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Seminars and Speakers

The 2015 University of Pinot Courses will be announced late spring.
Shown below is content from the 2014 University of Pinot, held this past July.

University of Pinot
Our guests consistently ask for a wide variety of informative seminars and tastings. We are pleased to offer eight different classes to choose from at the 2014 IPNC. All classes are held in the early afternoon following lunch and are included in the full weekend ticket price. Courses are held concurrently and guests will attend only their top seminar choice. All featured winery representatives and media guests are also encouraged to enroll, as this will not interfere with weekend responsibilities.

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Sensory Science 200: The Physiology of Taste
Matchmaking 201: Smoke & Mirrors
Chemistry 202: Dropping Acid with Elaine Brown
Gastronomy 225: Pairing Tea and Cheese
Regional Studies 275: The New California Wine
Geography 300: Loire Valley Pinot Noir
Field Study 301: Distilling Terroir
Climatology 312: The Future of Cool Climate Viticulture

Engage your senses and your intellect in this multi-disciplinary approach to wine tasting. Josh Raynolds, assistant editor of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar leads the class in a two-pronged approach. Firstly, tasting wine; how are your senses engaged and what does your palate perceive? Secondly, how do those perceptions translate into words?
Josh Raynolds, STEPHEN TANZER'S INT'L 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.

Pairing wine and food can be a mystical experience. What is it that makes some combinations so compelling? Join wine writer Jordan Mackay and chef Ben Dyer of Reverend’s BBQ, Portland’s hottest new culinary destination, as they delve into the alchemy of salt, fat and smoke, learning how they add magic to the Pinot noir pairing equation.
Jordan Mackay, SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE (San Francisco, CA)

Jordan Mackay is a James-Beard-Award winning wine, spirits, and food writer. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, The Art of Eating, Wine and Spirits, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many others. Currently, he writes regularly for the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as a monthly pairing column in Cooking Light. His first book, Passion for Pinot, was published in 2009, and his second, Secrets of the Sommeliers, co-authored with Rajat Parr, was released in October 2010, winning the James Beard award in 2011. His latest book, Two in the Kitchen, co-authored with his wife Christie Dufault, was published in late 2012. Currently, he is working on a book about Texas barbecue and two more books on wine. He lives in San Francisco.
Ben Dyer, REVEREND's BBQ (Portland, OR)

Benjamin Dyer is one of the chef/owners of Ate-Oh-Ate, Laurelhurst Market, and Simpatica Catering & Dining Hall, and former owner of Viande Meats & Sausage, in Portland. He has been cooking for the last thirteen years, cutting his teeth under chef Bill Hatch at Café Zenon in Eugene before moving to Portland in 2003. Originally from Kona, Hawaii, Ben has a deep background in charcuterie and all things meat. He and his partners opened Laurelhurst Market – a restaurant with a full service butcher shop and charcuterie located within. Ben’s latest project, Reverend’s BBQ, opened to much critical acclaim this spring.

Experience a different kind of trip, one not taken by either Timothy Leary or Hunter S. Thompson. On your journey with philosopher wine journalist Elaine Brown of Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews, you’ll craft experiments adding acid to both white and red wines, discovering how it affects overall balance, guided by the expertise of winemaker Michael Davies of REX HILL.

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.
Michael Davies, A to Z WINEWORKS & REX HILL

A small town New Zealander, Michael completed a Bachelor of Arts in economics, Scandinavian studies and political science at the University of Auckland and tested the unusual employment possibilities that afforded, before returning to Lincoln University for a post-graduate diploma in viticulture & enology. Prior to joining A to Z Wineworks, he served for six years at Chehalem as the vineyard manager and assistant winemaker. He has also worked in Burgundy, California, the Hunter Valley of Australia, and numerous regions of New Zealand. Michael and his winemaker wife, Anna Matzinger, together make the Matzinger Davies wines.

Pairing tea with cheese; while it may seem odd an concept, is delicious in practice. Tea shares many similarities with wine; climate, elevation, aromatics, acid, and tannin. Expand your taste perceptions with the nuanced creations from tea savant Steve Smith of Portland’s Smith Teamaker, and taste for yourself how they pair with a variety of Oregon cheeses.
Steve Smith, SMITH TEAMAKER (Portland, OR)

Steve Smith wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he uses one every day to taste, test, and perfect some of the most interesting teas in the world. Smith Teamaker is a wonderfully small teaworks on a shady street in Portland, Oregon where one may encounter the finest, freshest full leaf teas, tonics, and elixirs handcrafted in very small batches by master teamaker Steve Smith and his talented, hand-picked team. Starting after the harvest of 2011, Steve collaborated with Adelsheim Vineyard to create M├ęthode noir, an elegant mix of three high-grown Ceylon black teas, aged and scented in a Pinot noir barrel.

Author and San Francisco Chronicle wine columnist Jon Bonné shares insights from his recent book, The New California Wine, about the innovative producers rewriting the rules of contemporary winemaking. Learn the stories behind this modern revolution and taste selections from our Featured Winemakers that illustrate the cutting-edge techniques and showcase the uniqueness of California terroirs.
Jon Bonné, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (San Francisco, CA)

Jon Bonné is the James-Beard-Award-winning wine editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, and author of The New California Wine (Ten Speed Press). Fellow wine critic David Lynch hails the book as “An impeccably timed, beautifully written book chronicling a profound generational shift in California winemaking. Required reading for any sommelier, retailer, or consumer who’d left California behind for other pastures—it’s time to come home!” Bonné covers wine throughout California and around the world, and is responsible for the Chronicle’s wine and spirits coverage and its annual Top 100 Wines. He also contributes a regular column to Decanter magazine, and serves as the USA Regional Chair for the Decanter World Wine Awards. He currently lives in San Francisco.

Sancerre. Muscadet. Vouvray. Think Loire Valley wines and you are mostly likely thinking white varietals. But the Loire has a little secret that few know of – Pinot noir. Take a cognoscenti’s tour of these unique wines with Loire-born Pascaline Lepeltier, sommelier of New York’s Rouge Tomate. She will share her lifetime affection for the region’s Pinot noir wines and lead you through a tasting of favorites.
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.

In the world of wine, we often talk about terroir and how it speaks to place. How is it that a physical place can be captured in liquid form? In this unique field study course, Hall Newbegin, head wilderness perfumer at Juniper Ridge, the world’s sole wild fragrance company, leads an outdoor foraging expedition in nearby Cozine Creek canyon. You will collect local flora and distill it on site, capturing terroir in a most distinct fashion.
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.

Oregon’s state climatologist Greg Jones discusses the science behind climate change and what it means for the vineyards and wines of Oregon and elsewhere. Afterward, Vajra Stratigos leads a tasting of Pinot noir wines produced in both cool and warm vintages to illustrate the impact of weather on the finished product.

Gregory Jones is a professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University who specializes in the study of climate structure and suitability for viticulture, and how climate variability and change influence grapevine growth, wine production, and quality. He holds a BA and PhD from the University of Virginia in environmental sciences with a concentration in atmospheric sciences. His teaching and research interests include: meteorology, climatology, hydrology, and agriculture with a dissertation on the climatology of viticulture in Bordeaux, France with a focus on the spatial differences in grapevine phenology, grape composition and yield, and the resulting wine quality. He conducts applied research for the grape and wine industry in Oregon and has given hundreds of international, national, and regional presentations on climate and wine-related research.
Vajra Stratigos, FIFTH GROUP RESTAURANTS (Atlanta, GA)

Learning the importance of food, cooking and dining has been paramount throughout Vajra’s life. During the 1990’s, Vajra travelled extensively, training with notable chefs in Italy, California, and France. He shifted his focus toward wine in the fall of 1993 and continued his education at Colorado University. Now in Atlanta, Vajra works with Fifth Group Restaurants as Director of Operations & Director of Beverage. Vajra oversees and collaborates with all company chefs on special event menus, and supervises general menu direction. Among other awards, Vajra has achieved certifications from the International Sommelier Guild, the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Society of Wine Educators, and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. He received the People’s Choice Award at the High Museum Wine Auction’s “Oscars of Wine” and was named the 2007 “Rising Star Sommelier” by Starchefs.com.