Whew! Just finished my third Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and, per usual, it was exhausting but a lot of fun. We had the perfect weather this year - sunny and gorgeous, with some clouds and a light breeze. It was the ONE THING that I asked for this year - regardless of whatever else would or could go wrong, I asked the planning committee to think positive thoughts about 74 degrees and sunny. Who knows - maybe positive thinking works better than I give it credit for, because we got a few degrees warmer but just about on target. Better than the past few years of 100+ degrees on Saturday.
This year was, according to the attendees, the best yet, and I only truly play a small part in making that happen. The host sites and a lot of volunteers and volunteer organizers really do a lot of the work, plus having some additional help at the AVWA never hurts.
Here's my "insider" run-down of the event, including the inevitable hiccups which (hopefully) no one but the organizers notice!:
We started Thursday evening with the welcome dinner at Breggo Cellars, which was great except for the fact that we misunderstood the request to "bring some bubbly" and had to scramble at the last minute to get additional bottles (for free!) so everyone could have at least one glass when they entered. Otherwise, the food was fantastic and it was as great kick-off to the weekend.
On Friday we had the technical conference and, new this year, an afternoon consumer tasting ticket. Again, our major snafu was that the moderator didn't realize we had one remaining seminar at the end of the day and ended up running really late, with most of the audience leaving before the final talk. Otherwise, the schedule was fantastic, with speakers like Greg LaFolette, lots of wine tastings like a Savoy vineyard focus tasting with Benovia, Roessler and Radio-Coteau, and food and wine pairings in the afternoon. We did some 2008 Anderson Valley Pinot tastings during lunch (I'll expand more on that later). Again, good food and good wine = a good event.
That evening was the casual BBQ at Standish Wine Co., which went really well except people ate about three times the amount of food that was expected, and Janis (my helper)had luckily stowed away some extra plates in her car, so we brought those out to try and fill in. 250 people ate 450 large plates worth of food. We all enjoyed the live music and watching the fog roll in from the ocean until we were frozen and ready to go home.
On Saturday we had a press tasting at Goldeneye's new production facility. Then the grand tasting, which went really well this year. Kevin & The Coconuts rocked the steel drums per usual, and the lamb and wood-fired pizzas were delicious. We even had misters this year in case of heat, which felt great when turned on but, as we found out, got the auction items slightly damp (oops), so they were turned back off. Saturday evening were winemaker dinners, which I don't attend so I'll assume they went just fine, and then open houses on Sunday.
The Foursight open house was great. We served about 300-something tri-tip sliders plus a ton of other food paired with our wines. We had a band from Mendocino playing latin music, and the day was so nice we made it an indoor-outdoor event, which was much better than jamming into the cellar because it was too hot outside (like 2009). We sold quite a bit of wine, and saw a large group of our wine club members who came to pick up their shipments. However, I felt so tired that day I could barely form a coherent sentence, so I spent much of the time doing dishes and helping in the background. A perfect solution, although I was crossing my fingers that the interview I did for the Napa Valley Register made any sense at all. :)
I'll post event photos as soon as I find my camera!