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Seminars and Speakers

The 2014 Grand Seminar topic & speakers will be announced shortly. Shown below is content from the 2013 Grand Seminar, held this past July.

All Full Weekend Guests attend the Grand Seminar on Friday or Saturday

2013 GRAND SEMINAR: The Architecture of Pinot Noir
A gifted architect combines the simple elements of stone, steel, wood and glass into a work of art that invites us in and encourages us to stay. At its most basic level, wine too is composed of key elements: acid, tannin, alcohol and fruit. Like the architect, the wine grower aims to craft wines that are, as moderator Terry Theise often says, greater than the sum of their parts, transcending into a realm of harmony, beauty, distinctiveness, personality, and soul. Aren't these the essential qualities that compel us to love wine? Co-moderators Terry Theise and Eric Asimov and a hand-picked panel of international winemakers will offer you a new lens through which you can experience Pinot noir.

Eric Asimov

Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic of The New York Times, a position he assumed in June of 2004. Previously, he served as the editor of the Living section from 1991 to 1995. Eric’s writing has appeared in numerous publications such as Food & Wine, Details, and Martha Stewart Living. His first book, $25 and Under: A Guide to the Best Inexpensive Restaurants in New York, was published annually by HarperCollins from 1995 to 1998. He also co-authored The New York Times Guide to Restaurants 2004. Eric’s newest book, How to Love Wine, emboldens the reader to abandon tasting notes and wine scores in favor of following their own path to the wines they love.
Terry Theise

Terry Theise, winner of the 2008 James Beard Foundation Award for Oustanding Wine and Spirits Professional, is an importer of boutique wines from Germany, Austria, and Champagne. Known world-wide as a visionary whose love of wine is surpassed only by his appreciation of the winemakers who make them, his articles have appeared in The World of Fine Wine magazine, as well as many other publications, but some of his finest work can be found on the Skurnik Wines website. He was Wine & Spirits magazine’s Man of the Year in 2001 and Food and Wine magazines’s Importer of the Year in 2006. His book, Reading Between the Wines and his new feature-length film Leading Between the Vines explore the true meaning of terroir and serve as windows into the spirit of wine making itself
Steve Doerner, CRISTOM VINEYARDS (Oregon)

In 1992, after working for Calera for 14 years, Steve was ready for a change. It didn’t take much persuasion from Paul Gerrie to convince him that Oregon was the place and that Cristom was the company. Steve's goal is to make wines that have balance, wines that have weight and power and finesse and elegance. He honed his craft by traveling and studying winemaking around the world, in Chile, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. For Steve, Oregon is always home, melding the art of winemaking with the terroir of the Willamette Valley. The Cristom estate has 75 acres in vine, which are planted primarily to four distinct Pinot noir vineyards named for Gerrie family matriarchs. Hallmarks of Cristom's winemaking are a large percentage of whole clusters, native yeast fermentation, and minimal handling throughout the winemaking process.
Mathilde Grivot, DOMAINE JEAN GRIVOT (Burgundy)

Domaine Jean Grivot is generally seen as one of the finest in the Côte d'Or. At the end of the eighteenth century, just before the French Revolution, Joseph Grivot settled in Vosne-Romanée, but it was his son Gaston who developed the domaine. In 1919 Gaston sold vines in the lesser areas to buy a large parcel of the grand cru Clos de Vougeot. You can still see the gate he built today. He was one of the first oenologists to graduate from Dijon University in the 1920s, followed by his son, Jean, a few years later. Like his father, Jean acquired a parcel of grand cru land, 31 acres of Richebourg, in 1984 and was succeeded by his son Etienne in 1987. Mathilde Grivot, Etienne's daughter, spent the 2011 harvest in Oregon with Veronique Drouhin at Domaine Drouhin Oregon, and in 2013 we have the pleasure of having her join us for the IPNC.
Ehren Jordan, FAILLA (California)

FAILLA is dedicated to sourcing cool climate fruit from the extreme coastal areas of Sonoma County. Winemaker Ehren Jordan began his career with a two-year apprenticeship in the Rhône, followed by years of making wines for Neyers Vineyards and Turley Wine Cellars. Ehren and his wife Anne-Marie Failla founded FAILLA in 1998 and since then have built a winery and wine caves in St. Helena, as well as a reputation around a growing portfolio of wines that include Pinot noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay influenced by Ehren’s viticultural training in France. In 2008, The San Francisco Chronicle named Ehren “Winemaker of the Year”. Robert Parker, Jr., describes FAILLA as “A top-notch source of high quality, European-inspired wines that combine flavor intensity and elegance.”
Alexandrine Roy, DOMAINE MARC ROY (Burgundy)

After wine studies in Beune, Alexandrine took over as the 4th generation owner/winemaker of Domaine Marc Roy in 2003. She continued to further her wine knowledge through experiences in Australia (2004) and New-Zealand (2005). Additionally, since 2007 she has been the consulting winemaker for Phelps Creek Vineyards in Oregon. Because great wines are born in the vineyards, Alexandrine gives strong attention all year long to the soils and vines to bring low yields of top quality grapes. Then, traditional winemaking with 100% destemmed-grapes, fermentation with native yeasts, punch downs by foot and moderated oak maturation treatments allows Alexandrine to craft wines with soul that reflect Gevrey-Chambertin’s specific and unique Terroirs.
Sherwyn Veldhuizen & Marcel Giesen, BELL HILL VINEYARD (New Zealand)

Bell Hill Vineyard owners, Marcel and Sherwyn, are quick to correct anyone who calls them ‘winemakers’. They are wine growers, not makers. For them there is no separation between the vineyard and the winery. They take a very hands-on, traditional approach, working in the vineyard to coax the very best possible wine from Bell Hill’s unique soil. At the end of 1995, after six months in Europe, Marcel and Sherwyn returned to New Zealand and set themselves the goal of finding a plot of land where they could grow Pinot noir and Chardonnay with limestone soil derived characteristics which can be defined by structure, acidity and longevity. They gave themselves a time limit of five years to find this land – it took only six months. On the day before their wedding they signed the papers and their vineyard became a reality. Marcel and Sherwyn draw upon their collective experience to realize the full potential of their vineyard, with its lime-rich soil and unique minerality.
Hanspeter Ziereisen, WEINGUT ZIEREISEN (Germany)

The Ziereisen family is a traditional, extended one. Four generations meet every day over lunch at a huge wooden table, including  great-grandma Martha, born 1909. Hanspeter is responsible for the vines and wines. This requires a total commitment during the harvest period, a full and complete level of concentration. The entire workload of a single year lies in the hands of the winegrower during this time. The Ziereisen philosophy is that wines should reflect their provenance as purely as possible. This is why vines and wines are treated with great care by minimizing chemical treatments and filtration. With the help of his wife Edeltraut and their extended family, Hanspeter produces authentic red wines from Pinot noir, much planted and appreciated throughout Baden.