NZ Organic Wine Awards: 'Sustainable Vineyard of the Year 2024' plus 2 Gold and 2 Silver Medals. Full details

Our Foray To The Oregon International Pinot Celebration 2015

Jacqui Murphy's Management Log -- filing from TP HQ

I'm going to try and convince you, the reader, that attending the 2015 International Pinot Noir Conference last month in Oregon was actually work for Sam, Mike and me but knowing the content of accompanying photographic images from the event, that is probably going to be a stretch to convince you, savvy reader, that anyone attending this event is "working" it really is pure fun to be part of (even when your Boss refuses to carry a phone, has a tendency to wander and it turns out to be easier to drag Anjelica (our large pig) away from a bucket of fresh cherries than it is to muster out our Leader from a flock of Pinot Believers (Thanks again to Mike for providing the necessary strong arm when required...)

Adelsheim at night with twinkly lights and the Prop with David Adelsheim

Night One in the Willamette Valley was an unforgettable dinner hosted by the magnanimous David Adelsheim and his team at renown Adelsheim Winery. A masterclass on oysters and chardonnay (hard work really) then the ever accommodating crew at Adelsheim set up a screen for the first international viewing of Sam's, The Odyssey Abridged. No one heckled and a wild coyote was seen running from the property tail down -- a win for vinous cinema and roll over Sideways. Huge thanks again to everyone at Adelsheim -- respect and gratitude from all of us at TP.

The Prop at the lectern --Andrea Johnson Photography

First up on Friday morning an address by the organisers to all participating wineries with handy translations for foreigners such as "what is a bleacher" and a special mention to the New Zealanders about where to find the loos (Management still baffled as to why). Sam then shouldered the weighty opening keynote address responsibility. He did a wonderful job bringing together varied topics as ComicCon, Pinot grape worship, Scientology and justifiable tax breaks for 'Followers of the Church of Pinot Noir' - standing ovation material amongst this crowd. We're still a little amused that Raj Parr managed to frazzle the nerves of our experienced-on-the-stage Team Leader by telling him how "brilliant & funny" the opening keynote address was the previous year -- bravo David Lynch (and we enjoyed meeting David at his restaurant, The St Vincent, a few days later and concur with Raj).

University of Pinot Noir  --  A Masterclass on NZ Pinot Stories (L to R -- Erica Crawford, Larry McKenna, The Prop, Ray Walsh)

The Heavyweights of the New Zealand Wine Industry all assembled in one room -- it was like the G4 Pinot Summit except they were serious about their shirts -- Larry I'm-Australian-Actually McKenna, Erica Out-of-Africa Crawford and Sam County-Tyrone Neill -- that said, all these people now call NZ home. And to plump up the flat vowels we had the delightful Ray Walsh on the panel, who was actually born in New Zealand but now resides in Oregon (a Nick Mills look-alike too -- even sounds like him -- but wears shoes).

(The Prop insists he is 4th generation New Zealander, and that's true. "A nice woman just happened to give birth to me in Ireland." -- Prop)

Ray Walsh in downtown McMinnville.

Salmon Bake Fire and Sparkling Finale Brunch

We'd all heard about the Salmon Bake at IPNC -- it seems to be synonymous with the event and once again, reality over delivered on expectations as it's truly impressive. At this point we're now deeply in awe of the IPNC organisers ability. What's less talked about are all the other gourmet wonders available to accompany the open fire wood smoked salmon -- calling one of these treats a 'salad bar' is way too pedestrian when it's literally dozens of original glorious green offerings for those of us in need of a salad leaf, chargrilled baby gem lettuce with fresh peach and burrata, oops, drooling on keyboard -- must stop describing the food. It was incredible. Trying all those different dishes was work though -- remember.

Dana Frank and Sam. Sam popping the bubbles on her bubble-wrap dress and both cracking up with laughter

The Sparkling Brunch finale day -- oh no - it's over already? Hard to believe. Only one more delicious meal and forcing self to just try the sparkling wines (research for hugely important role on NZ Pinot 2017 Planning Committee -- really). The fabulous sommeliers that had looked after us all weekend went above and beyond on their final day -- some with grey faces and palpable relief they'd survived another year of four solid days of no sleep in 'The Dorm' and some in wonderfully colourful dress-up creations. Always good to catch up with Joshua Thomas and we loved Dana Frank, Wine Director from Ava Genes in her bubble wrap bridal gown. (Mike required again to stop said bubble wrap dress being over-handled -- hard to stop popping those things.)

The Marching Band

Leaving you with The Band that our Leader described as being "the only band he'd ever seen that was as good looking from the back as it was from the front" -- they seemed to like that comment. Nice film work Mike!

Thank You Amy, Anthony and your crew plus the world class Oregon Wine Industry for including us at your incredible event. If you like Pinot Noir, beautiful leafy rolling scenery, exquisite food and lots of opportunities to laugh and smile then put the IPNC on your bucket list people.

P.S. As we were leaving my Boss 'made me' say hello to someone we (well more me in truth) thought looked like 'East Coast Raj' of Daniel fame at Portland Airport as he'd been at IPNC -- look even though you said "No I'm not Raj of the East. I'm a dentist and I don't drink"(and seemed scared) -- we're still convinced it was you, Raj of the East -- well maybe.

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