21st Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival: May 19, Navarro, CA

California Pinot Noir lovers take note. Wine lovers with a free weekend, listen up. It’s Spring, and the wine events are coming fast and furious. It seems like every week there’s a new wine tasting to go to. But some are more worth paying attention to than others.

Anderson Valley has been growing some of Northern California’s best Pinot Noirs for years. But because it is somewhat out of the way, many fewer people visit it than Napa or Sonoma.

But if you ever needed an excuse to go, the best one you can get is the region’s annual Pinot Noir festival.

Not only is this a gorgeous time of year in the Anderson Valley, but the Pinot Noirs on offer include a few of the better ones in the state. This isn’t a huge tasting, and consequently you’ll find very few huge wineries there. Instead you’ll find a bunch of small, dedicated growers and producers pouring their (mostly) small production wines.

Usually held at the Fairgrounds in Booneville or at the Goldeneye Winery, this year the event has moved to a new home that has many things going for it, including much more housing available for those visitors looking to make a weekend of it. The new home of the festival is Camp Navarro, a complex of dorms and halls in the stunning redwoods outside of the little town of Navarro.

The event begins with a full day of technical seminars on Friday, May 18th, followed by a BBQ at Husch Vineyards that evening. The main event is the following day on Saturday, which features the grand tasting, and then a happy hour wth live music and dancing. Alternatively you can attend the winemaker dinner, where you can have a multi-course meal paired with wines poured by a local winemaker at each table.

More than 50 wineries will be pouring their wines at the Grand Tasting, including Artevino/Maple Creek Winery, Balo Vineyards, Baxter Winery, Bee Hunter Wine, Black Kite Cellars, Bravium, Brutocao Cellars, Cakebread Cellars, Champ de Reves, Copain Wines, Domaine Anderson, Drew Family Cellars, Expression, Fathers & Daughters Cellars, FEL Wines, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, Foursight Wines, Goldeneye Winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Handley Cellars, Harmonique, Hartford Family Winery, Husch Vineyards, Kendall-Jackson, Kosta Browne Winery, Lazy Creek Vineyards, Lichen Estate, Littorai Wines, Long Meadow Ranch, Lula Cellars, MacPhail Wines, Maggy Hawk Vineyard, Maryetta Wines, Meyer Family Cellars, Navarro Vineyards, Nelson Hill, Pangloss Cellars, Pennyroyal Farm, Phillips Hill Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Roma’s Vineyard/Lone Tree Ridge Ranch, Scharffenberger Cellars, Smith Story Wine Cellars, Stella Cadente Olive Oil Co., The Withers Winery, Toulouse Vineyards, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, WALT Wines, Williams Selyem, and Witching Stick Wines.

The full event details can be found on the event web site.

21st Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival
2018 Grand Tasting
Saturday, May 19
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Art Barn & Bosch Meadow, Camp Navarro
901 Masonite Industrial Rd
Navarro, CA 95463 (map)

Tickets to the Grand Tasting are $150 and should be purchased online as they almost always sell out. The Friday technical conference tickets are $100 (yes there is wine to taste at this event), the BBQ is $60, and the winemaker dinners are $150 a pop.

If you are driving up for the event, I recommend giving yourself a bit of extra time to get there. Perhaps drive up in the morning and have some breakfast before the tasting.