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 Santa Barbara, 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 a couple of years ago 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, Santa Barbara wine country is lovely in March, especially if this drought continues.
The event has a new venue this year, which purports to have a bit more room to spread out the tastings and events.
14th Annual World of Pinot Noir
February 28 thru March 1, 2014
Bacara Resort and Spa
8301 Hollister Ave
Goleta, CA 93117 (map)
Tickets start at $110 for the Grand Tasting, with seminars and dinners in the $165-200 range. They sell out every year, and must be purchased in advance online. Plenty of lodging options are usually available in the area if you want to make a full weekend out of it.