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Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Once a year in May, Anderson Valley opens its arms to Pinotaficionados and stages its annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. 2010 will mark the 13th Festival which began informally with winery open houses and was formalized into a Festival in 1997. The casual, intimate event has increased in popularity in step with the meteoric rise in quality of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir over the last several years. Last year’s celebration of Pinot Noir was sold out with over 700 people in attendance. Held the third weekend in May (May 13-16 this year), the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival is sponsored by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival is one of my favorite annual Pinot Noir events. Each year I look forward to attending, attracted by the country fair atmosphere, the delectable local artisan foods, the warmth and passion of the local winegrowers and winemakers, the cheerful organizers, and the superb Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs which are world-class.

On Friday the event kicks off with a Technical Conference and luncheon at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. Don’t be scared off by the title, as the talks have appeal to anyone interested in wine. The Conference is followed by a casual BBQ at Standish Wine Co. in Philo. Saturday’s Pinot Noir Grand Tasting is the centerpiece of the weekend’s activities with forty wineries participating. Held in a large tent on the grounds of Goldeneye Estate, there is music, food, an auction and plenty of great Pinot. In the evening, Winemaker Dinners are held both in the Valley and in Mendocino (check the website at www.avwines.com for a listing). On Sunday, wineries hold Open Houses. Many of Anderson Valley’s wineries are small and do not have tasting rooms so this is a unique opportunity to visit. A list of Open Houses is also on the event’s website.

If you haven’t made lodging arrangements realize that there is very little lodging infrastructure in the Anderson Valley. However, there are plenty of very comfortable lodging options on the Mendocino Coast which is a short and picturesque 40 minute drive through the redwoods from Anderson Valley.

Guys can leave their Ralph Lauren polo shirts and designer jeans at home and women should forget the Jessica McClintock bag and diamond jewelry, this is a wine country event with no pretentiousness.

Kristy Charles is the very capable Executive Director of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association and she can answer any inquires you may have. You can contact here at 707-895-9463 or by e-mail at kristy@avwines.com.


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