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World of Pinot Noir: A premier wine tasting event celebrating pinot noir

Exploring the Pinot Noir grape is what the World of Pinot Noir wine tasting event is all about.
Courtesy of World of Pinot Noir

Celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the movie “Sideways”, the film that brought Pinot Noir and Santa Barbara Wine Country to the forefront, the World of Pinot Noir tasting event on February 28 – March 1, 2014 will take place in Santa Barbara at the Bacara Resort & Spa to commemorate the area and its growth over this period of time.

It will be my first time attending this premiere event for the Pinot-centric. As a Pinot lover, what intrigues me about the event is that the wineries at this tasting represent diversity in styles and terroirs from all over California and Oregon with a smattering of vintners from Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, Spain and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Since I have never been, I asked some of the vintners participating what makes World of Pinot Noir a special event for them.

Karen Steinwachs, Seagrape and also one of the board of directors said it aptly, “The World of Pinot Noir is an event where all who love this alluring grape come together. Consumers from all walks of life, chefs and cooks, growers and winemakers, millennial and boomers mingle together. We all get to taste together, noting differences in styles and profiles of Pinot from producers worldwide. Guests can discover wineries they had probably never heard of, including little Seagrape (all of 500 case production!), pouring next to someone as renowned as Siduri (in our case, since Adam also makes a Sta. Rita Hills Pinot). The atmosphere is friendly, the food is great, the seminars are incredibly informative and the wines diverse and terrific. We pour at only three events each year, and WOPN is the kingpin of those. We wouldn’t miss it.”

I think Karen says it all by truly giving you a flavor of what the event is like.

Karen mentioned the information that is provided at the World of Pinot, I have heard from others that the seminars are very informative. One special seminar for the anniversary celebration is Hollywood & Vine Seminar, which compares the movies Sideways versus Somm in a blind tasting. Sara Schneider, Wine Editor for Sunset Magazine will moderate panelists Brian McClintic, Master Sommelier with Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Dlynn Proctor, Winemaking Ambassador with Penfolds, Chris Burroughs from Sanford and Frank Ostini, Hitching Post in a discussion on what these movies reveal about the wine in our society based on our panelists experiences in these films. The seminar will also educate those on the tasting method or grid discussed as seen in the movie Somm.

The World of Pinot will also be screening the movies Sideways and Somm in the Bacara Theatre.

When a winery comes from a great distance as Tom Higgins does from the Finger Lakes of New York, representing Hearts and Hands, it means this wine tasting event is exemplary in presenting and educating the public on the virtues of the Pinot Noir varietal. Tom states, “Pinot Noir drinkers (unlike the casual wine drinker) seem to have a wonderful enthusiasm and passion for tasting this grape variety that can only be grown in a few places around the globe. Pinot Noir is very expressive of where it is grown, so the consumers at WOPN love the opportunity to taste the expression of this grape from wine regions around the world - which makes tasting a Pinot Noir from the Finger Lakes of New York State less taboo. We find that we are able to connect with this greater Pinot-centric audience by heading out to WOPN each year and we love to be able to share our passion with them. Lastly, it is wonderful to be able to “talk shop” with other Pinot Noir producers and learn about different viticultural and vilification techniques.”

Two winemakers I spoke with attended the World of Pinot in the past but this will be their first time pouring. Their perspective of the event is coming from that of the consumer. For Tyler Thomas, Director of Winemaking for Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyards, who is pouring for the first time, "I am thrilled to represent Dierberg and the Santa Barbara area for the first time at WOPN. This has always been one of my favorite events because of the intellectual exchange among the numerous winemakers that attend along with the beautiful atmosphere that we get to meet and dialogue with our customers."

Tara Gomez, Kitá Wines has also been an attendee but this is the first time the winery is a participant. “After being an attendee of the WOPN for the past four years, it is an honor to be a participant in this wonderful event. It is a distinction for Kitá Wines to be able to showcase our newly released Pinot Noir side by side with the other esteemed producers. We truly feel that winemaking is the heart that carries the voice of the vineyard through to the bottle and cannot wait to unveil the beauty of Hilliard Bruce Vineyard.”

One can see from those who attended in the past as a consumer and are now representing their wineries respectively, this is an outstanding event that truly gives you the essence of what Pinot Noir is about.

A newcomer like myself is Melville Vineyards and for Chad Melville, he is "Proud to be apart of such an esteemed group of passionate Pinot Noir producers and a highly organized event."

Two other wineries that have participated in the past are excited to experience the new venue in Santa Barbara to see what it will bring forth for the World of Pinot in the coming years.

“J Vineyards & Winery has attended many World of Pinot Noir events and we’re excited to be a part of it this year in Santa Barbara. For the past three years, I’ve poured wine at WOPN and always look forward to it -- it’s a great opportunity to connect with loyal J fans as well as those who are new to us. And as a premium Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producer, I feel proud introducing people to our depth of offerings”, says Scott Anderson, Assistant Winemaker, J Vineyards & Winery

Laura Borras Mohseni, General Manager at Riverbench Vineyard and Winery said, “Riverbench is thrilled to have participated in this event since we had wine available to pour. It is the premier Pinot Noir event in California, and we are always in great company. It will be exciting to see what new changes are in store now that the event has moved to Santa Barbara.”

Hearing the comments from the various wineries is enhancing my excitement about attending this prestigious event dedicated to Pinot Noir. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

For more information and to purchase tickets: World of Pinot

If you would like to follow more of Cori Solomon’s articles, she would love you to subscribe to her column by clicking the box next to her photo.

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