The recent Anderson Valley Pinot Festival kickoff event, one of several events sponsored by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers’ Association, was a huge sold out hit. Hosted by Husch Vineyards, the evening casual barbecue followed a long day of technical and very informative discussions at the Mendocino County Fair Grounds in Boonville.
The technical discussions covered many topics including a panel of wine makers from the valley discussing terroir, yields, vineyard management and other thought-provoking subjects of interest to industry, media and off course the wine loving public. Other subjects included a presentation on the evolution of viticulture in Oregon and new wine cave technologies. The discussions were opened by current AVWA President, Kristy Charles of Foursight Winery. The panel was moderated by a guest master of ceremonies, the loquacious Greg Walter, Publisher of Pinot Report.
Later that afternoon, more than 250 avid Pinot fans flocked to the idyllic Husch Vineyard grounds on Highway 128 in Philo. There they were treated to a most excellent barbecue of pulled pork sandwiches, an exceptionally tasty corn and bean salad as well as cheese and crackers with sun-dried tomatoes, all provided by a local Boonville catering operation. Picnic tables and picnic blankets were provided to make the venue as comfortable and inviting as one would hope for.
Aside from a sometimes brisk wind coming over the hilltop site the weather was very conducive to socializing and just plain enjoying the diverse group of people from all over the country including a couple from Minneapolis, MN. The music was provided by the Gate Crashers, who had the crowd up and dancing from their very first note. With the band stationed under the shade of a giant oak tree, this setting could not have been more picturesque. Amphitheater style bench seating created a half circle around the band to encourage people to move from the tables after eating to create a more intimate concert and dance environment.
It’s all about the wine however. The BBQ is traditionally a Bring Your Own Bottle event but it is optional and the many winemakers and vineyard owners in attendance provided a plethora of wines to taste from all over the state including whites and reds and many varietals other than Pinot Noir. This is a top flight event and should not be missed by those who enjoy the pleasures of wine country living or at least want to have a piece of it.
The rest of the weekend included a variety of events including winemaker dinners, a Grand Tasting at Goldeneye Winery, located on Highway 128 in Philo, on Saturday and Open Houses at many of the 39 participating wineries on Sunday. Nearly 900 people attended the Grand Tasting. A special treat and clearly a labor of love for the many local resident volunteers and from the wineries. This event occurs in May each year and is a “Do not miss” event!