This will be the fifth celebration of Pinot Noir in Wellington, held every three years since 2001. I write from a biased perspective, as I served as the Wine Director for the first two Pinot Noir ‘conferences’ and as a consultant and assistant to Sue Davies who was the Wine Director for Pinot Noir 2007. It should be easy to guess that I thoroughly endorse these celebrations.
New Zealand needs this type of promotion and celebration, as the different input is crucial for the development of quality, style and terroir expression of our most widely planted red grape, and second-most planted overall variety. There is no other promotional exercise that combines so many of our wine producers to work together for a single cause. If you are a Pinot Noir grower or maker, then you should be participating, if not attending. If you are a Pinot Noir drinker and lover, well, it pretty obvious this is a must to attend.
No doubt, as with the earlier Pinot Noir events, there will be speakers from all around New Zealand and the globe discussing growing, making, selling and drinking the wine. And of course there will be a number of grand scale tastings investigating the different growing regions, the evolution and development of the wines and how well the New Zealand wines compare with those from around the world. There’s also the opportunity to taste at one’s own pace and choice, from a huge selection that is made in this country. And there will be without any question great food, memorable meals and outstanding entertainment along the way.
All of this does not come cheaply. A fully registered delegate needed to spend $1800.00 to attend it all at Pinot Noir 2010. It won’t be any cheaper in 2013. And there have always been grumbles on the way. There have been murmurings that the speakers were all too positive and not sufficiently critical, the event being a back-patting exercise. Some of the keynote speakers were too ‘soft’, and the wine selections for the grand tasting not ‘grand enough’. Working from the back room, one can see how much effort has gone into such events, and being proud of our efforts and results, one doesn’t want to believe in weaknesses and a poor performance. However, the criticisms are fairly made, and should be taken into consideration, with the intent to make the next show better.
And that’s what the Board of Pinot Noir 2013, chaired by Alastair Maling MW, group winemaker of Villa Maria Estate Ltd has taken as their task. I’ll be looking at attending as a delegate, rather than moving hundreds of cases of wine and pouring thousands of glasses of Pinot Noir wine as I did in the first three celebrations. I’m confident that improvements will have been made, and that I’ll get a great experience by attending. Visit the website pinotnoir2013.co.nz