Everyone's definition of idyllic varies, but for many people it doesn't get much better than standing on the cliffs above the Pacific ocean on a warm evening, watching the sun go down with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand. If that sort of thing gives you the warm fuzzies inside, then you're a shoe-in for attending an event called the World of Pinot Noir, held every March in the little seaside town of Shell Beach.
Over two days, Pinot Noir producers from all over the world, along with the people who like to drink what they make, descend on the Cliffs Resort, turning it into Pinot Noir Central. Seminars, dinners, and two days of grand tasting are on offer for anyone whose idea of a good time involves eating great food and submerging themselves in Pinot Noir.
I went to this event for the first time last year and had a ball. I especially appreciated the significant presence of many international producers, both from Burgundy of course, as well as Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and New Zealand.
I can't make it this year, but you should. An easy drive from LA, and a worthwhile drive from San Francisco, Shell Beach is a great spot for this tasting, tucked into the Santa Barbara County wine country. This year the event features some interesting extracurricular activities, like kayaking, golfing, and hiking (all with winemakers and their wines in tow, presumably).
12th Annual World of Pinot Noir
Friday March 2 thru Saturday March 3rd
The Cliffs Resort
2757 Shell Beach Road
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Tickets start at $95 for the Grand Tasting, with seminars and dinners in the $150 range. They sell out every year, and must be purchased in advance online.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune