Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival 2012 Tickets On Sale by valleyfog

Navarro Vineyards in Anderson Valley

Tickets for the 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival are on sale now at the Anderson Valley Winegrowers’ website. The event is being held May 18 – 20, 2012 at various venues in the valley. The Pinot Noir Festival has been an annual pilgrimage for us for many years and this will be the fourth year Waits-Mast Family Cellars will be pouring at the Grand Tasting.

This year will also be the first year we are co-hosting and pouring wines at a winemaker dinner. Scharffenberger Cellars will host the dinner on Saturday night, May 19, in a private dining room at their tasting room in Philo and will pour a selection of their sparkling and still wines. Joining Scharffenberger will be Waits-Mast and Phillips Hill. The evening will begin with a sparkling wine reception followed by a sumptuous dinner perfectly suited to the wines prepared by local Chef, Karina.

Winemaker dinners at the festival hold a special place in our heart because our attendance at these dinners many years ago gave us the opportunity to meet the winemakers and learn more about their beginnings in the wine business. Because Anderson Valley is more remote and therefore less crowded than wine regions like Napa or Sonoma, visitors get a much better vantage point in which to meet winemakers and tour wineries and vineyards. At some of the first winemaker dinners we attended over 10 years ago, the time we spent with winemakers inspired us to make our own wine and even helped us develop relationships with growers from whom we would subsequently purchase fruit.

At the Grand Tasting on Saturday, which runs from 11am – 3pm, we’ll be pouring our 2009 Deer Meadows Vineyard Pinot Noir, which just got a very solid 94 point rating in Wine & Spirits’ April 2012 roundup of America’s best Pinot Noirs. With our 2010 vintage in bottle, it is likely that we will pour some of our 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, but we’re still deciding which vineyard-designate wine to preview. In addition to Waits-Mast, there will be over 40 producers pouring at the Grand Tasting, including favorites like Londer Vineyards, Goldeneye, Foursight, MacPhail, Jim Ball, Elke, Baxter, Drew, Roederer Estate, Toulouse, and many more.

A plethora of wine at the BBQ

Also worth attending is the Friday night BBQ, being held this year at Husch Vineyards. There’s lots of great food, music and of course, Pinot Noir. It’s a very convivial atmosphere and guests and winemakers are encouraged to bring their own bottle. The table that holds these bottles quickly becomes a feeding-frenzy, getting the BBQ off to a roaring start.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the technical conference. For years, the technical conference has been a great way for us to get more immersed in the winemaking process. Presentation topics can span from yeasts and microbes to chocolate and cheese – all centered around growing, making and drinking the best Pinot Noir that Anderson Valley has to offer.

So, get your tickets now because they sell out fast. The winemaker dinners have very limited seating, the Grand Tasting is usually limited to about 600 or so attendees, and other events sell out quickly as well. Snatch up your tickets, do your research on all the wineries ahead of time, make sure you find lodging close to the valley (always challenging) and we’ll see you in May!


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