2016 Chardonnay Symposium: An International Gathering on California’s Central Coast

The Chardonnay Symposium LogoAre you a fan of Chardonnay?   Is your Mom?  Is the mother of your children?  Well, whether you’re looking for a spring getaway for yourself and loved ones, or a unique Mother’s Day gift, you should know that The 2016 International Chardonnay Symposium is heading to Pismo Beach and Avila Beach between May 12 and May 14 with plenty of events open to the public.  Symposium options include guided tasting seminars, a Sparkling Wine and Oysters Gala, Winemaker Dinners and a Chardonnay-focused Grand Tasting featuring over 80 wineries.

Bodega Catena Zapata

Bodega Catena Zapata

The International Chardonnay Symposium’s primary purpose is to educate and inform top industry professionals (as well as devoted consumers) about current events and trends in Chardonnay production and culture around the world.  If you come, you’ll be able to explore and enjoy wines from top producers such as Bodega Catena Zapata, Fog Crest Vineyard, LIOCO Wine, Maison Louis Latour, Mercer EstatesRamey Wine Cellars and Wente Vineyards.

You’ll also be able to enjoy wines from winners of the Sommelier Challenge at last year’s Chardonnay Symposium when a panel of 11 world-class sommeliers handed out these accolades:

Presqu'ile WInery

Presqu’ile WInery

Keep reading and we’ll review some highlights of the 2016 International Chardonnay Symposium. When you are ready to buy tickets, please go here.

2016 International Chardonnay Symposium, Friday May 13

OystersEvents on May 13 include wine tasting seminars comparing the top Chardonnay producing regions in France, or wines crafted from Wente Clone Chardonnay grapes by different winemakers, and there’s also a Pét-Nat Sparkling Wine & Oysters Gala pairing freshly harvested oysters from Morro Bay Oyster Company with still and sparkling wines from 20 producers such as Baileyana, Deovlet Wines, J Vineyards & Winery, Sandhi, Sinor-LaVallee, Talley Vineyards and Thomas Fogarty Winery.

Friday night, a La Paulée Dinnner and Vintner Awards Ceremony offers an elegant evening of consumers, winemakers and sommeliers coming together to celebrate Chardonnay over a gourmet multi-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Craig Strong and his team at Montage Laguna Beach.  Winemakers will be sharing treasured library wines during the dinner and awards (including winners of the 2016 Sommelier Wine Competition) will be handed out.

Seminars are either $50 or $90 per person, the Gala is $60 per person and the Paulée Dinner is $140 per person.


2016 International Chardonnay Symposium, Saturday May 14

Seminars on May 14 include sessions reviewing top Chardonnay producing regions in California, comparing the impact of different oak regimens, pairing artisanal cheeses to Chardonnays and/or testing your blind-tasting skills.

Stoller Family Estate

Stoller Family Estate

The center of Saturday’s activities is the Grand Tasting from 2 pm to 5 pm at Greengate Ranch & Vineyard offering Chardonnays, Small Bites, Vendor Booths and a Silent Auction.  Over 80 wineries will be pouring tastes including Bernardus Winery, Chamisal Vineyards, Chartron et Trébuchet, Edna Valley Vineyard, Gary Farrell Winery, Sanford Winery, Sojourn Cellars, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, Stoller Family EstateWolff Vineyards, Wrath Wines, and all of the wineries mentioned previously.

On Saturday, the seminars are either $50 or $90 per person, the Grand Tasting is $75 per person and VIP tickets to the Grand Tasting (providing entrance at 1 pm, an hour early) is $100 per person.

The Chardonnay SymposiumSaturday night, the International Chardonnay Symposium offers 4 Winemaker Dinners, at Marisol at the Cliffs (with Talley Vineyards and LIOCO Wine), Novo Restaurant (with Hearst Ranch Winery), Lido (with Niven Family Wine Estates, Chamisal Vineyards and Center of Effort Wines), and Tolosa Winery (with food from Trumpet Vine Catering and wine from Tolosa Winery and Alpha Omega).  Winemaker Dinner tickets are $300 per person, but also come as a package with entrance passes to both the Chardonnay/Artisan Cheese pairing and VIP Grand Tasting sessions earlier that day.

To buy tickets, or see complete details on International Chardonnay Symposium activities (including exactly where each session takes place), please go here. If you are a vintner or sommelier, that’s also where you can find information about the Wine Tech Symposium and Sommelier Chardonnay Challenge taking place on Thursday, May 12.

SLO Wine Trail Before and/or after International Chardonnay Symposium activities, you will hopefully find time to explore southern San Luis Obispo County and its premium wineries, pristine beaches, surfing and kayaking options, farm-to-table cuisine, boutique shopping opportunities and more. In conjunction with the Symposium, many Central Coast wineries and businesses offer special promotions and events to complete the experience.

Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream

If you’re interested in our personal recommendations, please click on “Favorites by Wine Region” on the navigation bar above, and then follow the drop-down menu to the area you are interested in. Or, you can just follow this link to see our Favorites in Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley and the City of San Luis Obispo. After all, it would be a shame if you came all the way here and didn’t know about Coastal Peaks Coffee, Doc Burnstein’s, Ember, Giuseppe’s, and Old West Cinnamon Rolls.



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