Monday, May 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Pinot paradise: Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta welcomes the World of Pinot Noir


Pinot noir enthusiasts and producers from nearly every corner of the earth will gather at the oceanfront Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta on Feb. 28 and March 1 for the 2014 World of Pinot Noir.

For 13 years, pinot-philes have converged on the cliffs overlooking Shell Beach for the annual celebration called World of Pinot Noir—but not this year.

That’s because organizers have decided to move the two-day event, held on Feb. 28 and March 1 this year, to coastal Santa Barbara County at 
the luxurious Bacara Resort & Spa.

“We look forward to welcoming those who join us each year, as well as newcomers, to our 14th celebration of pinot noir,” Norm Yost, president of World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) and Flying Goat Cellars owner, said in a press release.

“World of Pinot Noir is known for world-class wine,” event coordinator Damon Miele said. “With this year’s event taking place at Bacara Resort & Spa, our guests will experience a new level of accommodations, luxury amenities, and world-class service that match the passion and care our winery participants place into their wine.”

Chef and pinot noir producer Frank Ostini, at his Hitching Post II restaurant in Buellton, will speak at a World of Pinot Noir seminar on the Sideways-effect one decade later.

The new Santa Barbara County venue is also a nod to the place that introduced many people to the noble wine, as 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the iconic film Sideways, set in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley.

A panel comprised of participants from Sideways, as well as the recent wine documentary SOMM, will explore the effect pinot noir had on film and vice versa, during a seminar called “Hollywood & Wine,” on March 1.

Buellton’s Frank Ostini, whose restaurant The Hitching Post II played a large role in the film Sideways, will sit on the panel to discuss what the Academy-Award-winning movie did for pinot noir and Santa Barbara County, and what it means now.

“Quite a story—and I am proud to say that we have preserved our identity and integrity throughout all the hoopla and spotlight,” Ostini wrote in an e-mail to the Sun.

Following the seminar, Ostini will serve traditional Santa Maria-style barbecue to seminar-goers at a red-carpet luncheon at Bacara.

He describes the meal as “simple, fun, traditional, and delicious.”

“We will have our catering oak-wood barbecue grill and crew outside the Bacara ballroom, and we will oak grill natural rib-eye beef, and smoked natural pork chops. (Famously nicknamed ‘porksicles,’ [because] you hold the bone and eat it like a popsicle),” he said.

Ostini—a founding member of the World of Pinot Noir board of directors—is also a longtime winemaker. He and friend Gray Hartley started Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines in 1979. 

A Dierberg Winery representative poured a sample of pinot noir at last year’s World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting.

“Having helped start WOPN, I am thrilled that the events will be in my home region this year. We have been making great pinot noirs since the Sanford and Benedict 1976, a benchmark wine that got all of us winemakers here to join the hunt to create unique world-class pinot noirs,” Ostini shared. “Many cool climate regions of California and Oregon have been on parallel trajectories to make wonderful wines, and all of this is celebrated at WOPN. I can’t think of a better place to enjoy this than the beautiful Santa Barbara coast of the Bacara Resort!”

Another WOPN discussion will focus on Burgundy, France, the motherland of pinot noir.

Frédéric Barnier, winemaker for Maison Louis Jadot—a world renowned French winery that dates back to 1859—will pour a selection of wines at a tasting seminar on Feb. 28, and host a dinner at Bacara on March 1.

Hundreds of international and domestic wineries will pour their pinot noirs, and Bacara’s executive chef, David Reardon, will prepare pinot noir-inspired appetizers at two grand tastings, one on Friday and another on Saturday, all while taking in the spectacular ocean views.

Elegance in a bottle
The 14th annual World of Pinot Noir, two days of celebration and education, is Feb. 28 and March 1 at Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta. For information and tickets, go to or call 489-1758.

It is an incredible opportunity to mingle and meet the winemakers and owners from outstanding wineries such as Sea Smoke, Brewer-Clifton, Paul Lato, Kosta Browne, DeLoach, Domaine Carneros, Evening Land, Merry Edwards, ROAR, and many more.

I have attended World of Pinot Noir about 10 times and it is always an excellent experience. This year will be especially fabulous with the event at the gorgeous Bacara Resort.

Go to for a full lineup of events and tickets.


Sun wine and food writer Wendy Thies Sell can be contacted at

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