As I write this, Eric Johnson and I are preparing to attend the 32nd Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinnville Oregon. Occurring every July in the heart of the Willamette Valley, which is widely recognized to be one of great regions in the world for Pinot Noir, IPNC brings together the very best producers from Oregon, California, Burgundy and other regions where Pinot Noir thrives. Only 15 wineries from California are invited to attend so simply being invited is to be recognized as one of the very best producers in the state. I’m proud to say that Talley Vineyards has participated about a dozen times since our inaugural year in 1992.
IPNC was one of the events that inspired me, along with Archie McLaren and a number of vintners in our area, to establish the World of Pinot Noir back in 2000. I wanted to replicate the feeling of camaraderie among the participants, as well as the very high level of education and discourse that are the hallmarks of IPNC. I should also add that the food is exceptional and that it’s all around good fun! The Saturday night Salmon Bake with whole filets of salmon roasting over huge open fires, is one of the greatest wine dinners in the world!
Over the years I’ve made lots of friends at IPNC. One of those people is Daniel Shanks, who is this year’s Master of Ceremonies. We ended up sitting next to one-another at a Burgundy tasting in the late 90s, and struck up a nice conversation. When we traded business cards, I learned that he was the Head Usher for Food and Wine at the White House.
Over the years, I got to visit Daniel on two occasions at the White House, and he featured our wines on a number of menus, including a State Dinner with Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji in 1999.
This will be my first time back to IPNC since 2010. Eric has been a couple of times since then, so he’ll be showing me the ropes. I encourage you to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what we’re up to. Cheers! BT