Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Wine lovers from around the world converge on Santa Barbara County, for the 'World of Pinot Noir'

Pinot Noir lovers at the 2023 World of Pinot Noir event in Santa Barbara County.

Event showcases Pinot Noir wines from the region, as well as from around the world

"Here we its Gold Coast Vineyard, 33 year old vines, very special," said Paul Lato, as he poured wine into Ryan Clammer's glass. The Santa Barbara man tasted the wine. "It's good...smooth...fruity," he said.

Clammer just sampled Pinot Noir wine from Santa Barbara County’s Paul Lato winery. Lato is actually pouring the wine.

"We make small lots, so they are very artisanal, but we strive for flavor," said Lato.

We’re at the World of Pinot Noir — it’s the Super Bowl of Pinot Noir. It’s a more than two decade old event which brings thousands of Pinot makers and Pinot lovers from around the world together. In a ballroom at Goleta's Bacara report, hundreds of people are going from booth to booth, trying different Pinots.

Andrew Duncan is one of those making their way from booth to booth, sampling wines. "I love Pinot...but I'm also here because I do what I'm told by my wife," joked the Santa Barbara man.

The World of Pinot is the largest wine event in the Tri-Counties. Mike Dawson is with the World of Pinot.

"The World of Pinot Noir is the Central Coast's largest wine event," said Dawson. "The whole goal is to really educate consumers, and also help trade better themselves."

In addition to the two grand tastings, there were panels and seminars for winemakers, as well as lunches and dinners during the three day long event.

It's a chance for local boutique wineries to showcase their Pinots. Jami Way is with Gogi, a Pinot Noir maker in Santa Barbara County which happens to owned by a famous actor.

"I think what makes our Pinot special is that the owner, Kurt Russell, is that he does the blend himself." The GoGi name comes from the actor's longtime nickname.

More than 200 wineries offered tastings of their Pinot Noir wines at the 2023 "World of Pinot Noir" event at the Bacara Resort in Goleta

Jim West, with Lincort/Foley Wines, says the region’s Pinots have really developed a lot of respect for their quality.

"Climate, and the ideal soil (they are in the Santa Rita Hills), and because of that east-west valley configuration...the cool winds come in every down the vines during the growing day...we get long, extended growing days, and you put all that together, and you have perfect conditions for Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir," said West.

While the event highlight wines from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County, pinots around the world are represented. Deidre Cook is from Wine Australia.

"We have 18 Pinot Noirs from Australia here now, and we showed 18 the day before," said Cook. "There's been quite a lot of 'I didn't know they made Pinot Noir in Australia,' but we're letting people know, and they're getting to try it," said Cook.

While many are here to sip, sample, and learn, others say it’s just fun.

Shoug Albahar of San Luis Obispo said while she likes a nice wine, it's more about having a good time. "I don't know much about wine...I'm around it...and I drink a lot of it," she laughed.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.