World of Pinot Noir Beckons

The World of Pinot Noir is one of the most popular wine festivals staged annually in California. This year for the first time, the event will be in Santa Barbara at the Bacara Resort & Spa, only a two-hour drive from Orange County.

The centerpiece of the weekend events is the Pinot Noir by the Sea Grand Tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Feb. 28 and March 1, on the Bacara Terraces overlooking the Pacific. These casual walk-around tastings spotlight more than 100 top producers from all over the world, along with fresh, seasonal, pinot-inspired wine-country appetizers from the Bacara culinary team. Serious enthusiasts can even opt for early admission to have more one-on-one time with the winemakers.

All the big names in pinot noir will be there: Michael Browne of Kosta Browne and Cirq, Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Steve Clifton of Brewer-Clifton and Palmina, Ehren Jordan of Failla, Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead Cellars, Ken Brown of Ken Brown Wines, Ted Lemon of Littorai, and many more.

In addition, there will be a silent auction of large format and rare bottlings of the wine, to benefit the Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund at Allan Hancock College. This Fund was created in the memory of Bonaccorsi, who died suddenly at the age of 48 in 2004 when he was considered among California’s most gifted and passionate young winemakers. The Fund provides scholarships for students of the Allan Hancock College’s Department of Viticulture and Enology’s teaching programs, providing vital assistance to students pursuing careers in the California wine industry.

Tickets are also still available for the Hollywood & The Vine Seminar in the Bacara Salon on Saturday, March 1. Sara Schneider, wine editor for Sunset Magazine, will lead panelists on an exploration of why pinot noir has become such a Hollywood starlet. Frank Ostini from Hitching Post II Restaurant, where scenes from the 2004 movie “Sideways” were filmed, will provide an oak-grilled lunch.

I hope you can join me, and my Wine Dude sidekick, Eric Anderson, at this exciting event on the spectacular Gaviota coast. Whether you travel by car, Amtrak or airplane, don’t miss out on this pinot noir bacchanalia. Visit the World of Pinot Noir website at for more information and tickets.

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