Ever wonder how our wine experts take on the challenge of choosing just 60 wines to participate in each year’s Pigs & Pinot event? Daryl Groom, award-winning winemaker and Pigs & Pinot wine coordinator, shares his process of filling these coveted wine slots. For more information about Daryl please visit groomwines.com
HOW ARE TASTE WINES CHOSEN?
Daryl Groom, Pigs & Pinot Wine Program Manager
DARYL: Each year we have an open call and allow any pinot noir maker from any region around the world to submit their entry (interested wineries can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our goal is to give all quality producing wineries a chance to showcase their wines, however, since we are limited to show only 60 wines per year, many qualified wineries are added to our waitlist and provided with the opportunity to showcase their wines the following year. Wines that are confirmed to participate are only guaranteed to show during the present year’s event, as it is important for us to rotate wineries in and out of the line up in order to allow room for new brands and to keep each year’s event interesting and fresh. With that said there are a small handful of wineries that our Pigs & Pinot team feel are of the best in the world and these you may see at the event each year.
Along with the individual winery requests we also ask our Sommelier Team for their recommendations. Invitations to these nominated wineries are sent in the July prior to the event and all participating wines are confirmed by the end of the year.
Local Sonoma County wineries will always make up the majority of the 60 wines chosen; however, as this is an international pinot noir event it is important to include pinots from other parts of California, Oregon, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere.
It is very important to us to provide our guests with an impressive selection of the most delicious and sophisticated pinots; therefore, each year’s wine portfolio is a blend of old favorites and new discoveries.
HOW ARE PINOT CUP JUDGES CHOSEN?
DARYL: Our Pigs & Pinot committee of wine experts is responsible for choosing our Pinot Cup judges. We seek industry experts, usually in the media field, who have great tasting experience and a deep knowledge of wine. We try to select one local judge, one from greater California and one with national status.
HOW ARE SMACKDOWN WINES CHOSEN?
DARYL: Each participating Pigs & Pinot Smackdown Sommelier is responsible for choosing (and “selling”) their favorite four wines that they have discovered within the past year.
HOW ARE GALA WINES CHOSEN?
DARYL: We choose five select wines to pair with each Gala dinner dish. Two of the wines must be anchor brands from California. These are very high quality, high profile wines that have been well established or recently rated very well in notable wine publications. The third wine is the winner of last year’s Pinot Cup and the fourth is always a Burgundy hand selected by our Pigs & Pinot wine team. The fifth and final wine is either a high profile or new and exciting international brand.