World of Pinot Noir, for more than a decade the go-to event for pinot noir winemakers and aficionados, opened Friday at its new host location, Bacara Resort & Spa. And while the weather outside may have been stormy, guests seemed not to mind.
The two-day festival, known as WOPN, unites pinot noir producers and wine tasters for a weekend of celebration and education on the Central Coast. Until this year, the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach had hosted the event.
Pouring two pinot noirs during Friday afternoon’s Grand Tasting were Diana and Rick Longoria of Longoria Wines in Lompoc.
Longoria, who has participated in WOPN for many years, said he was pleased to have the popular event in “the backyard” of Santa Barbara County winemakers.
“It’s nice to have the venue be closer to where I make wine, in the Santa Rita Hills, and to our wine region in general,” he said.
The weekend included grand tastings both Friday and Saturday, a Burgundy seminar/tasting, several meals hosted by participating wineries and discussions led by sommeliers from across the nation.
Lynn Penner-Ash, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars’ winemaker and owner with her husband, Ron, joked that the Newberg, Ore., winery “brought the rain with us.”
She called Friday’s Grand Tasting “a nice introduction of our Willamette Valley wines to a new audience.” Penner-Ash has poured wines during three previous WOPNs.
Participants from the film Sideways, as well as from Somm, a documentary about four men trying to pass the prestigious and difficult Master Sommelier exam, comprised a sold-out Saturday seminar entitled “Hollywood & The Vine.”
Representing Sideways were Frank Ostini, owner/chef of the Hitching Post II in Buellton, and Chris Burroughs, who played Chris from the original Sanford Winery in the 2004 movie set in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Sara Schneider from Sunset Magazine led the panelists as they discussed why pinot noir is such a “starlet.”
Pinot noirs from Oregon, British Columbia, New York’s Finger Lakes region, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and more were available for tasting throughout the weekend.
The World of Pinot Noir was established in 2001 by a small but dedicated group of winemakers from California’s South Central Coast. It is a nonprofit 501c (6) trade organization.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at [email protected]. Click here to read her blog, Central Coast Wine Press. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.