It’s time to indulge and celebrate when Pinot Noir producers and lovers from around the world converge at the 2018 World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara on March 2nd and 3rd. Au Bon Climat, Freeman Winery, Maison Louis Latour, Merry Edwards Winery and Stephen Ross Wine Cellars will lead the parade of over 250 wineries participating in expert-led Tasting Seminars, Luncheons, Dinners, Parties and Grand Tastings. Depending on your personal interest, you can purchase tickets for a single event, a day’s worth of events, or a whole weekend of activities.
As you probably know, the Santa Barbara region was challenged recently with natural disasters, including wildfires and mudslides, with some tragic impacts. However, the fires are out, the roads are clear, the water is safe to drink and the scenery is beautiful. So please come eat, drink, stay and enjoy yourself as you support local recovery and relief efforts.
The 2018 World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) offers not just one, but two separate Grand Tastings with over 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 Austria (Circo Vino) Chile (Matetic Vineyards), Hungary (Nimrod Wines), New Zealand (New Zealand Winegrowers), South Africa (Botanica Wines) and Spain (Alta Pavina).
The Willamette Valley will be well-represented at the 2018 World of Pinot Noir, with wineries Anne Amie, Archery Summit, Brooks, Coeur de Terre, Erath, Flâneur Wines, Gran Moraine, Montinore Estate, Nicolas-Jay, The Four Graces and Van Duzer Vineyards all attending and pouring their wines. There will also be a seminar and luncheon exploring the connections between wineries in Oregon and Burgundy, and a special five-course dinner on March 3rd featuring wines from this region.
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 the full details here. Last year’s event saw close to 3,000 attendees, the largest turnout in its 17-year history, so you should probably go here soon to purchase your tickets or passes as events do, and will, sell out.
2018 World of Pinot Noir: Wine Seminars and Luncheons
If you want to expand your knowledge and understanding of Pinot Noir under the thoughtful guidance of experts, the 2018 World of Pinot Noir is offering a seminar on wines made from grapes grown on the Central California Coast and another one examining clonal variations:
- On Friday, March 2, at 1:00 pm, Wine Enthusiast magazine’s contributing editor Matt Kettmann will guide you through nine award-winning Pinot Noirs from cool-climate terroirs of the Central Coast including Adelaida, Dierberg, Ken Brown Wines, Stephen Ross Wine Cellars and Talbott Vineyards. ($65 per person)
- On Saturday, March 3, at 1:00 pm, experienced winemakers will explain and discuss the differences between key Pinot Noir grape clones with panelists including Greg Morthole (Davis Bynum), Heidi Bridenhgagen (MacRostie Winery & Vineyards), and Ben Cane (Westwood Estate Winery). ($65 per person)
If you’re looking for well-prepared food paired with premium Pinot Noir, the 2018 World of Pinot Noir has special luncheon parties as well:
- On Friday, March 2, at 11:30 am, a three-course luncheon will showcase outstanding wines made from grapes grown in the newly-minted (as of 12/7/2017) Petaluma Gap AVA, located in southern Sonoma and northern Marin Counties. Featured wineries include Clouds Rest, Karah Estate Vineyard, Kosta Browne, MacPhail Wines and Trombetta Family Wines. ($75 per person)
- On Saturday, March 3, at 11:30 am, a more casual “Lawn Party” at the Angel Oak Veranda will present a gourmet buffet lunch, jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean, and over 35 of the best Pinot Noir Rosés on the planet. We hope WOPN participants Bouchaine Vineyards, Fiddlehead Cellars, Gran Moraine and Sanford Winery will be part of this event based on how much we enjoyed their Rosés last year. ($80 per person)
For a deeper exploration of Pinot Noirs, including wines from Burgundy, you may want to consider these combination seminars and luncheons:
- On Friday, March 2, from 9 am to 2 pm, a winemaker panel discussion and tasting followed by a three-course lunch will explore Oregon’s deep and growing ties to Burgundy, and how this is influencing the current and future state of this New World region. Wineries include Maison Joseph Drouhin, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, Chapter 24 Vineyards, Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Lingua Franca. ($265 per person)
- On Saturday, March 3, from 9 am to 2 pm, a panel of Burgundy experts and winemakers will lead a fun and educational tasting as they discuss the varying classification systems of Burgundy’s sub-regions, their history, trends and the changing roles of growers and negociants. The seminar will feature multiple vintages from Domaine Faively, Domaine Henri Gouges, and Domaine Chanson. ($265 per person)
2018 World of Pinot Noir: Special Dinners
The 2018 World of Pinot Noir presents 6 dinner experiences to choose from, each offering a unique way to celebrate winemakers, their wines, and the alchemy of Pinot Noir wines with outstanding gourmet dishes.
On Friday, March 2, you can pair up wines from the Santa Maria AVA with a Santa Maria Barbecue dinner offering Roasted Root Vegetable Salad, Wild Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent, and Smoked Tri-Tip served with Pinquita Beans and Pico de Gallo. ($125 per person)
Or, come celebrate 101 Years of Pinot Noir winemaking from grapes grown along Highway 101 with winemakers Greg Brewer (Brewer-Clifton), Adam Lee (Siduri), Wells Guthie (Copain) and Jonathan Nagy (Byron) at a dinner featuring Deviled Quail Eggs, Octopus Vindaloo, and Spiced Liberty Farm Duck with Plum Mostarda. ($165 per person)
Or, you can spend the evening learning more about winemaker Akiko Freeman and the outstanding wines from Freeman Winery at an “Art of Japanese Cuisine” dinner. Chef Ken Tominaga (founder of PABU in San Francisco and Boston, and Hana Japanese Restaurant in Sonoma) will craft a multi-course umami-fueled feast designed to pair perfectly with the award-winning Pinot Noirs from Ms. Freeman. ($275 per person)
On Saturday, March 3, a multi-course feast featuring a whole-roasted pig will celebrate the talented Women of Pinot Noir, trailblazing winemakers from a dozen wineries such as Bouchaine Vineyards, Chenoweth Wines, La Crema Winery, Merry Edwards Winery, Stolo Family Vineyards, Trombetta Family Wines and Wrath Wines. ($150 per person)
Or, savor the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Dinner as five courses are paired up with wines from Oregon’s most famous region, home to arguably some of the most food-friendly Pinot Noirs in the world. Your evening’s hosts are Joshua Greene, editor of Wine & Spirits magazine and Bree Boskove of the Oregon Wine Board. ($165 per person)
Or, you can wrap up your glorious 2018 World of Pinot Noir weekend with a six-course Vintage Burgundy Dinner, a gourmand experience hosted by the Guild of Sommeliers featuring wines such as the 1999 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut and 1998 Robert Arnoux Romanèe Saint-Vivant Grand Cru. Dining courses include Seared Rare Tuna, Veal Cheek Blanquette, Cauliflower Risotto with Spot Prawns, and Petite Filet Rossini. ($265 per person)
2018 World of Pinot Noir: The Grand Tastings
Friday, March 2 – Pinot Noir by the Sea Grand Tasting, 3:30 – 6:00 pm ($85, or $135 for VIP entrance at 2:30 pm)
Journey through the World of Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County to the Sonoma Coast to Spain. The Friday Tasting will feature wines from over 100 producers such as Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Balletto Vineyards, Brewer-Clifton, Copain, La Crema Winery, Masút Vineyard and Winery, Presqu’ile Winery, Saintsbury, TIMBRE Winery and Wayfarer. You’ll also be able to bid on silent auction items and pair your wine tastes with fresh, local and seasonal wine country appetizers from the Ritz-Carlton Bacara culinary team.
Saturday, March 3 – Pinot Noir by the Sea Grand Tasting, 3:30 – 6:00 pm ($100, or $150 for VIP entrance at 2:30 pm)
The Saturday Grand Tasting continues with over 150 producers pouring (different from the ones that poured on Friday), including Bernardus Winery, Deovlet Wines, Donum Estate, Drew Family Wines, Goldeneye, Hahn Family Estates, Hitching Post, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Kosta Browne, Morgan Winery, Pisoni, Ramey Wine Cellars, Talbott Vineyards and Trombetta Family Wines. Once again, you can bid on silent auction items and enjoy appetizers from the Ritz-Carlton Bacara culinary team to compliment your wine pourings.
To see the complete list of participating wineries, and which day they are participating in a Grand Tasting, please go here.
2018 World of Pinot Noir: Passes
You (and your friends) are welcome to come to Santa Barbara for a special dinner or one of the Grand Tastings at the 2018 World of Pinot Noir. For full-on splurging, however, you should consider purchasing a Full-Day or Full-Weekend Pass:
- The FRIDAY SINGLE DAY PASS includes access to: Friday’s Tasting Seminar and Luncheon (Exploring the Oregon-Burgundy Connection), VIP Admission to Friday’s Grand Tasting, and a Pinot Noir Pairing Dinner (some dinners may require an additional cost). ($480 per person)
- The SATURDAY SINGLE DAY PASS includes access to: Saturday’s Tasting Seminar and Luncheon (Tasting Through the Best of Burgundy), VIP Admission to Saturday’s Grand Tasting, and a Pinot Noir Pairing Dinner (some dinners may require an additional cost). ($525 per person)
- The WEEKEND PASS includes access to everything listed above, as well as an exclusive March 1 Opening Night Celebration where you can meet participating winemakers, America’s leading sommeliers, and preview the weekend while sampling wines and indulging in tasting bites from Bacara Executive Chef Umit Kaygusuz. ($1150 per person)
2018 World of Pinot Noir: Lodging Ideas
All of the 2018 World of Pinot Noir events take place at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, 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 guestrooms in an inspiring, sun-drenched setting as well as a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center.
Although Bacara is now sold out for that weekend, lodging options nearby offering special WOPN discounts include:
- The Goodland – This Kimpton hotel offers eclectic guestrooms, designed with an easy-going California Cool aesthetic and accented with actual turntables and vinyl records. The rooms feature flat-screen TVs, Wi-FI, and some have courtyard views. (5650 Calle Real, Goleta, 805-964-6241)
- Ramada Inn – Award-winning gardens, lagoons and koi ponds make the Ramada an oasis that beckons both business and leisure travelers. Traditional rooms feature microwaves, minifridges and both the Wi-Fi and continental breakfasts are complimentary. (4770 Calle Real, Goleta, 805-319-4314)
- Hampton Inn – WOPN rates at the Hampton Inn include transportation to and from the event, a hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with HD channels, and parking. Amenities also include an outdoor pool, a hot tub and a fitness center. (5665 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, 805-681-9800)
Established 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.
We also encourage you to visit the Coast Village Road area of Montecito, a charming community with boutique shopping, upscale hotels, and a bustling restaurant scene. This area was particularly hard hit with recent disasters including last month’s debris flow. So, come discover (and/or revisit) establishments such as Blanka Boutique, Bree’Osh Café, Civilianaire, Honor Bar and Honor Market, Jeannine’s American Bakery, Lucky’s Steakhouse, Montecito Inn, Whiskey + Leather Boutique and Whistle Club.
You can also see what some of our favorite wineries, restaurants and food purveyors in all of Santa Barbara County are by going here.