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Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

The 22nd-annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, at Camp Navarro, May 17-19.

Welcome back, my friends – and happy May! This is always an exciting month in the Wine Country.

Not only are the first tiny fruit clusters appearing on the vines in the springtime warmth, but the season for wine festivals is heating up as well.

One of my all-time annual favorites is the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. It’s a Mendocino County tradition, now in its 22nd year.


Kristy Charles, owner of Foursight Wines; president of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

Until recently, the three-day weekend’s “big event” – the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon – was held under a giant tent at Goldeneye Winery.

Last year, though, the Festival moved to Camp Navarro a retreat site in the nearby redwoods with plenty of open space for the varied events of the weekend, plus cabins and camping space for overnighters.



A mouthwatering array of Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, in the shade of Camp Navarro’s redwoods. Photo credit: Kelly J. Owen


Here’s a quick rundown of events for each of the three days:

I’m about to taste a well-aged “library wine,” poured from a decanter.

• Friday, May 17, 9:30-4:30: Technical conference at Camp Navarro – Educational seminars on various Pinot Noir topics; breakfast, lunch and wine tasting included.

• Friday, May 17, 5-8: Casual BBQ dinner at Goldeneye Winery – Bring a bottle to share!

• Saturday, May 18, 12-4: Grand Tasting at Camp Navarro – Sample Pinot Noirs (including rosés and sparkling wines) from 50 producers, with Pinot-friendly foods to pair. At the Silent Auction, bid on special lots from wineries, restaurants, hotels and more – all benefitting local charities.

Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

The first glimpse of the latest vintage!

• Saturday, May 18, 6-9: Intimate winemaker dinners at various locales OR

• Saturday, May 18, 5-?: Buffet dinner, Camp Navarro; live music and campfire

• Sunday, May 19, 11-5: Open House wine tasting, music, food at participating wineries. No charge; no reservations necessary.


Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival always features local products – such as these specialty cheeses.


Kristy Charles, president of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, as well as owner (and fourth generation) of Foursight Wines, sums up the wineries’ mission for the weekend: “Our aim is that revelers will leave the festival with a deeper connection to our vineyards and an appreciation for the caliber of wines coming out of Anderson Valley.”


Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival

Custom mini-pizzas from the brick oven pair with Pinot Noir at Toulouse Winery’s Sunday open house.


For more details, or to order your tickets, visit the AVWA website or call 707-895-9463. Hope you can be there!

Until next time,
Cheers and happy tastings,


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