One of my all-time favorite wine festivals is coming to the Central Coast next week. The 20th Annual World of Pinot Noir (March 5-7) brings together an impressive lineup of producers from the most exceptional and unique regions in the world with Pinot Noir enthusiasts for a weekend of celebration and education at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Bacara Resort & Spa.
The event kicks off on Thursday with the unique opportunity to visit the legendary Clos Pepe Estate Vineyard and learn firsthand about the history of winemaking — particularly Pinot Noir — on California’s Central Coast. This celebrated spot, now owned by WALT Wines, is not usually open for visitors, so don’t miss out on the exclusive kickoff for the 20th anniversary of World of Pinot Noir. I went to a media exclusive version of this event back in 2017 and trust me, you don’t want to miss it!
The tasting tour, coined as Mile Marker 60 referencing WALT’s 1,000 Miles of Pinot concept, includes a vineyard tour, moderated panel conversation alongside a vertical tasting, and a backyard BBQ with live music. Guests will embark on a guided shuttle from the The Ritz-Carlton Bacara to the Clos Pepe Estate Vineyard in on Route 246 in Lompoc.
Other events on Thursday:
—Exploring the Elegance of Alto Adige Pinot Noir – Seminar & Luncheon
Take a deep dive into Italy’s preeminent Pinot Noir region, Alto Adige. Led by Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier, the seminar and luncheon will explore the region’s rise as a Pinot Noir powerhouse, forecast its exciting future and delve into the wines of its top producers.
— Opening Night Party
Kick off the 20th Anniversary of World of Pinot Noir with a wine-filled feast and fête featuring Pinot Noir wines from all over the world poured by America’s leading sommeliers. This year, the main bar is hosted by the Carneros Wine Alliance and will feature a special selection of wines from the famed region. You’ll meet and talk with winemakers, indulge in tasty bites prepared by The Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef, Umit Kaygusuz, and dance the night away with DJ Malik. Click here for a peek at delicious menu.
Events on Friday, March 6:
— What’s Altitude Got To Do With It? – Seminar & Luncheon
Michael Schachner, Spanish and South American Editor at Wine Enthusiast, leads a winemaker panel discussion and tasting that explores the wines, the effect of elevation (or lack thereof), and the exciting future of these regions.
— Siduri: 25 Years of Cruising the Pacific Coastline – Seminar
Siduri winemaker Adam Lee facilitates a celebratory retrospective tasting. Explore the wines, along with Siduri’s partners in the vineyard, a handful of growers from this famously sunny yet cool stretch of coastline, who will share stories about growing and making Pinot Noir together for the last 25 years.
—Friday Grand Tasting
Here’s your opportunity to do a true vertical tasting. The room is conveniently organized by region as you taste through more than 100 Pinot Noir producers from around the world gathered in the Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara’s Grand Ballroom.
—The Bollinger Experience – Seminar
This seminar (for passport holders only) explores Bollinger Champagne’s age-old winemaking artistry, the role of Pinot Noir in its bubbles
– The World of Pinot Noir’s 20th Anniversary Founders Dinner
The festival founders in attendance include, Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards, Dick and Jenny Doré of Foxes Vineyards & Winery, Anne Moses and James Hall of Patz & Hall Winery, David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard, and Steve and Paula Dooley of Stephen Ross Wine Cellars. The wine will flow and the stories will unfold as guests enjoy a five-course menu prepared by Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef Umit Kaygusuz.
—The World Tour of Pinot Noir Pairings Dinner
Spotlighting the preeminent wines and cuisines from some of the most storied Pinot Noir frontier regions on the planet, including Italy’s Alto Adige, Argentina and Chile.
— Celebrating Bouchard & Champagne Henriot Dinner
The World of Pinot Noir has the honor of presenting Maisons & Domaines Henriot’s two most storied brands – Bouchard Père & Fils, one of Burgundy’s oldest estates, and the famed Champagne Henriot.
Events on Saturday, March 7:
– The Grand and Premier Crus of Burgundy – Seminar & Luncheon
This Burgundy seminar spotlights the region’s marquee designations: Grand and Premier Crus.
– Rosé Lawn Party – Presented by United Airlines
Always one of my favorite spotlight events at World of Pinot Noir, this “drink pink” event is held on the lush seaside lawn of Angel Oak, where you can’t beat the ocean view — especially while sipping more than 50 of the best Pinot Noir Rosés available.
– Exploring the Neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley – Seminar
This winemaker panel discussion and tasting will explore “The Neighborhoods” of Sonoma’s famous Russian River Valley, home to some of the most sought-after Pinot Noir in the world.
– Saturday Grand Tasting
Here’s your opportunity to do a true vertical tasting. The room is conveniently organized by region as you taste through more than 120 Pinot Noir producers from around the world gathered in the Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara’s Grand Ballroom.
– Vintage Burgundy Dinner
Jay James, Master Sommelier and Chairman of SommFoundation, presents vintage Burgundy wines from their extensive cellar in this one-of-a-kind, six-course gourmand experience.
– The 20th Anniversary Soirée Dinner
Don your cocktail attire for an evening of epicurean delights, wine and dancing as you mingle amongst the legends of Pinot Noir and meet the rising stars. This special dinner features a walk-around mixer of the World of Pinot Noir winemakers, sommeliers, wine world celebrities and a gourmet menu prepared by Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef, Umit Kaygusuz. For a peek at the menu, click here.
– Bollinger: Le Grand Dinner
This special dinner is open exclusively to Weekend Passport guests to explore the pairing power of one of Champagne’s historic houses, Bollinger.
For more information on all of the outstanding World of Pinot Noir events taking place March 5-7, visit worldofpinotnoir.com. Hope to see you there!