We’re celebrating 13 Years of Great Wines, Food, Fun, and Philanthropy this year at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from July 24-25. Join us for The 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit. Wine lovers will Experience, Explore & Learn with Winemakers.


When do you wear footie pajamas?

When it’s cold.

When do you wear footie pajamas during the summer months?

When you live on The Extreme Sonoma Coast where some of the best Pinot Noir in California (and perhaps the world) are grown.

It’s raining and it’s July! That just doesn’t happen here in Northern California. Looking at the unseasonable rain storm and the very cool daytime temperatures for the last couple of days prompted my dragging out this blog, dusting it off and updating it. It is just as relevant today as it was 5 years ago.

When I was growing up, I loved difficult math problems, working on giant jigsaw puzzles, playing word games, and tough physical contests. I’ve always been a multi-tasker, taking what could be an easy task and complicating it. It seems to make things more satisfying in the end.

Knowing that I thrive on challenges, it shouldn’t surprise you that my wine of choice is Pinot Noir and that I live on the far left edge…on The Extreme Sonoma Coast.

Hawk Hill Vineyard

The nights here during the summer months are foggy and quite cold, getting down to the mid to low 40s many nights.

Officially our address is Sebastopol, California but we live closer to the town of Freestone and less than five miles from the Pacific Ocean.

We live in what I call “Pinot Noir Heaven” or as many wine writers have called it, The Extreme Sonoma Coast. Here a few vineyard owners (some call them crazy) passionately tend vines to produce tiny clusters of exceptional Pinot Noir grapes. The wines made from these grapes exhibit unique characteristics, showing concentrated fruit in the mid-palate without the heavy alcohol or extraction that is often found in warmer climate wines.

Study The Extreme Sonoma Coast and you have the iconic definition of Cold Climate Viticulture.

  • Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, perhaps some Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. No Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel – they just wouldn’t ripen.
  • Harvest falls typically between mid October to Early November
  • Climate is driven by a phenomenon known as up-welling: On shore winds in the Summer and Fall are accelerated by the heated interior land mass which draws deep cold water currents to the surface and moves them closer to the coast.
  • Cool days in the 70 degrees Farenheit
  • Cold Nights 40 degrees Farenheit
  • Fruit matures slowly over an extended time frame with NO HEAT SPIKES. The benefit is full Phenolic Development at lower ripeness levels.
  • Heavy Fog at night drenches the vineyards. The breezes dry off fruit by late morning.

And the most amazing phenomenon to me…

Mother Nature’s Solution to protect against mildew and rot: THICKER SKINS. Producing wines of intense flavor and color. More…

These grapes have the potential to be made into some of the best wines in the world. Some of the wines being made here are exquisite. Some of my favorites Pinots from this area are Anderson Oaks Vineyard 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast; Halleck Vineyard 2013 Clone 828 Pinot Noir and Portalupi Winery 2013 Pinot Noir. All of these wines will age gracefully. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Come taste these and other gorgeous Pinot Noirs at The 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit at the beautiful Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada on July 24th and 25th.


Discover your favorite Pinot Noirs and other wines produced by award winning wineries AND help children, young adults and their families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders.


We’re celebrating 13 Years of Great Wines, Food, Fun, and Philanthropy this year at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa from July 24-25.

After 12 years in San Francisco…The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa enticed us to bring The 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit to Reno, Nevada. We could not be more thrilled! We’ve met the nicest and most enthusiastic people in Reno.

On the weekend of July 24th and July 25th, 50 incredible wineries will come together for The 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit. Ticket sales will benefit the Autism Coalition of Nevada. More than 400 guests will gather to celebrate great wine and great food. Tickets are on sale at now.

download 11.24 077The Pinot Noir Summit, organized by Affairs of the vine, features the best Pinots out of nearly 500 entries tasted by a judging panel of wine professionals over the past three months. The 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit celebrates and recognizes this year’s top wines and producers as part of the two day event.

On Friday, July 24th, the wine trade is invited to an afternoon event at the Atlantis. They may attend a workshop, taste the winning entries and other wines from the producer’s portfolios, and blind taste a selection of top-rated from the 13th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout. Trade Agenda
Qualified Media and Trade ~ Please Register Here

On Saturday, July 25th, a full day of events and tastings is planned. 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit schedule

JudgingPNS_PinotSummit_32The Pinot Noir Summit includes two seminars delving into the heart and soul of this unique varietal, an All Things Pinot Pairing Luncheon hosted by winemakers who will circulate as they pour their wines for guests, the incredibly popular and unique Wine Lovers Blind Tasting, and the evening’s Grand Tasting & Awards Gala. Wineries will showcase their award winning Pinot Noirs and other wines they produce. A selection of Pinot-friendly hors d’oeuvre will be served. Falynne Lewing, a 14 year old self-directed Michael Jackson Tribute Artist, will perform.

Sommelier Christian O'KuinghttonsThe Pinot Noir Summit, an extraordinary wine experience can now be combined with a luxurious stay at the fabulous Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, a Four Diamond resort. Named by USA Travel as the TOP casino resort property outside of Las Vegas and one of the top ten spas in the world for four consecutive years.
Under the direction of Sommelier Christian O’Kuinghttons both the Atlantis Steakhouse and Bistro Napa at the Atlantis Casino have been awarded Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence. O’Kuinghttons states, “This event is so unique because it brings together the wine industry with those who just love wine. There’s something for everyone at this event, including an All Things Pinot Pairing Luncheon, where guests can experience some of the country’s best Pinot Noirs. The event is more than Pinot, though, and includes the best wineries from around the country, who bring their finest wines, Pinot or otherwise.”

Pinot Noir Summit Grand Tasting & Awards Gala Tickets are $75/$85 at the Door

VIP All Day Pass Tickets to the Pinot Noir Summit are $125/$150 at the Door and include one Seminar, All Things Pinot Pairing Luncheon, Wine Lovers Pinot Noir Blind Tasting, and Grand Tasting & Awards Gala

Purchase tickets online here
Tickets are available at all Whispering Vine locations
at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa at the gift shop.

logo_headerAbout Autism Coalition of Nevada
ACON believes the children, young adults, and their families, who are touched by Autism deserve an early diagnosis, to have access to evidence-based treatments, and to receive accurate information regardless of age, income, or race.

Sponsorship opportunities for this event are available and include VIP All Day Passes to the event. For information on how to become a sponsor, contact John Drady at Affairs of the Vine or 707-874-1975.

Many of the WINERIES at The 13th Pinot Noir Summit are small wineries with limited production creating an opportunity to discover wines and wineries that are hard to find. Because Affairs of the Vine has tasted these wines three times in blind tastings, you can be sure that these are amazing wines!

Special Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Rates
For Reservations call 800.723.6500 FREE. Reference 13th Pinot Noir Summit for the special room rate or online using the group code SPINOT

Tracie BarnthouseTracie Barnthouse, Publicist at the Atlantis Casino expresses her delight, “We are so excited to bring the Pinot Noir Summit to Atlantis and introduce guests to our property. Guests attending the summit are in for a great event, and we invite everyone to join us for dinner in either Bistro Napa or Atlantis Steakhouse, both recipients of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.”


13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit Soars to New Heights… They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

May 10, 2015

Tweet After 12 years in San Francisco, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa enticed Affairs of the Vine to bring the 13th Annual Pinot Noir Summit to the high country of the Sierra and the spectacular Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno on July 24th and 25th. The Pinot Noir Summit, the culmination of the Annual Pinot […]

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9th Cabernet Shootout & Challenge Overview and Results

March 31, 2015

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1st the bump in the night and then…

December 5, 2014

Tweet the roller coaster ride. This has been a roller coaster year for me – mostly ups but a few stomach turning downs. We all remember some, if not all, of our childhood fears. There’s a monster in the closet, under the bed, the boogie man might come and get me. When we are older […]

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Tweet We are in the process of posting the Results of the 2014 Rhone Shootout here The list will be updated over the next 48 hours so don’t despair if you don’t see you favorite wine as yet. You may have to refresh your browser if you go away and come back. We Romanced the […]

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12th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout and Summit Results

April 22, 2014

Tweet Results of the 12th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout and Summit here Pinot Noir, the most exciting, confounding, and challenging wine there is has been the focus of the Pinot Noir Shootout and Summit for 12 years. We never tire of tasting these wines, enjoying old friends and discovering new ones. In this, the 12th […]

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February 18, 2014

Tweet Check them out here

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January 25, 2014

Tweet 8th Cabernet Shootout Challenge Results here… Back by popular demand for the 8th time, The Cabernet Shootout continues to attract fabulous wines from great producers. We taste and assess Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Blends.Each of the wines is more intensely judged than in standard, broadband competitions. Great producers of Cabernet, submit their […]

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332 Cabernets Face Off in the 8th Cabernet Shootout and Challenge

December 18, 2013

Tweet In the last 8 years, we’ve tasted over 2600 Cabernets in our blind tastings – never tasting more than 32 wines in a day. Great wines reveal themselves when given this kind of care and attention. The 8th Cabernet Shootout again attracted fabulous wines from great producers.   Beginning in October, we tasted and […]

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