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Monday, May 09, 2011

If I weren't the keynote speaker, I'd want to be in the audience for this one. The 2011 Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, sponsored by Oak Knoll Winery and organized by PR veteran Jo Diaz, is scheduled for June 9th. This one-day round table event is sure to challenge and inspire. And the timing of the topic couldn't be better.

The Big Question being asked is "what specifically is the potential for Oregon Pinot Gris, with particular reference to terroir?” I will open the discussion with some thoughts and questions, and then attendees will weigh in with comments and questions of their own. As you all know, pinot grigio is a hot commodity these days. But pinot gris is a different critter, at least from a marketing perspective.

In my experience, there are meaningful stylistic differences between gris and grigio, and the decision to call your wine pinot gris rather than pinot grigio is more complex and nuanced than the debate over Sauv blanc/Fumé blanc or Syrah/Shiraz. Furthermore, I believe Oregon has a stylistic edge with the grape that is both distinctive and desirable, and still allows room to explore and express the impact of terroir from different AVAs.

The seminar is open to those who are most immediately involved in the production of Oregon Pinot Gris – particularly growers and winemakers. Interested media and marketing people may also apply, but there are very few spaces available. The goal here is to roll up our sleeves and get some real work done.

Oak Knoll’s President Greg Lint says that the mission of this symposium is "studying Pinot Gris and defining it as a wine grape perfectly suited to Oregon, and being the best value on the market.” This is Oregon’s largest white wine grape crop. But it has not acquired either the cachet or the specificity of Oregon Pinot Noir.

Here is the day's lineup:

Keynote Speaker ~ Paul Gregutt

Viticulture ~ Al MacDonald, Chemeketa Community College Vineyard Management Programs. Topic: “Understanding the Terroir of Oregon Pinot Gris”

Enology ~ Robert Brittan, Robert Brittan Vineyards; Jason Bull, Zimri Cellars and winemaker at David Hill Vineyards & Winery; Jeff Herinckx, Oak Knoll Winery. Topic: “Crafting Your Signature Pinot Gris”

Marketing ~ Ryan Lumaco, Odom-Southern Distributors of Oregon. Topic: “Having Your Pinot Gris Stand Out from the Oregon Crowd” and Eugenia Keegan, Vineyard Consultant. Topic: “Having Your Pinot Gris Stand Out from the National Crowd”

In advance of the symposium, registered participants will have the opportunity to submit wines for review and/or discussion, and specific questions. Myself and other media representatives will be available to participate in a Best Of Oregon Pinot Gris tasting and Q&A session in the afternoon.

Registrations may be made on line here.

For more details and updates, visit here.

2 comments:

Jo Diaz said...

Thanks for posting this story, Paul, about the Pinot Gris Symposium. We couldn't think of a better keynote speaker, and are really looking forward to your thoughts. Writers play a key role in the production of wines being generated... You bring perspectives "to the people," and people respect your palates. Writers are the rudders of the boats.

This promises to be an amazing day. We're going to be listing those who will be attending on the Oak Knoll site shortly, and I'll begin to get the participants to ship their PG off to PG (fun) starting today!

I'm really looking forward to finally meeting you live and in person, versus always over the Internet...

One month and counting!

Anonymous said...

It's too bad they don't focus more on Pinot Blanc. In my experience, based mostly on old-world offerings, it can be a far more satisying wine. As hard as I try to like it, Pinot Gris from Oregon seems to overwhelm and/or clash with most foods; and it doesn't stand alone very well either. Perhaps they can "tone" it down a bit . . .

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