2023 tickets are now available! Click here to view the event and purchase tickets.

The Grand Seminar

Planet Pinot – Vintage 2050: Visions for the Future


The Grand Seminar is the core educational seminar of the IPNC weekend

Featuring a wine industry luminary as your guide into the under-explored corners of Pinot Noir, the Grand Seminar is the touchstone for all IPNC Full Weekend guests.
Over the years, panels of wine experts have explored the regions of Burgundy, the Pinots of Australia, and the role of the winemaker in producing the great Pinot Noirs of the world. Each year, the Grand Seminar offers something new.

All Full Weekend guests will attend the Grand Seminar on either Friday or Saturday morning of the IPNC weekend depending on group assignment.

PLANET PINOT – Vintage 2050: Visions for the Future We will kick off the weekend with a welcome from our honored 2023 Emcees Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, American journalists, authors, and wine critics, as well as wife and husband. The centerpiece Grand Seminar will be led by our panel of expert moderators Diana Snowden Seysses, Eric Asimov, and Dr. Greg Jones.

Your all-inclusive weekend ticket includes intimate access to a global gathering of A-list Pinot Noir producers sharing their visions for the future of winemaking and winegrowing in each of their respective regions.

Throughout this special gathering, our team of noted moderators will lead the conversation while you sip on some of the finest Pinot Noirs available from our international group of winemakers.

The three-day weekend will feature over 70 top-notch international Pinot Noir producers, over 50 noted and award-winning chefs from the Pacific Northwest, a vineyard lunch and tour, and so much more.

July 28-30, 2023

2023 Full Weekend TICKETS
John and Dorothy
Dorothy J. Gaiter & John Brecher
The Grape Collective

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Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal’s wine column, “Tastings,” from 1998 to 2010. Dorothy and John have been tasting and studying wine since 1973. In 2020, the University of California at Davis added their papers to the Warren Winiarski Wine Writers Collection in its library, which also includes the work of Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. Dottie has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer at The Miami Herald, The New York Times, and at The Journal. John was Page One Editor of The Journal, City Editor of The Miami Herald and a senior editor at Bloomberg News. They are well-known from their books and many television appearances, especially on Martha Stewart’s show, and as the creators of the annual, international “Open That Bottle Night” celebration of wine and friendship. The first bottle they shared was André Cold Duck. They have two daughters.

Ray Isle
Ray Isle
Wine & Spirits Editor | Travel + Leisure

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Ray Isle is the wine & spirits editor for Travel + Leisure and the executive wine editor for Food & Wine. He’s published dozens of stories about wine, spirits, beer, cocktails, travel, food, and pretty much everything else over the past 15 years for both brands — at least 100, probably more. Ray is a regular speaker at wine events around the country and internationally with more than two decades of experience writing about wine. He appears frequently on national media such as Today, Squawk Box, All Things Considered, The View, Splendid Table, and many others. In addition to being a four-time winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals award in narrative beverage writing, Ray has also been nominated for a James Beard Award in beverage writing three times. His book, “Real Wine”, is forthcoming from Scribner’s in 2023.

Eric Asimov
The New York Times

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Eric Asimov is the highly-acclaimed chief wine critic of The New York Times and the author of “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto” and “Wine With Food: Pairing Notes and Recipes From The New York Times,’’ written with recipes by Florence Fabricant and published by Rizzoli. His column appears in the Food section of The Times. He is on Twitter and Instagram, @EricAsimov. A collection of his columns is included in “The New York Times Book of Wine,’’ published by Sterling Epicure. Eric’s keen interest in the intersection of climate change and wine brings him to the IPNC to lead a seminar on this timely topic.

Dr. Greg Jones
Abacela Winery

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Greg is a world-renowned atmospheric scientist and wine climatologist. He has held research and teaching positions at the University of Virginia, Southern Oregon University, and Linfield University. He has taught extensively across many areas including meteorology, climatology, ecology, hydrology, geology, statistics, GIS and remote sensing, and wine business, viticulture, enology, and sensory evaluation. For over twenty-five years his research has firmly linked weather and climate with grapevine growth, fruit chemistry, and wine characteristics in regions all around the globe. His work was also one of the first to tie climate change to fundamental biological phenomena in vines and the resulting influences on productivity and quality. His groundbreaking work has informed and influenced the wine industry across the globe. Greg has served on the editorial advisory boards of multiple international and national scientific journals and sits on the Erath Family Foundation board. Dr. Jones also has lifelong ties to the Oregon wine community, most closely with his family winery and vineyards at Abacela where Greg was appointed CEO in 2021.

Diana Snowden Seysses
Domaine Dujac

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Diana Snowden Seysses was born in Napa, California, graduated from the University of California at Davis with a BS in Viticulture and Enology in 2001 and then moved to France. Today she divides her time between the Napa Valley where she makes wine for her family estate, Snowden Vineyards, and France where she is oenologist at Domaine Dujac and consults for Domaine de Triennes in Provence. After twenty-four years in wine, she finds ever more meaning in the craft of making vins de terroir. She writes, “The most memorable wines are living and changing. They are the result of vineyard work without chemicals, native yeast fermentation with minimal handling, and élevage in a cellar that breathes. Beyond these simple, traditional techniques, those of us who are fortunate enough to run wineries must deepen our thoughts on terroir to allow that term to encompass both ecosystem and community. We must think about the balance between prosperity in our beautiful grape-growing regions and protecting the natural charm that made them famous in the first place. Climate change and all our farming choices have genetic impact on the vine. The emotional state of our employees leaves it signature on our wines. All these complex issues are in part our responsibility. I seek to protect a healthy environment in the largest sense of the term and transmit this savoir faire to the next generation.” Diana is a member of the Académie du Vin, a board member of the Porto Protocol thinking committee and a mentor for Batonnage Forum and the Roots Fund.

2023 Grand Seminar Panelists

Chisa Bize
Chisa Bize
Proprietor | Domaine Bize

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Born in Tokyo, Chisa Bize started her career as an investment banker. She met Patrick Bize, the talented vigneron of Savigny-lès-Beaune while he was in Japan, and later moved to Burgundy in 1997 to be with him. Unfortunately, Patrick passed away prematurely in 2013 on the first day of the harvest. Chisa has been at the head of Domaine Bize since then, carrying on and furthering Patrick’s ever-present goal of pursuing quality through careful and exacting work in the vines, working in harmony with nature, and striving to ensure the domaine’s future in a healthy envirmonment. The winery’s history began in 1880. Many generations have followed, each contributing its own developments and knowledge to establish the domaine as it is today. In her generation, Chisa tries to drive the farming in a natural direction and to make wine that is not decorated but rather simply pure. Hugo, her son, who studied at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, has now joined the team at the Domaine after gaining experience in Burgundy, Alsace and Argentina. Nazca, her daughter, is studying architecture and is captivated by wine as well.

Willi Bründlmayer
Winemaker | Weingut Bründlmayer

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Weingut Bründlmayer is located in Langenlois, Kamptal, approximately 50 miles northwest from Austria’s capital Vienna, where the Danube and the Kamp valleys meet. Willi Bruendlmayer has been in charge of the family estate since 1981. Pinot Noir has been planted in the area probably since the 14th and 15th centuries, and Willi’s parents introduced it to their vineyards in the 1960’s. The winery uses this noble grape variety today for both the production of traditionally made sparkling wines and for still wines, including single-vineyard designated Pinot Noirs. When Willi took over his parents’ vineyards, he introduced a policy of ecological winegrowing; synthetic fertilizers and herbicides were omitted in the late 1970’s, and since 2015 all vineyards have been cultivated organically. The winery is also sustainably certified. The management of natural resources – soil, sun, water and plants – follows simple and sensible procedures.  Biodiversity is fostered on all levels: bird habitats have been installed in the vineyards to foster almost extinct breeds, the winery looks after several bee hives and produces its own honey. Carbon dioxide as a by-product of fermentation is collected and reused. Weather and climate at the winery are constantly monitored in collaboration with the Austrian central institute of meteorology and geodynamics.

Mimi Casteel
Winemaker | Hope Well

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Mimi grew up on her family’s vineyard, Bethel Heights.  Her adventures fueled her passion for studying botany, forestry, and ecology. Mimi earned her MS from Oregon State University in Forest Science, and spent the next several years working as a botanist and ecologist for the Forest Service, living in the backcountry.  Her work in the forests led her to realize that the greatest threats to the future of the planet and all species had to be addressed at their roots – in the agricultural and working land base. Mimi returned to Bethel Heights in 2005, where she implemented new farming systems and began a journey of experimentation and discovery. In 2016 Mimi left Bethel Heights to grow and make wine at her home vineyard and living laboratory, Hope Well. Hope Well is the living model for a habitat-based regenerative model for agriculture. Mimi’s experiments are all with the goal of producing the most nutrient-dense, healthy food and wine, while recovering the natural systems of nutrient cycling, improving biodiversity and species retention, and maximizing the function and output of a diverse ecosystem.

Dr. Laura Catena
Founder | Domaine Nico

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Dr. Laura Catena’s Domaine Nico Winery specializes in extreme high altitude Pinot Noir.  The high altitude climate, intense sunlight and calcium carbonate-infused limestone soils in Tupungato (Uco Valley, Mendoza) provide a new terroir for Pinot Noir in the world.  A self-avowed Francophile, Laura’s Pinot Noir inspiration started in France where she went as a young woman to study Camus, Sartre and Surrealist Art. Domaine Nico is named after Laura’s daughter, Nicola who in turn is named after Laura’s great grand-father, Nicola Catena, who founded the Catena winery in 1902. She plays with words, to give Domaine Nico’s name a contemporary twist. Laura writes, “Domaine Nico’s single-parcel wines are an inspiration from my adolescence. The winery was born from my obsession with the climats of Burgundian Pinot Noir. When I realized we could make a Pinot Noir with the classic floral aromas, minerality and elegance that are characteristic of Burgundy, I began to study the flavours of high altitude Pinot Noir from Mendoza. The wines surprised me with their elegance and old-world style. It took twenty years to make a wine that I would consider grand cru level.  Indeed, I can confirm that Pinot Noir is “the heartbreak grape”, but it is a delicious heatbreak that one day turns into true love when it finds its right terroir partner.”

Nigel Greening
Vigneron | Felton Road

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Nigel Greening, vigneron at Felton Road, was born in Leeds in 1950. After an early career as a blues guitarist, he spent two decades in large events, film direction, creative writing, and marketing strategy. A fortunate encounter with the head of Chatham House in 1997, led to him being privileged to receive a detailed briefing on where the world would be heading in the first decades of the next millennium (a briefing, it turned out, of bewildering accuracy). This briefing took him first to New Zealand, then to purchasing land to plant a vineyard at Cornish Point in the village of Bannockburn. A year later, the opportunity arose to purchase a young winery: Felton Road. He sold almost everything he owned but his house, and jumped. By his own account, 22 years later, he’s still falling! He has not touched down yet, but the journey has been the privilege of his life. When not at his house in Wanaka, he can normally be found in his workshop in Devon, where he makes acoustic guitars, or cooking dinner in the kitchen. Nigel writes, “Pinot Noir is a subtle dancer, and we are now 27 years into trying to learn the steps. How the land relates to the vines in so many details has become an obsession, requiring a combination of biodynamics and curiosity to try to unravel a small part of a still undiscovered web. Winemaking is based upon humility, always seeking to minimize our stylistic footprint. Patience is our main teacher, when we can learn to embrace it.”

Carlo Mondavi
Winegrower | RAEN Winery

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Carlo Mondavi is a fourth-generation winegrower who has dedicated his life to permaculture, biodynamic and regenerative farming practices, and a hands-off winemaking approach in the cellar. Carlo, alongside his brother Dante, founded RAEN Winery in 2013, rooted in the rugged, remote terrain of the Sonoma Coast. The name is an acronym that represents the winery’s ethos: Research in Agriculture and Enology Naturally. Carlo founded The Monarch Challenge in 2016, an effort focused on elevating farming by eliminating herbicides and powerful chemicals from farms in Sonoma, Napa, and beyond, and is the co-founder and Chief Farming Officer of The Monarch Tractor, an autonomous, electric tractor, and the solution to the Monarch Challenge. Carlo went to college in France and has worked harvests in Burgundy and Barolo. Carlo’s grandfather Robert Mondavi helped shape Napa Valley and the fine wine industry as we know it today. His family has been farming beyond organic since the 1970s.

Shane Munn
Winemaker | Martin’s Lane Winery

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A native New Zealander with a passion for cool climate winemaking, Shane’s experience in both the old and new world, (from Barolo to Central Otago), and his love for forging exceptional Pinot Noir brought him and his family to the Okanagan in 2014. The extremes of latitude, altitude, and geology of the Okanagan Valley, present the dynamic and wild terroir we see reflected in Martin’s Lane Pinot Noirs.

Martin’s Lane Pinot Noirs are rarely seen outside of Canada. Production is scarce. The wines have garnered attention from highly respected international critics, including those from Wine Advocate and Decanter.

Jeremy Seysses
Proprietor | Domaine Dujac

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Jeremy Seysses was born in 1975 at Neuilly-sur-Seine. With an American mother and French father who founded Domaine Dujac in 1968, Jeremy grew up in a bilingual household. While attending University College at Oxford reading Biology, he presided over the Oxford Wine Circle. He also attended the University of Burgundy for a degree in Sciences de la Vigne and then interned at the R. Mondavi Winery in Napa where he met his wife Diana. Jeremy started working with his parents at the estate in 1998. From only five hectares in 1968, the estate gradually expanded to 11 hectares in 1977, and then reached 15.5 hectares in 2005. Over the years, the estate has expanded beyond the historic site of Morey-Saint-Denis. In 2014, with the acquisition of leased vineyards in Puligny-Montrachet (the Premier Crus Folatières and Combettes), the Domaine produces wines in both Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. The estate was certified organic in 2011. Jeremy’s experiment in organic farming began in 2001, with just four hectares. He was pleased with the results and gradually extended this approach until 2008, when the entire estate was managed organically. Jeremy introduced biodynamic practices in 2003, and is now using them throughout the estate. The biodynamic approach is not an end in itself. It is above all an additional tool to protect the vines, as well as an effort to protect the future of the terroir. Domaine Dujac seeks to preserve a natural, living, and varied ecosystem. Terroir is not merely geology; it also includes living organisms. The microbial fauna that breaks down organic matter is part of the identity of Burgundy.

Alex Sokol Blosser
Winemaker | Sokol Blosser

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When I finally achieved Snapple Salesmen of the month at our local distributor, my mom decided to hire me at the winery to travel the nation selling our family’s wines. This was in July of 1998 and I remember still having hair! Since then, I have run our distributor sales team as VP of Sales, became the winery’s 4th winemaker in 2012, and in February of 2023 I became President of the winery and vineyard. Throughout all that time I have overseen our vineyards, forever tying me to the land and further reinforcing a simple truism: wine is made in the vineyard. After all these years and various roles at my family’s Estate, I am more excited than ever to take my past experiences and lead our team toward its goal every vintage: craft compelling wines worth putting on your table.

A little about me: I graduated from Portland State University with a philosophy degree in 1997 and then a MBA in 2003. I live on the vineyard with my wife, Ginny, and our golden retriever, Gus. We’ve raised two great men who are currently out finding their paths in life. When time allows, we love to take our RV out on adventures, read (especially sci-fi), and when the skies are clear, take my telescope out to wander around the heavens.

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