University of Pinot | McMinnville | Oregon / by Jade Helm

Who wants to go to summer school this July?  Before you groan and skip to the next article, hear me out.  This is summer school like you never imagined. First, your lessons will involve wine - famously evocative wines. The meal plan will come from THE BEST farm to table cuisine the Northwest has to offer.  The instructors are leaders in the wine industry. The campus is the picturesque Lynfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

The International Pinot Noir Celebration is a three day annual event showcasing the many faces of Pinot Noir from around the globe.  Pinot Noir is known for her ability to translate place into taste.  “Students” will have the opportunity to experience this terroir in a glass from Oregon, Burgundy, New Zealand, California, etc. This year’s keynote speaker will be Sam Neill.  Known for roles in Jurassic ParkThe Piano, and Dean Spanley, Neil also produces award winning Pinot Noir at his Central Otago winery, Two Paddocks. The Grand Seminar will be moderated by Wine & Spirits’  Patrick Comiskey. 

This seminar will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of David Lett first planting Pinot Noir in Willamette Valley.  Celebrations often involve sparkling wines - one of the many faces of Pinot Noir. Guests will be guided through a flight of three single varietal base wines - Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay followed by a “dosage trial” to  understand how this step transforms texture, balance, and the final expression of the wine.  The seminar concludes with sparkling wines from Argyle Winery, J Vineyards, and Soter Vineyards, followed by Champagnes from Ayala, Jean-Baillette-Prudhomme, Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, and Henri Giraud.


Meal Plan

The IPNC hosts 70 chefs from the region’s most revered restaurants.

Friday dinner:

Courses from Andrew Biggs of Hunt & Gather Catering, John Gorham of Toro Bravo, Jeff McCarthy of Remedy Wine Bar, John Sundstrom of Lark, and Aaron Woo of Natural Selection.

Salmon Bake:

Features Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer; Ben Dyer, David Kreifels, and Jason Owens of Laurelhurst Market; Phil Oswalt of the Multnomah Athletic Club; and Jason Stoller Smith of Timberline Lodge.

Tuition and Inclusions

The 2015 IPNC Full Weekend Ticket includes:

  • Access to all seminars, tastings, tours and activities
  • All meals over two days including:
  • Friday night Grand Dinner
  • Saturday Night Salmon Bake
  • Sunday Sparkling Brunch Finale

Cost $1195 per person

Class Schedule

The scheduled seminars carry out the college theme; but this is not the college experience you probably remember. Here are the classes available to “students” enrolled at “University of Pinot.”:

  • Viticulture 300: Does Vine Age Matter with Allen Meadows
  • Pinot Noir 101: Sensory Evaluations with Thomas Pastuszak of The NoMad and Rajeev Vaidya of DANIEL
  • Study Abroad: The Nuances of Alto Adige with Geoff Kruth
  • History 125: New Zealand Wine Stories with Sam Neill
  • Gastronomy 210: Your Palate’s Next Great Pleasure with master olive miller Paul Durant
  • Alchemy 225: Classic Tea Blends Deconstructed with Anthony Tellin of Smith Teamaker
  • Applied Art 315: Global Comparative Tasting with Glassmaker George Riedel
  • Communications 410: House of Cards with Jordi Ballester and Matt Berson

Passport to Pinot

An afternoon of tasting Pinot Noir from over 70 wineries worldwide. An array of dishes from 15 top-notch Northwest Chefs, cost $125 per person. IPNC is held July 24- 26.  All tickets are sold on first-come, first served basis.  Reserve early, tickets sell out fast for this popular event..  For full details or to purchase tickets contact the IPNC at 800-775-IPNC (4762) or visit