Let’s be honest: We all have favorites. While you explore the wide world of vinous options, why not also take a deeper dive into the wines you already love?
Many are familiar, for instance, with the International Pinot Noir Celebration that breaks out for one weekend each July in McMinnville, Oregon. Now in its 33rd year, the popular event features educational seminars and vineyard tours alongside Pacific Northwest cuisine, winemaker meet-and-greets and some of the best local pours. But the concept has grown over the last decade or so, and additional festivals offer the chance to hone in on a single grape variety and sample its finest styles.
Marlborough, New Zealand
The Marlborough region has churned out premium Sauvignon Blanc since the late 1900s, and the variety now accounts for more than half of the area’s wine production. Only in its second year, this festival offers agricultural, scientific and culinary seminars in addition to 200-plus wine samples.
Zinfandel Experience (January)
Put on by the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) organization, this three-day wine and food event showcases the range of California’s heritage variety. It features four major events: a welcome, “dine-around” pairings dinner of local cuisine, a seminar-style tasting, an auction-driven gala fundraiser and a “Grand Tasting” of more than 100 different Zinfandels.
International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (July)
Cross the border to taste more than 100 takes on cool-climate Chardonnay produced in an inherently cool climate. Over the course of its nine-year history, this three-day festival has evolved from its original local focus to highlight up to 30 international wineries. Attendees can also participate in viticulture seminars, networking events and pairings dinners.
Barbera Festival (September)
Barbera may have originated in Italy, but since the 1970s, it’s been cultivated in Amador County, California. Winemakers and festival-goers have raised a glass to the variety here for nine years. In the daylong event, attendees descend upon Terra d’Oro Winery to taste bottlings from across the state, browse local crafts, catch a concert and stroll through the property’s famous oak trees.
I Love Gamay (May)
The new generation of Oregon winemakers is responsible for this annual event that encompasses two days of all-out Gamay Noir worship. The Tasting Salon that features samples from more than 20 Oregon producers draws the biggest crowd, but an educational panel and dinner party-style meal are also part of the fun. The event is held during Oregon Wine Month.
Pinot Palooza (individual dates, May–December)
With daylong events held in eight cities across Australia and New Zealand, plus Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, this is considered the world’s largest Pinot Noir festival. The tour originated in Australia, and each rendition features tastes of top Pinot from local producers and neighboring New Zealand, as well as select American, French and Italian samples.