Here is a list of the major Pinot Noir Festivals and other major events also pouring Pinot Noir. If you plan to attend, purchase your tickets early as many of these events sell out quickly. Check the festival websites for further information and sign up for the mailing list to receive advanced notification of ticket and registration availability.
Central Otago Pinot Noir Festival
Held in Queenstown, New Zealand three out of every four years, alternating with the Pinot Noir festival held in Wellington. Begun in 1999, 200 people attend this festival. Held in late January. For information: www.pinotcelebration.co.nz.
Mendocino County Crab & Wine Days
Last 10 days in January. Crab feeds, crab cruises, winemaker dinners, crab cake cook off, and dozens of other crazy crab events throughout Mendocino County. For information: www.visitmendocino.com.
Russian River Valley Winter Wineland
Two days of wine tasting, tours, education, and winemaker talks. Over 100 wineries participate. For information: www.wineroad.com.
Month long (mid January to mid February) series of winemaker dinners and Grand Tasting with 100 wineries participating, mostly from Central Coast. For information: www.pasadenapinotfest.com
Pinot Days New York City
Smaller version of Pinot Days San Francisco and less crowded. See also Pinot Days Chicago (April 26, 2014), Pinot Days San Francisco (May 17, 2014) and Pinot Days Southern California (November 15, 2014). For information: www.pinotdays.com
Pinot Noir New Zealand
First begun in 2001, this festival draws winemakers and enthusiasts from all over the world to Wellington, New Zealand. Tastings are held with 100 top New Zealand Pinot Noir producers. Many world-wide wine luminaries attend. It is expect to attract 500 attendees at the next event. For information: www.pinotnz.co.nz
Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir Festival
This local festival in Melbourne, Australia attracts 150 people to celebrate Pinot Noirs from around the world. Held in late February. For information: www.mpva.com.
La Paulée de San Francisco and La Paulée de New York
Sommelier Daniel Johnnes presents this four day event with Burgundy seminars, tastings and spectacular dinners. Burgundy's leading vignerons attend. Alternates between San Francisco and New York each year. For information: www.lapaulee.com.
McMinnville Wine & Food Classic
Held over 3 days, Friday-Sunday, in early March at the Evergreen Air Museum. 160 of the area's premier wine, food and art vendors. Chef demonstrations, live music. Wines available for purchase by the taste, glass, bottle or case. Benefit for students of St. James Catholic School. For information: www.sipclassic.org
Pinot Noir Summit
Sponsored by Affairs of the Vine, this event began in 2002. Over 250 Pinot Noirs from North America are evaluated by a diverse professional tasting panel. The top 30 wines are then presented at a blind tasting at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, California. Awards are given to the Pinot Noirs voted the favorite by the tasting panel as well as the consumers who attend the event. Seminars on Pinot Noir and dinner with the winemakers are offered. 100 people attended last year. Held in early March. For information: www.affairsofthevine.com.
Russian River Valley Wine Road Barrel Tasting
Two weekends. Over 100 participating wineries. Taste from barrel and order futures. Very popular and very crowded event. The first weekend of the Barrel Tasting is also the Crab & Fennel Fest in the Russian River Valley. For information: www.wineroad.com and http://rrvw.org/crab-fennel-fest/.
World of Pinot Noir
This annual 3 day Pinot Noir Festival is held in California's Central Coast at The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach. Seminars, tastings of over 120 different Pinot Noir producers, and a Burgundy seminar, and other educational tasting seminars. Held in early/middle March. Register at: www.wopn.com.
This festival features the Pinot Noirs of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is held at The Mountain Winery (formerly the Paul Masson Winery) in Saratoga, California. Over 30 wineries pour their Pinot Noirs along with an auction and seminars. Over 900 people attended this year's festival. Held in late March. For information: www.scmwa.com.
Dundee Hills Appellation Passport Tour
Winery open houses and vineyard seminars. For information: www.dundeehills.org.
Santa Barbara County Vintner's Festival
Held at River Park in Lompoc. Over 100 local wineries, food from top local restaurants and caterers, live music. Sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Vintner's Association. For information: www.sbcountywines.com.
Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
This festival is held annually in Philo, California, in the heart of the Anderson Valley. Dating back to 1998, it is focused solely on Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley and attracts approximately 450 people. Lodging is limited in the Anderson Valley so many attendees stay on the Mendocino Coast and use a shuttle to the Festival. Held in mid-May. For information: www.avwines.com.
Memorial Weekend in the Wine Country
Visit wineries in the Willamette Valley Friday thru Sunday that are rarely open to the public. For information: www.willamettewines.com.
Paso Robles Wine Festival
Always 3rd weekend in May. For information: www.pasowine.com.
Russian River Valley Pinot Classic
A multiple day celebration of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir including seminars, Passport to Pinot, and Paulee Dinner. Last weekend of May. For information: www.pinotclassic.com.
Santa Lucia Highlands Winegrower's Gala
Tasting of Santa Lucia Highlands wines with gourmet food pairings. For information: www.santaluciahighlands.com.
A celebration of the producers who source fruit from the 96-acre Fiddlestix Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Saturday, June 19 at Fiddlestix Vineyard ($72.80). All wineries sourcing fruit from Fiddlestix Vineyard will be pouring along with great eats from Hitching Post and some cool fiddling. For tickets: www.fiddleheadcellars.com/events.html.
Marin County Pinot Noir Celebration
Marin County growers and wineries present their Pinot Noirs at the historic Escalle Winery in Larkspur, Marin County, California. Held in June. Price is $40 for everyone. For information and tickets: www.marinwines.com. Information also at www.malt.org.
Pinot and Paella
The 4th Annual Pinot and Paella Cookoff will be held at the Templeton Community Park in Templeton, California on June 8, 2008. 12 Paso Robles area Pinot Noir producers will be pouring and 16 chefs will be cooking. Proceeds go to the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation. Tickets: 805-238-5825. www.pinotandpaella.com.
Passport to Pinot
The Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) host an annual Passport to Pinot Barrel Tasting Weekend. More than 30 wineries, barrel tastings, library tastings, food pairings, entertainment. In 2014, the event will become "The Pinot Classic." Tickets: 877-650-3737. www.rrvw.org.
Vintner's Festival in Santa Cruz Mountains
Wineries and restaurants offer wine tasting, food, music, art shows, and other entertainment. Purchase glass at any festival location and the glass serves your ticket to all of the festival sites. For information: www.scmwa.com
Pinot Family Reunion
More than 40 wineries participate in this annual event held at the Vintners Inn Event Center and John Ash & Co. Restaurant. A Pinot Noir and food tasting is followed by a family-style dinner with live music. A portion of proceeds benefit the Sutter North Bay Women's Health Center. Many well-known Russian River Valley Pinot Noir producers will be pouring. For information and tickets: www.vintnersinn.com
International Wine & Heart Health Summit
Held every two years in a different wine region. Australia in 2013. Physicians and anyone interested in research on the health benefits of wine are cordially invited. For information, visit: www.winesummit.com.
International Pinot Noir Celebration
2010 marks this festival's 24th year. Held on the beautiful campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, the event is limited to 700 people. The lunches and dinners are extraordinary including the traditional northwest-style salmon bake. Besides numerous seminars, there are two large walk-around tastings of Pinot Noirs from all over the world. There are plenty of B&B type accommodations and small hotels in the area, but many attendees choose to stay on campus in the inexpensive students living quarters for convenience (walking distance to all events). Held last weekend in July. For information: www.ipnc.org.
Central Coast Wine Classic
Dinner at Hearst Castle, Paulee Dinner, educational and tasting symposia, bicycle tour, wine and lifestyle auction. For information: www.centralcoastwineclassic.org.
Mendocino Ridge & Yorkville Highlands Wine Festival
Over 60 local wines, barbeque, grape stomp, highlands games, rare bottle silent auction. August 2, 2014 at Meyer Family Cellars on Highway 128. For information and tickets: www.yorkvillehighlands.org.
Russian River Valley Winegrowers Grape to Glass Weekend
Third weekend in August. Three days of wine, food and art in the vineyards of the Russian River Valley. Winery and vineyard tours, educational tastings, bike touring kayaking the Russian River, Hog in the Fog outdoor food and wine event and the finale, Bubbles & Pixels. For information: www.rrvw.org.
Wally's Central Coast Wine & Food Celebration
A one day tasting of wines from distinguished Central Coast wineries paired with foods from some of Los Angeles' best restaurants. A benefit for the Michael Bonaccorsi UC Davis Scholarship Foundation. For information: www.wallywine.com.
West of West Wine Festival
A celebration of the wine, food and culture of the West Sonoma Coast. The Grand Tasting offers more than 40 producers and growers. Chicago (April), Sebastopol (August) and Orange County (November) California, all in 2014. Sponsored by West Sonoma Coast Vintners. For tickets: www.westsonomacoast.com/west-of-west-festival/.
Monterey Wine Country's annual event featuring over 45 wineries. Wine seminars, wine tastings, foods, and auction. For information: www.montereywines.com.
Mendocino County's celebration of food, wine, art, travel, and giving. Tastings, wine and lifestyle auction held on the Mendocino Coast. For information: www.winesong.org.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend over Labor Day Weekend combines two of Sonoma's most prestigious wine and food events: the Annual Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch with 150 wineries pouring, and the Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. Many winemaker lunches and dinners are scheduled as well. For information and tickets: www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.
Sonoma County Harvest Fair
First weekend in October. Sample the best Sonoma County wines and food at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 707-545-4203. For information: 707-545-4203 or http://www.sonomacountyfair.com/hf_home.php.
Pinot on the River
A three-day symposium begun in 2004 featuring technical seminars and tastings of California Pinot Noirs Last year 85 people attended the festival held in Sebastopol, California. Held in late October. For information: www.pinotfestival.com.
Tour Paso Robles. Held the third weekend in October. For information: www.pasowine.com.
Hospices de Beaune (Les Trois Giorieuses Burgundy Wine Festival)
Begun as a charity wine auction in 1859, it is now a three day festival celebrating Burgundy's food and wines. Thousands attend the winery dinners and tasting. Held in mid-November. For information: www.hospices-de-beaune.com/fr/hospices/index.php.
A Wine & Food Affair
First weekend in November. Wine and food pairing at over 70 Russian River Valley wineries. For information: www.wineroad.com.
Big Sur Food & Wine Festival
First weekend in November since 2008. Brings together roughed coastline, refined cuisine, and elegant wine tastings in the backdrop of the soul of what is uniquely Big Sur. Many notable California Pinot Noir producers participate each year. For information: www.bigsurfoodandwine.org.
This is a classy tasting and dinner featuring top California Pinot Noir producers. Started in 1999, it is held at the Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco, California. Limited to 300 people, the event sells out every year. Held in mid-November. For information: www.farallonrestaurant.com.
Oregon's Pinot Noir Auction. A weekend of wine, food, and fun to support efforts to bring healthcare to seasonal vineyard workers and their families. I support this event with an auction item each year called "Russian River Valley Immersion" where I host two couples for four days in the Russian River Valley. For information: www.saludauction.org.
The Great Wine Escape Weekend
Seminars, winemaker dinners, progressive dinner, wine country tours and open houses in Monterey County wine region. For information: www.montereywines.com.
Wine Country Thanksgiving
A three day open house in the Willamette Valley of Oregon of wineries usually not open to the public (also Memorial Day weekend - see May). For information: www.willamettewines.com.
Vintner's Holidays at Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
32 prominent California wineries participate in a series of eight sessions. Dine with winemakers, winery owners and growers in each session, moderated by some of the most respected wine authorities in the country. Two and three night packages available. For information: www.YosemitePark.com/Vintners.
Napa Valley Mustard Festival
Many seasonal wine country events. For information: www.mustardfestival.org.
Passport Program - Santa Cruz Mountains
For $30 receive a passport to Santa Cruz Mountain wineries, many of which are not open to the public at any other time. The 3rd Saturday in January, April, July, and November. For information: www.scmwa.com.
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