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Seminars and Speakers

The 2015 Grand Seminar topic and speakers will be announced soon.
Shown below is content from the 2014 Grand Seminar, held this past July.


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

2014 GRAND SEMINAR: Pinot Noir and the Doors of Perception

Not only at IPNC, but all over the world, a revolution is underway. Wine drinkers are becoming ever more savvy about their own personal tastes, and individual taste now rules our selection of wine. But what forms these preferences?

Let international wine journalist Jamie Goode open the doors of perception on Pinot noir as he interviews an array of guests who reflect on the wines that speak to them. Want a little cultural perspective with your wine? Then listen closely to Steven Shapin, a Harvard historian of science. Breathe in wilderness perfumer Hall Newbegin’s fresh take on aromas of place. Think your tasting notes are creative? Check out Elaine Brown’s wine cartoons, and see firsthand how she brings tasting notes to life through her imaginative drawings. Taste along with Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar critic Josh Raynolds and become fluent in the language of wine. Learn what happens when food enters the picture with chef Frank Stitt, who writes the wine lists for his trio of Birmingham, Alabama restaurants. Hailing from the Université de Bourgogne, Professor Jordi Ballester brings his expertise in sensory evaluation to the table, helping you explore all that wine has to offer, while Loire-born New York Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier of Rouge Tomate sheds light on wine and food pairings. And of course winemakers from around the world will be on hand to add their voices to the conversation.

The goal? That you arrive at a deeper understanding of how we perceive wines, how that perception is a reflection of individuality, and why that matters. And of course, the goal as always: to drink a lot of tasty wines.


‣MODERATOR
Jamie Goode, International Wine Writer and Author (London, UK)

Jamie Goode is a London-based wine-writer who is currently a wine columnist with UK national newspaper The Sunday Express. Jamie came to wine writing through a rather convoluted route. He earned a PhD in plant biology and spent several years working as a book editor before he began publishing wineanorak.com, which is now a leading wine website. He has also appeared on television (Richard and Judy, Sky News, BBC Breakfast, and BBC News Channel). He won the 2007 Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the Year award, and contributes regularly to a range of publications including The World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International, Wines and Vines, Sommelier Journal, The Drinks Business, and Imbibe. His first book, Wine Science, won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book in 2006. Jamie is married to Fiona, and has two boys, aged 14 and 15. Aside from wine, his interests are cricket, football (he’s a Manchester City fan), hitting golf balls, playing guitar and relaxing with his family.

‣PANELISTS
Jordi Ballester, Université de Bourgogne (Dijon, France)

Dr. Jordi Ballester is a researcher in Sensory Science at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon. Born in València, Spain, he studied Food Science at the Universitat Politècnica de València. In 2000, he moved to Burgundy where he started a PhD focused on the aroma of Chardonnay, which he achieved in 2004. After one year teaching sensory analysis in the Université de Bourgogne, he spent one year doing post-doctorate work at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute in Ontario, Canada studying ice-wine aroma. In 2006, he came back to Burgundy where he teaches sensory science and wine tasting for oenology students in the Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin in Dijon. In addition to teaching, Dr. Ballester is a researcher at de Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l’Alimentation. Most of his research centers on cognitive aspects of wine description and categorization.
Elaine Brown, Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews

Elaine Chukan Brown is a wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. Blessed with travel, and a wealth of in-depth time with wine producers, she uses WakawakaWineReviews.com to share more of the story. Brown’s previous work as an academic philosopher informs her views of wine and people. She brings the rigor, thoroughness, and clarity demanded of her previous career to her work with wine. In traveling through wine regions, and interviewing people, her primary goal is always to witness the life in front of her, be it in the person or in the glass. Elaine previously served as Dartmouth College’s Charles A. Eastman Fellow, McGill University’s Tomlinson Fellow, and Bristol Bay Native Corporation’s Student of the Year. As a philosopher and poet she has presented at conferences in Russia, the Czech Republic, Canada, and throughout the United States. Her work has been published  by Cambridge Scholarly Press, Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, Squaw Valley Review, Letters to the World: An Anthology, and others. Prior to her academic career, Elaine was a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska.
Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate (New York, NY)

Blame it on the Yquem 1937. Just one sip during her internship at France’s Potel & Chabot convinced Pascaline Lepeltier to begin her brilliant career in wine. After taking a wine class at Esthua, Lepeltier was fascinated by the idea that a profound distillation of geographic place and human culture could be sensed in a single glass and proceeded to attend every wine class they offered. Lepeltier prides herself for knowledge not only in tasting, but also in winemaking. By spending her time in vineyards and working harvests, she discovered the world of vin naturel and found another way to advocate an authentic and pure approach though organic or biodynamic wines. Pascaline’s energy and intensity mark her every move, whether she’s tasting, surfing or playing piano, ukulele or tennis. She speaks three languages, is a master sommelier, and has written for various prominent wine guides and books in France—including the Fleurus and Gault Millau—and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Vietnam, Brazil, Russia and the United States.
Hall Newbegin, Juniper Ridge (Oakland, CA)

Hall Newbegin thinks of himself as an accidental perfumer. Growing up in Portland, he spent summers hiking and backpacking around the lakes and peaks of the Cascades. If he can put a summer day on Mt. Hood’s timberline trail when the wildflowers are peaking into a bottle, well, that’s just the most beautiful thing that there is or could ever be. “I like my wines like I like my perfume, gutsy and true to place and the ground that it comes from!” Newbegin has gone back to the old fragrance extraction techniques from Roman times, steam distillation, tincturing, and effleurage to coax oils out of real plants and flowers. When he wants a fragrance, “We put our hiking boots on and go get it. We want our colognes to do more than just smell great—we want them to take you to the wild places that inspired them.” His muse is the quiet stillness of the mountains, the deep beauty of place. Real fragrance stirs up profound, complex things in us that we can’t even begin to understand. And it's all just a hike away. When Hall is not making perfume, he is clearing trails, making wild fermented honey wine, or harvesting wild mushrooms for dinner.
Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Locust Valley, NY)

Josh is the assistant editor of Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (IWC) and a contributor to winophilia.com, Tanzer's online wine magazine. He is responsible for the IWC's annual reviews of the wines of Oregon, California's Sonoma Valley and Central Coast, Chile, Spain, France's Loire Valley, Champagne, Mâcon, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, and Australia. After graduating college in 1985, Josh worked in wine retail in Washington D.C., followed by extensive travel and work in Europe's vineyards and cellars in 1989 and 1990. He worked in wine importing from 1991 until 2005, when he joined the IWC.
Steven Shapin, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

Steven Shapin has been a professor of the History of Science at Harvard since 2004. He has published widely in the historical sociology of scientific knowledge. His current research interests include historical and contemporary studies of dietetics as well as the changing languages and practices of taste. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books and has written for The New Yorker. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his awards include the J. D. Bernal Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science, the Ludwik Fleck Prize of 4S and the Robert K. Merton Prize of the American Sociological Association, the Herbert Dingle Prize of the British Society for the History of Science, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. With Simon Schaffer, he was the 2005 winner of the Erasmus Prize, conferred by HRH the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands, for contributions to European culture, society, or social science.
Frank Stitt, Chef (Birmingham, AL)

Frank Stitt’s fondness for humble southern ingredients comes directly from his roots in rural Alabama. Stitt's culinary journey began to take shape when he moved to San Francisco and, as a philosophy student, noticed that beloved cookbooks were taking precedence over the works of Plato and Kierkegaard. His professional path evolved as he worked alongside Alice Waters, Richard Olney, Jeremiah Tower, Stephen Spurrier and Simca Beck. Today those southern roots combine with his vast culinary experiences and adventurous spirit to add up to what can be described as a singular, deeply rich, and passionate approach to food. His flagship restaurant Highlands Bar and Grill opened in 1982. Soon after he opened Café Bottega (1990) followed by Chez Fonfon in 2000. He and his wife Pardis founded the Birmingham Slow Food chapter in 2006. In 2011, Chef Stitt was inducted into Esquire magazine’s Restaurant Hall of Fame and to the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.” Stitt lives in Birmingham with his wife and business partner, Pardis, and their two children.