Simple Hedonisms is Off Again! This Week it's the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in Oregon

The flurry of July wine travel continues!  The dust of Spain media tour barely behind me, 5 days in Virginia for the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference and the company of wine writer giants like Jancis Robinson and Eric Asimov. A few days at home, I hosted my monthly wine networking mixer for 100+ Sonoma Wine-O's and now I'm off to Portland and the Willamette Valley in Oregon, for the world renowned International Pinot Noir Celebration, also known as IPNC. After a  few post IPNC days recovery athome, and off to Mendocino to judge and attend their 2011 Wine Competition and Farm to Table Dinner, Grand Tasting.

All Things Pinot

IPNC is an amazing 3 day event, and involves a healthy mix of passionate consumers from all over the country, as well as wine makers, writers, and Pinot-philes of all shapes and sizes.

Tastings, seminars, vineyard tours, dinners – it's a fun, heady, educational immersion in the world's sexiest varietal.

Thursday Pre-Events – 1975-2007 Vertical Tasting

Pre-IPNC events are occurring all over Portland and Willamette. So many in fact, that for the first time in many years I am skipping the Thursday Oregon Brewers Fest, hands down one of my favorite microbrew events in the country.

That Thursday afternoon Eyrie Vineyards is hosting an off the charts  1975-2007 South Block vertical tasting.

After that, I am headed to the Anne Amie 2nd annual Counter Culture event. This event is sold out again – not surprising after last years display of local food artisans, and great wines (not just Pinot) from all over the world.

If time permits, I'd love to drop in on Drink Northwest event at Red Ridge Farms, sponsored by NorthWest Wines to You.

Press & Speakers

The three day passes to IPNC sold out months ago. The media team was kept to a team of twelve. I am honored to attend with:


  • William Allen, Simple Hedonisms
  • Alyssa Rapp, Bottlenotes
  • Tim Atkin, MS (UK)
  • Talia Baiocchi,
  • Antoinette Bruno,
  • Mary Burnham, Food & Wine (2012 Wine Guide)
  • Katherine Cole, The Oregonian & MIX Magazine
  • Christian DeBenedetti, Food & Wine
  • Allison Jones, Portland Monthly
  • Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast & Seattle Times
  • Mike Thelin, Cooking Channel
  • Alder Yarrow, Vinography

The list of speakers is incredible, with heavy hitters like Eric Asimov  of the New York Times, and Allen Meadows.

  • Joshua Wesson, J Wesson Wine & Food – Keynote Speaker, Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator
    Eric Asimov, The New York Times – Grand Seminar Moderator
    Cole Danehower, Northwest Palate – Chef Panel Moderator
    Jordan Mackay, San Francisco Magazine – Sommelier Panel Moderator
    Allen Meadows, Burghound – Wine Ageing Seminar Moderator
    Laura Werlin, Cheese Educator & Author – Wine & Cheese Seminar Moderator

Friday – IPNC, Bright & Early

8:30 to 9:15 am – Opening Ceremonies IPNC Keynote Speaker Joshua Wesson welcomes you to the Celebration and the Featured Winemakers are introduced.

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9:15 am to 3 pm – Vineyard Tour and Winery Lunch (more info)
Travel through the vine-covered countryside to a nearby Willamette Valley winery where attendees will enjoy a guided stroll through the vineyard, learning about the distinct characteristics of the host site. Afterward, we put our sensory skills to the test in Name That Pinot, a team-oriented, blind tasting game where we join featured winemakers, top sommeliers, media guests and fellow attendees in identifying a selection of handpicked mystery Pinots. Following the blind tasting, enjoy an array of wines paired with a multi-course meal created by guest chefs.


9:30 am to 11:30 am – On-Campus Grand Seminar (more info)
Enjoy a tasting and comparison of ten Pinots with moderator Eric Asimov, wine critic for The New York Times, and five pioneer winemakers from three continents.

3:30 to 4:15 pm – Afternoon Chef Panel: Evolution of NW Farm-to-Table Cuisine
Join chef panelists and moderator Cole Danehower, Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Palate Magazine, for a two-part sessions dedicated to the past, present and future of the Northwest farm-to-table movement. Following a panel discussion, retire to the lawn where each chef will share special dishes from their kitchens

4:30 to 5:30 pm – Afternoon Sommelier Panel: Uncovering the Secrets of Sommeliers
Moderator Jordan Mackay and Sommelier Rajat Parr, co-authors of James Beard Award nominated Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals, will be joined onstage by iconic sommeliers Daniel Johnnes, Larry Stone and Kevin Zraly for an engaging discussion on the secrets of their trade and the role Pinot noir has played in their careers in wine.

3:30 to 5:30 pm

– Afternoon Activities (more info) At 3:30 pm, all guests will be reunited on campus to enjoy a selection of activities.

5:30 to 7:30 pm – Alfresco Tasting (more info) The first of two grand tastings in which 35 winemakers pour their Featured Pinots.

7:30 to 11 pm – The Grand Dinner (more info) Guests experience the result of years of collaboration and tradition as four chef duos team-up to create a Burgundian-inspired meal using NW ingredients. Celebrate 25 years of the IPNC under a star-lit sky with magnums of Pinot noir.

Saturday & Sunday

The agenda continues Saturday & Sunday, with similar events on Saturday.

Sunday is the Sparkling Finale (more info) – Raise your glass in a festive toast as you bid farewell to the 25th Anniversary IPNC and look forward to the next 25 years! Savor our sumptuous buffet brunch prepared by guest chefs and paired with fine Champagne and sparkling wine, and the Passport to Pinot.

Unfortunately, being home so little in July, and more on the horizon, I have to miss the latter two days. (Including some off site media sake and Riesling tasting invites. )

A Pocket Version  of the Three Day Weekend – The Sunday Passport to Pinot

IPNC welcomes guests to a grand outdoor tasting of international Pinot noir from 70  Featured Wineries. To maximize personal interaction with each winemaker, the event is split into two sessions. Approximately 30 Featured Winemakers will pour for each session and break in the middle for winemaker introductions. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet some of the world's finest Pinot noir winemakers at Oregon's largest outdoor pinot tasting. Top-notch Northwest chefs will prepare divine dishes to accompany an unparalleled array of international Pinot noir.

The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by our guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.

Last I inquired, a handful of these were still available for sale. Double check here, before they are sold out!

The ticket price of $150 includes a tasting of 70 wines poured for you by the winemakers, food prepared by  guest chefs and a commemorative tasting glass.

Follow the Journey Live over Facebook & Twitter

Battery life and AT&T 3G permitting, I will broadcast tasting notes and picture on my Facebook Page  and Twitter.  You can also follow the Twitter hash tag summary #IPNC2011 of tweets by clicking here.


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