27, 2014
The International Pinot Noir Celebration is a three-day mecca for lovers of Pinot Noir and Northwest cuisine. Ticket options include an all-weekend pass, a Salmon Bake (showcasing wild salmon roasted on alder stakes served with wines from around the world), and/or the Sunday Passport to Pinot (over 70 Pinot Noir wines alongside 15 Northwest chefs in the beautiful Oak Grove of Linfield College). At the 2013 IPNC event, restaurants represented included Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Laurelhurst Market, Lecōsho, Le Pigeon, Lincoln Restaurant, Little Bird, Olympic Provisions, Paulée, Pine State Biscuits, and Wildwood. Local wineries involved included Adelsheim Vineyard, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Cristom Vineyards, De Ponte Cellars, Lemelson Vineyards, Soter Vineyards, Trisaetum, Winderlea Vineyard & Winery, and Witness Tree Vineyard.
Pinot on the River: Healdsburg, CA – October 26, 2014
Pinot on the River centers around over 100 limited-production Pinot Noir producers in a Grand Tasting complimented by local artisan food vendors, a raffle and a silent auction in downtown Healdburg. The day usually begins with a guided tasting seminar. Prior Grand Tasting participants have included Benovia Winery, Fort Ross Vineyard, Foursight Wines, Freeman Winery, Keefer Ranch Wines, Littorai, Mueller Winery, Sea Smoke, Talisman Wines and WALT Wines.
¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction: Portland, OR – November 14 to 15, 2014
Winemakers from Oregon’s foremost wineries will debut the 2013 vintage at ¡Salud!, a benefit for seasonal vineyard workers and their families. At the Friday Tasting and Auction, wineries offer barrel samples of their special cuvées and only five cases from each winery will be available to the highest bidders. Wineries from last year included Adelsheim Vineyard, Bergström Wines, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Cristom Vineyards, Erath Winery, Patricia Green Cellars, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, St. Innocent Winery, Winderlea Vineyard & Winery, and Witness Tree Vineyard. The Saturday evening Gala celebrates Oregon Pinot Noir with a specially crafted dinner followed by a live auction featuring rare library wines, winemaker experiences, and unique travel packages.
Pinot Days: Los Angeles, California – November 15, 2014
Pinot Days Southern California is the Bay Area Wine Project’s fastest growing event. In the days preceding the Grand Festival (in downtown Los Angeles) featuring about 60 producers you should find multiple Winemaker Pinot Pairings at restaurants and wine venues throughout the area. In 2013, winery participants included Domaine Chandon, Emeritus Vineyards, FOXEN, Hitching Post Wines, J Vineyards & Winery, MacMurray Ranch, Siduri Wines, Sokol Blosser Winery, and Waits-Mast Family Cellars.
PinotFest at Farallon Restaurant: San Francisco, CA – November 2014
Founded in 1999, PinotFest is the restaurant’s annual celebration of fine wine, tasty food and good old fashioned camaraderie. This all-Pinot Noir bacchanalia features over 60 top West Coast pinot noir producers, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres to complement the wine, and a chance to meet the winemakers. Tickets go on sale around the 1st of September and quickly sell out. Some of the 2013 participating wineries were Alma Rosa, Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, Fiddlehead Cellars, LIOCO, Lynmar Estate, Merry Edwards Winery, Peay Vineyards, Radio-Coteau, and Robert Sinskey Vineyards. The exact date for the 2014 event has not been announced yet, but November 22 is a likely date.
We hope you find this list of Pinot Noir Wine Tasting Events helpful in planning your travels for 2014. Please let us know if we missed anything.