SIPS . . .
The World of Pinot Noir Announces ‘WOPN Wine Month’
Throughout the entire month of March, WOPN will be hosting a series of seminars, virtual winemaker tastings, its popular silent auction, and the opportunity to sip exclusive wines from the world’s most-acclaimed wineries.
The annual World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) is pleased to announce it will be taking over the month of March in a global celebration of the planet’s greatest wine grape. March 2021 is officially WOPN Wine Month.
Normally held on the first weekend of March at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in sunny Santa Barbara, the 2021 event will be entirely virtual. While we all wish we could gather at the seaside resort, this year’s challenges have presented an exciting positive: the opportunity to expand WOPN programming beyond the normal three-day get-together.
This year, the largest annual gathering of Pinot Noir producers and fans is not simply going virtual, it’s going bigger and longer.
During WOPN Wine Month, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will feature a series of virtual tasting seminars, events, auctions and winemaker Happy Hours via Zoom, Instagram Live and Facebook Live.
“Each year, our 3,000-plus attendees often say they’d love even more content and more opportunities for intimate experiences with winemakers,” says Laura Booras, president of the World of Pinot Noir Board of Directors. “This year, we actually have an opportunity to grow those opportunities.”
New this year is the WOPN Wine Case Experience. Each guest will receive a carefully selected case of hard-to-find Pinot Noirs handpicked by our esteemed World of Pinot Sommelier Team. Then, each Wednesday (beginning March 3), David Glancy, Master Sommelier and Founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will host an exclusive winemaker seminar and discussion featuring three of the 12 wines.
Every Thursday (beginning March 4), WOPN will present a different deep-dive tasting seminar. These winemaker panel discussions will feature esteemed personalities in the winemaking community and delve into sites such as Bien Nacido, the terroirs of the Santa Lucia Highlands and explore the rugged elegance of the Sonoma Coast. Each tasting seminar will feature a collection of wines for purchase.
In addition to the eight tasting seminars, WOPN will host a series of free live Facebook and Instragram winemaker discussions and Happy Hours every Wednesday at noon (PST) and Friday at 5pm (PST), respectively.
WOPN’s popular annual Silent Auction goes virtual. Bid throughout the month on large-format bottles, exclusive library wines and one-of-a-kind experiences from scores of producers from around the world.
Here is a complete list of the WOPN Wine Month Virtual Seminars. To see the detailed month-long schedule, and for information on purchasing wines for the seminars, please visit the World of Pinot Noir.
WINE ENTHUSIAST HONORS GARY EBERLE
Prestigious recognition is given to an industry pioneer
Gary Eberle will be Honored as an “American Wine Legend” at the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards
Wine Enthusiast magazine announced it will be honoring Gary Eberle, the “Godfather” of the Paso Robles AVA, as an “American Wine Legend” at the highly anticipated 21st Annual Wine Star Awards, a distinction only bestowed 5 times in the last twenty years. The ceremony will be held virtually in January 2021. Eberle will also be recognized in the Wine Enthusiast “Best of Year” special issue, December 31, 2020.
The American Wine Legend Award recognizes an individual or family who, based on their lifetime contributions, has been noteworthy pioneers in the wine industry. “Gary Eberle has demonstrated his commitment and passion to the industry for decades, and always thinking years ahead to make a positive and lasting impact on the industry as a whole. It is a pleasure to recognize his contributions with this award,” said Adam M. Strum, Chairman / C.E.O. Wine Enthusiast Companies.
Affectionately known as the “Godfather” of the Paso Robles wine region, Eberle’s contributions to the California and U.S. wine trade are significant. Eberle was the first to place the Paso Robles AVA designation on the Eberle Winery Cabernet Sauvignon label and he subsequently co-founded the distinctive Paso Robles terroir as an American Viticulture Area (AVA) in 1983. With a staunch commitment to the possibility of age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, Eberle was also the first to plant Syrah on the Central Coast and make a 100 percent Syrah varietal wine in the United States. As chief promoter for his brand, Eberle has worked relentlessly for almost 50 years building awareness of the Paso Robles and California wines through his passionate promotion to consumers, media and trade across the country. These milestones have proven to be significant as Paso Robles has become a respected force in the wine industry.
“The science and technical art of winemaking, from respecting the terroir and what it can offer to growing grapes and making age-worthy wines, has taken me on a life’s journey that I’m thankful for every day. I am humbled and honored to be recognized with this award,” said Eberle.
Eberle began his academic studies at Penn State University where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He then attended Louisiana State University before heading west to California where he completed his coursework for a PhD. in enology and viticulture from U.C. Davis in 1973. “I chose Paso Robles based on Dr. Olmo’srecommendation that Paso Robles was the place to grow world-class Cabernet Sauvignon,” said Eberle. “I think we’ve achieved that,” he added.
Once in Paso Robles, Eberle launched his career as partner and winemaker with Estrella River Winery & Vineyards. In the late 70s, he decided to pursue his own project and acquired nearly 64 acres just down the road from Estrella River Winery. Shortly thereafter, Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon and opened the winery and tasting room in 1983.
Gary has served as a board member on several professional organizations including Founding Board Member of the Central Coast Wine Growers, Founding Board Member of the Paso Robles Vintners & Growers Association, and a Board Member of the California Family Winemakers.
In addition to being named Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 American Wine Legend, Eberle earned the 2019 Robert Mondavi Hospitality Award, and the 2015 Wine Lifetime Achievement award by the California State Fair. Eberle is the only American winemaker to be awarded all three distinguished honors. He was also named Wine Industry Person of the Year from
the California Mid-State Fair in 2002 and the Wine Industry Person of the Year from the PRWCA (back then the PRVGA) in 1997.
Charitable giving has been a key value throughout Eberle’s career, whether through donations of his wines, or hosting memorable events at the winery. Eberle conceptualized and launched the Paso Robles Rotary Club’s Annual Winemakers’ Cookoff which has raised over $1,000,000 for educational scholarships over the past 22 years. “If I had not had the good fortune of receiving a scholarship to play football at Penn State, I would not have been able to receive a good education and be where I am today. Seeing that kids who work hard and have the ability to receive higher education remains near and dear to my heart.”
About the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award
This year marks the 21st anniversary of Wine Enthusiast’s Annual Wine Star Awards, honoring the individuals and companies that make outstanding contributions to the wine and alcohol beverage world. The winners, plus special Lifetime Achievement Award and American Wine Legend will be announced in the magazine’s Best of Year issue. In achallenging year for all industries, we salute the dedicated beverage professionals who have innovated and flourished.
About Eberle Winery
Eberle Winery has showcased the history and diversity of the Paso Robles Appellation since 1979. Eberle Winery continues to be family owned and operated. With an annual case production of 26,000, Eberle wines are distributed in 34 states and six countries. Open daily from 10am to 5pm. To make a reservation go to www.eberlewinery.com.
San Miguel de Allende’s Burgeoning Wine Country Takes Visitors
Across the Dramatic Terrain and Architecture of the Heart of Mexico
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico — This Mexican colonial jewel of a city is probably best known for its architecture, traditions and art scene, but some may find it surprising that its natural light and beauty is also favored by winemakers. The region around San Miguel de Allende is one of the world’s newest places for viniculture.
San Miguel de Allende embraces its wine culture in La Ruta del Vino (The Wine Route). Wine country here is located right in the center of Mexico, in the Bajío area, known for its year-round spring-like weather and majestic backdrops of evergreens, cacti, farms and haciendas.
Visitors to the area will experience Mexican rural living while tasting fine wines and food pairings. Find out how to pair local wines with international cuisines, and learn about the winemaking production process and Mexico’s rich history of winemaking at different winery tours and events held throughout the year. It’s a fantastic destination for friends’ getaways, corporate functions, and weddings and honeymoons.
San Miguel’s wine region has four paths, departing the city in the direction of either Guanajuato City, Queretaro, Celaya or Dolores Hidalgo. The following are some highlights along each route.
Traveling towards Queretaro, visitors will find the natural, organic and sustainable space known as Toyan Vineyard, a place full of mysticism and energy that offers exquisite artisanal wines surrounded by unique medieval architecture. This site boasts mysterious experiences in its underground cellar and lounge with tours in three modalities — diamond, gold and silver — accompanied by a "pet-friendly" mode. www.vinicolatoyan.com
This tour ends with San Lucas and San Francisco wineries, sister properties just 15 minutes away from SMA’s historic center. Among lavender crops, olive trees and grapevines, visitors can enjoy the magic of oenology through sensory experiences — tasting tours of the properties accompanied by lavender workshops. It is worth mentioning that this development also has two hotels, a spa, a pool and two restaurants servng Mediterranean, Mexican and international cuisine of the best quality. Also available are polo, biking, yoga, horseback riding, grape crushing and swimming with the day pass service. www.vinedossanlucas.com
Heading out on the San Miguel de Allende Highway towards the city of Celaya, visitors will find the 400-year-old San Miguel vineyard, run by the Cuadra family. Its 60 hectares (148 acres) of vineyard are full of 13 varieties of grapes, including three popular in the region: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. The Bodega San Miguel cellar, measuring 10,000 square meters (108,000 square feet), is one of the largest in the state. This agricultural landscape of great history and beauty is considered a "must" in the destination. www.vinedosanmiguel.com.mx
Towards Guanajuato city and Dolores Hidalgo
On the way to Guanajuato City, on a hill overlooking the lights of the Heart of Mexico, lies the San José la Vista Vineyard, characterized by many as the most exclusive and beautiful place to celebrate a dream wedding. Employing traditional techniques and materials in the construction of haciendas, its vaults and adobe are star components of this majestic edifice, bringing back to life the essence of Mexican colonial architecture and generating an atmosphere of total tradition. The property boasts a restaurant, wine cellar, gardens, terraces, a hotel and the place where magic happens — the winery. This is an artisanal concept, with first-rate, modern facilities offering Malbec, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, as well as four tasting options and wine pairing accompanied by a guided tour. www.haciendasanjoselavista.com
Continuing the way to the “Pueblo Magico” of Dolores Hidalgo, at Km 73 on the highway, is Tres Raices. This grand complex features enormous sculptures and artworks inspired by Mexican culture, a series of lakes and multiple spaces to escape. A complete concept, it offers local cuisine, tastings, wine tours and an underground cellar wrapped in 60 hectares (148 acres). Unique experiences include guests doing tastings while blindfolded to enhance the smell and taste; bottling one’s very own wine; and delighting in a five-course tasting menu. Tours of the property and open-air tastings are also available. Tres Raises also boosts a private tasting room, wedding space, a 15-room boutique hotel and the Terruno Restaurant, which was designed with traditional ceramic and talavera pottery in mind. Wines found here include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, and Malbec, as well as the Spanish dessert liquor Mistela. www.viñedotresraices.com
Advancing along the same path, you’ll find the first winery in Guanajuato, appropriately named Cuna de Tierra, or the Cradle of Earth. This winery offers its visitors four different experiences: tasting tours, food pairings, corporate events or romantic getaways. Cuna de Tierra offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Moscatel, Ruby Seedless and Cardinal.www.cunadetierra.com It is worth noting that all wineries meet the hygiene and safety requirements made by the local, state and federal governments in terms of Covid-19, and visitors may feel comfortable in the environment and can enjoy a pleasant visit.