Ba Ba Land: The 2017 World of Pinot Noir

World of Pinot NoirSanta Barbara turns into the City of (Pinot Noir) Stars on March 3rd and 4th when Pinot Noir producers and lovers from around the world converge at the 2017 World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) at Bacara Resort & Spa on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, GoldeneyeHirsch Vineyards, Maison Louis Latour and Merry Edwards Winery will lead the crowd of nearly 200 wineries participating in Tasting Seminars, Grand Tastings, and Gourmet Lunches and Dinners.

Two of our favorite parts of the World of Pinot Noir are its separate Grand Tastings with about 100 different producers at each session. This is a comprehensive chance to “get current” on the latest wines made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in places such as Anderson Valley, Los Carneros, Russian River Valley, Santa Maria, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Ynez, Sonoma Coast, and the Willamette Valley. On the international front, the WOPN Grand Tastings will also include wineries from Australia (Yering Station) and Spain (Alta Pavina) in addition to representatives from New Zealand Winegrowers.

Cheese Offerings from Fromagerie Sophie

Fromagerie Sophie

If you attend the Grand Tasting events you will also enjoy small bites between sips. Dishes we’ve enjoyed in the past from the Bacara kitchen included Mixed Grilled Vegetables, Roasted Beet and Herbed Goat Cheese Tart, Santa Barbara Prawns with Avocado Relish, and Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri. There will also be friendly and knowledgeable staff from Santa Barbara’s C’est Cheese and San Luis Obispo’s Fromagerie Sophie offering samples from around the world such as Camembert Fermier, Campo de Montalban and Fourme d’Ambert (to pair with your Pinot Noirs from around the world).

World of Pinot Noir is a premier wine event and if you keep reading we’ll describe highlights of the main activities and their associated costs or you can find full details here. Tickets are available here but you should move quickly before activities (or combination passes) sell out.

2017 World of Pinot Noir: Friday, March 3rd Events

The Terroirists:  Maison Louis Latour and Hirsch Vineyard Seminar and Lunch, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm ($265 per person)

Chateau Corton Grancey

Château Corton Grancey from Louis Latour

This comprehensive seminar features two in-depth tastings followed by a three-course luncheon prepared by the Bacara culinary team.  In the first session, author Michael Apstein will guide a journey through a dozen Premier and Grand Cru wines from Louis Latour, owner of nearly 125 acres in 21 appellations of the Cote d’Or.  Then, Jasmine Hirsch and Christopher Sawyer will present a vertical and horizontal retrospective tasting of Hirsch Vineyards wines to compare and contrast vintages and micro-terroir differences from this well-known Sonoma winery.

Rosé Lunch at Angel Oak Restaurant, 11:30 am ($75)

Enjoy a selection of Rosé wines (made from Pinot Noir grapes) during a lunch hosted by Adam Montiel at Angel Oak Restaurant, Bacara’s modern steak and seafood restaurant with floor-to-ceiling ocean views, a blue Amazonite quartz-topped bar and an outdoor patio.

Around the World with Pinot Noir:  International Pinots with SOMM Journal, 1:00 pm ($65)

Taste and explore Pinot Noirs from around the world in this seminar presented by SOMM Journal and moderated by Anthony Dias Blue.  Wines will be presented from Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard (Canada), Domaine de la Vougeraie (France), Cuvée Aurora Rosé (Italy), Ritual Wines (Chile), and Giesen Wines (New Zealand).

Pinot Noir by the Sea Focus Tasting, 4:00 – 6:30 pm ($85, or $135 for VIP entrance at 3:00 pm)

Balletto Vineyards

Balletto Vineyards

Journey through the World of Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County to the Sonoma Coast to Spain.  The Friday Focus Tasting will feature wines from about 100 producers including Alma Rosa Winery & VineyardsAncien Wines, Archery Summit, Balletto VineyardsBernardus Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Clos Pepe Estate, Dierberg Vineyard, Flowers Vineyards & Winery, Hirsch Vineyards, King Estate, La Crema Winery, Migration, Patz & Hall, Penner-Ash, Saintsbury, Seagrape Wine Company and TIMBRE Winery.

Mingle and meet the winemakers and principals, nibble on wine country appetizers and pair your tastes with cheese offerings from C’est Cheese and Fromagerie Sophie. In addition, you can bid at a Silent Auction (with items including large format and rare finds) with proceeds benefiting the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund and the Keith Patterson Memorial Endowment at Cal Poly.

WOPN Friday Evening Dinners, 7:30 pm ($120 – $350)

Friday night has unique dining opportunities at World of Pinot Noir, with these multi-course dinners paired with Pinot Noirs from a particular winery or wine region:

Steven Ross Wine Cellars

Steven Ross Wine Cellars

  • Taste the unique flavor of the Edna Valley AVA with wines from Baileyana, Center of Effort, Tolosa, Claiborne & Churchill, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Niner Wine Estates during a five-course dinner from Chef Brian Collins of Ember (Arroyo Grande). ($120)
  • Savor wines from Anderson Valley including Witching Stick, Goldeneye, Panthea and Waits-Mast paired with a five-course dinner from Bacara’s Executive Chef Vincent Lesage. ($120)
  • Large Format bottles abound at a special 20th Anniversary Dinner for Kosta Browne showcasing their single vineyard Pinot Noirs matched to a five-course dinner prepared by Chef Dustin Valette of Valette in Healdsburg. This intimate dinner ($250 per person, limited to 65 guests) has sold out already but you can add your name to the waitlist.
  • This year’s Burgundy Dinner focuses on Maison Louis Latour which was established in 1797, passed from father to son for 11 generations, and is currently run by the 7th “Louis.” A special six-course dinner from Bacara’s Executive Chef Vincent Lesage will accompany wines such as Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2008, Beaune 1er Cru “Vignes Franches” 2009 and Chambertin Grand Cru “Cuvée Héritiers Latour” 2005.


2017 World of Pinot Noir: Saturday, March 4th Events

La Cote d’Or: Vintage Does Make a Difference Seminar and Lunch, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm ($265 per person)

Burgundy MapThis seminar and tasting will begin with a guided tasting and comparison of three different vintages of wines from each of Domaine Drouhin-Laroze, Domaine de La Pousse d’Or and Domaine Robert Chevillon. Then, you can enjoy a three-course luncheon from the Bacara culinary team, paired with Côte de Beaune wines from the Domaine Albert Morot, Domaine Louis Jadot and Maison Louis Jadot labels.

Sparkling Wine Brunch at Angel Oak Restaurant, 11:00 am ($75)

Enjoy Sparkling Wines and Champagnes during a lunch hosted by Allyson Gorsunch of SOMM Journal at Angel Oak Restaurant, Bacara’s modern steak and seafood restaurant with floor-to-ceiling ocean views, a blue Amazonite quartz-topped bar and an outdoor patio.

Pinot and Pâté, 1:00 pm ($50)

Sophie Boban-Doering and Paul Doering from Fromagerie Sophie, and Matt Kettman from Wine Enthusiast, moderate a discussion where you hear from both wine and cheese experts on how to best plan your next pairing with Pinot wines.

Pinot Noir by the Sea Focus Tasting, 3:30 – 6:00 pm, VIP entrance at 2:30 (individual tickets sold out but VIP entrance included in day or weekend WOPN passes)

Freeman Winery

Freeman Winery Pinot Noirs

The Saturday Grand Tasting continues the World of Pinot Noir tradition of “Pinot by the Sea” with over 120 producers pouring (different from the ones that poured on Friday), including Asuncion Ridge Vineyards, Ca’ del Grevino, Deovlet Wines, Erath Winery, Freeman Vineyard and Winery, Goldeneye, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Ken Brown Wines, Kosta Browne Winery, Merry Edwards Winery, Morgan Winery, Roger Roessler Wines, Sea Smoke, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, Talbott Vineyards, Trombetta Family Wines, Wayfarer and Wrath Wines.

WOPN Saturday Evening Dinners, 7:30 pm ($120 – $450)

Rock Stars of Pinot Noir Dinner, 7:30 pm ($165)

Merry Edwards Winery

Merry Edwards Winery

Each year, the World of Pinot Noir celebrates the “rock stars” of the wine world and this year’s honoree is Merry Edwards, a class act known for her stellar Pinot Noirs such as Klopp Ranch, Meredith Estate and Coopersmith single-vineyard designates. Now in the fifth decade of her winemaking career, Ms. Edwards has been inducted into the CIA’s Vintners Hall of Fame and has also won a James Beard Award for the Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional in the United States.  On March 4th, enjoy a special “rock star” dinner at Angel Oak Restaurant with Ms. Edwards and her friends Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton, Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead Cellars and Jeff Steward of Hartford Court.

Hitching Post Retrospective Dinner, 7:30 pm, ($120)

One of the original founders of the World of Pinot Noir, Chef and Winemaker Frank Ostini is back to celebrate the past with wood-fired barbecue meats and a vertical tasting of Hitching Post Pinot wines.

Vintage Burgundy Dinner, 7:30 pm ($450)

Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher presents vintage wines from the Guild of Sommelier’s extensive cellar in an intimate six-course gourmand experience limited to just 45 guests.

2017 World of Pinot Noir: The Invitation

Masut Vineyard and Winery

Pinot Noir Grapes

You (and your friends) are invited to Santa Barbara for the 2017 World of Pinot Noir and there are still individual tickets available for most of the events.   For full-on splurging, however, you should seriously consider purchasing a Full-Day or Full-Weekend Pass:

  • The FRIDAY SINGLE DAY PASS includes access to: Maison Louis Latour and Hirsch Vineyard Seminar and Lunch, the Friday Focus Tasting (including VIP early entrance), and a Friday Night Dinner (either Anderson Valley or Edna Valley) for $480 per person. There may be an option to upgrade to the Kosta Browne or Burgundy Dinner – a WOPN representative will contact you after your purchase.   
  • The SATURDAY SINGLE DAY PASS includes access to: La Côte d’Or Seminar and Lunch, the Saturday Grand Tasting by the Sea (including VIP early entrance), and a Saturday Dinner (either Merry Edwards or Hitching Post) for $525 per person. There may be an option to upgrade to the Burgundy Dinner – a WOPN representative will contact you after your purchase.   
  • The WEEKEND PASS includes access to everything listed above, as well as an exclusive Thursday Night Opening Reception Dinner & Tasting ($1,150 per person)


2017 World of Pinot Noir: The Right Address

Bacara Resort and Spa

Bacara Resort and Spa

All of the World of Pinot Noir events take place at Bacara Resort & Spa, a luxury beach resort nestled on the bluff and beaches of the Gaviota coast between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains (8301 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, 866-722-7870).  With 78 acres of oceanfront property, including two miles of natural beach, Bacara offers luxury suites and guestrooms in an inspiring, sun-drenched setting. While here, you can also explore the legendary Spa at Bacara, a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center.  To make a reservation using WOPN special rates, please click here.

Alternatively, here are some other nearby lodging options, most of which are offering special WOPN discounts:

  • The Goodland – This Kimpton hotel offers eclectic guestrooms, designed with an easy-going California Cool aesthetic and accented with actual turntables and vinyl records.  (5650 Calle Real, Goleta, 805-964-6241)
  • Ramada Limited Santa Barbara – Award-winning gardens, lagoons and koi ponds make the Ramada an oasis that beckons both business and leisure travelers.  (4770 Calle Real, Goleta, 805-319-4314)
  • Hampton Inn – WOPN rates at the Hampton Inn include transportation to and from the event, breakfast, Wi-Fi and parking.  (5665 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, 805-681-9800)
  • Pacifica Suites – Adjacent to the historic Sexton House and nestled among an extraordinary grove of exotic plants and trees, this all-suite hotel offers a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast each morning, generous amenities, and exceptional service.  (5490 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, 805-683-6722)
  • Courtyard by Marriott – Designed for both business travelers and weekend explorers, this Courtyard provides convenient access to Santa Barbara wineries, beaches, and downtown’s State Street shops and dining.  (401 Storke Road, Goleta, 805-968-0500)
  • Best Western Plus South Coast Inn – The Inn offers quiet and comfort while remaining conveniently located, so you can enjoy walking to shopping and restaurants, or driving to beaches or golf courses.  (5620 Calle Real, Goleta, 805-967-3200)  


World of Pinot Noir LogoEstablished in 2001, 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 Central Coast.


We’ve had a wonderful time at past WOPNs discovering new producers and revisiting old favorites, and highly recommend the event to any Pinot Noir fan. If you decide to attend and are looking for suggestions on local wineries, restaurants and food purveyors to check out “when mornin’ rolls around and it’s another day of sun” then please go here.  You can’t miss out on the stars that “shine so brightly” in Santa Barbara such as Ca’ Dario, Chocolate Maya, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, Super Cucas Taqueria and The Winehound.


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