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2012 Pinot on the River Festival: Oct 21, Healdsburg, CA

Now is a wonderful, if slightly manic time to be wandering around wine country. Harvest is, for some, complete, and wines are bubbling and burbling their way through fermentations. For others, harvest will be a languorous process this year, thanks to nearly perfect weather. Either way, it's the time of year that wine country really POTRBanner2012.jpgbecomes wine country. As the afternoon sun angles low, life gets pretty idyllic around Sonoma, and the timing is good to relax with friends and a nice glass of wine. Which is why, I suppose, around this time of year we are treated to the opportunity to attend The Pinot on The River Festival .

Now in its ninth year of providing an intimate and casual way to enjoy some of the best Pinot Noirs from Sonoma county and around the state, this festival is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Originally a multi-day event replete with tours and winemaker dinners, the event has been scaled back to be simply a walk-around tasting of wine in the beautiful plaza square in Healdsburg, at the heart of the Russian River Valley. While it no longer involves a lot of bells and whistles, the event is still an opportunity to taste a lot of really great wine for not that much money, so I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Pinot Noir, or who is interested in learning whether or not they do.

This year's event includes a seminar with Ted Lemon of Littorai wines, talking about Pinot Noir in depth with Greg Walter, the man behind The PinotReport, for those who have opted for VIP tickets (which also get you early access to the tasting).

If you're interested in the wines that are poured at the event, here's the list of wineries scheduled to attend.

Pinot on The River Festival 2012
Sunday, October 21st
12:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Healdsburg Plaza in Downtown
Healdsburg, CA 95448

Tickets will run you $75 for the tasting, and if you pay $85 you get early access, $150 gets you VIP seating (instead of walking around) plus access to the Ted Lemon seminar at 9 AM that morning. Buy tickets online here.

Who knows what the weather will be like for this event. It could be in the seventies and sunny, or it could be downright chilly, and even wet, so if you're going, make sure to bring something to keep you warm. Dress for the event is casual, and my usual tips for public tastings apply: wear dark clothes, come with a full stomach, drink lots of water, and spit if you really want to enjoy the tasting.

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