Missed out on the 2023 IPNC? Tickets for the 2024 weekend are available now!

The Grand Seminar


Colorful Graphic of IPNC 2024

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.

IPNC 2024 will be brought to you IN TECHNICOLOR! Our 2024 Grand Seminar promises to be a bright discussion about Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (reds, whites, sparkling, and rosés oh my!) breaking through the singular color palette of years past. You’ll hear from the world’s most famous producers who have been creating outstanding wines from both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

We are honored to introduce you to the six panelists for our 2024 Grand Seminar: IN TECHNICOLOR! Dominique Lafon (Domaine des Comtes Lafon), Ian Burch (Archery Summit), Megan Gunderson (WALT Wines), Michael Brajkovich (Kumeu River), Naomi Smith (Champagne Laurent-Perrier), and Piero Incisa (CHACRA) will be joining us for a multi-hued discussion about Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, breaking through the singular color palette of years past.

You’ll hear about and taste wines from Dominique, Ian, Megan, and Naomi plus more of the world’s most renowned producers who have been creating outstanding wines from both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

July 26-28, 2024

2024 Full Weekend TICKETS

2024 Master of Ceremonies

Raj Parr
Phelan Farm

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Rajat Parr has cultivated a varied and distinguished career in wine. His first chapter was as a sommelier and wine director, beginning with his tutelage at San Francisco’s wine mecca Rubicon under the great sommelier Larry Stone and culminating years later as wine director for the Michael Mina group, where he was in charge of the wine programs in over twenty restaurants across the United States. During this time, he began the sow the seeds for his second chapter, as winemaker. Already a celebrated wine taster and explorer, Parr began to collaborate with other winemakers, notably the late Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, to create his own small brand of wines. This experience led to him to deepen his engagement with wine production through his ongoing collaboration in vineyard and winery with winemaker Sashi Moorman and their successful brands Domaine de la Côte, Sandhi, and Evening Land. In recent years, Parr has continued to trace this trajectory to its natural terminus, becoming a winegrower himself. In recent years, he has joined with Phelan Farms of Cambria, California to farm and make the wine from their vineyards, focusing on regenerative agriculture and natural winemaking.

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.

2024 Grand Seminar Moderators

Karen MacNiel
The Wine Bible

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Karen MacNeil is the only American to have won every major wine award given in the English Language. These include the prestigious James Beard award for Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year, the Louis Roederer award for Best Consumer Wine Writing, the International Wine and Spirits award as the Global Wine Communicator of the Year and the Wine Appreciation Guild’s Wine Literary Award. In a full-page profile on her, TIME Magazine called Karen “America’s Missionary of the Vine.” Karen has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Wine in the United States.”

Karen is the author of the award-winning book, THE WINE BIBLE (now in its third edition), praised as “a masterpiece of wine writing.” THE WINE BIBLE has sold more than one million copies and was featured in the 2020 Netflix series Uncorked and the Starz series Sweet Bitter.

Philippe André
Champagne Charles Heidsieck

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As a second-generation Sommelier and restaurateur, Philippe André has been a leader in the wine and hospitality industry for almost two decades. Philippe first developed a passion for hospitality and wine education growing up in the fine dining restaurant business. He answered his professional calling as the Wine Director of the highly awarded wine program at Oceanique restaurant in Evanston, Illinois managing a cellar of over 1,300 selections and overseeing a dedicated Sommelier team. In 2013 Philippe accepted a winemaking apprenticeship at one of the world’s greatest biodynamic vineyards, The Momtazi Estate, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. After harvest he returned to Chicago to join the nation’s leading rare wine auction house, Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., sourcing and sharing the rarest wines with passionate collectors all over the world. In 2018 Philippe was offered a chance of a lifetime and accepted the U.S. Ambassador role at Charles Heidsieck to re-launch the historic brand in New York and to bring the wines of the Crayères onto the grand stage they deserve.

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.

2024 Grand Seminar Panelists

Ian Burch
Ian Burch
Archery Summit

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Most oenophiles venturing abroad to get a taste of the Old-World French wine culture bring home memories of unforgettable meals or a new favorite producer. Ian brought home his life-calling and a passion for Pinot noir and Chardonnay. His post-college winemaking stints abroad—propelled by a wine education degree from Cal Poly—instilled an undying appreciation particularly for cool-climate winemaking.

Ian’s reverence for these two noble varieties ultimately led him to Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Archery Summit. After years of making wine on both sides of the equator, Ian made his Oregon winemaking debut at prominent Willamette Valley label Evening Land Vineyards.

Ian considers Burgundian winemaker Dominique Lafon among his greatest mentors and is constantly impressed by the sense of community in the global wine country, whether it’s in the French countryside or on the crush pads of the Dundee Hills. Driven by the pioneering spirit of New World enology, Ian continues to help chart Archery Summit’s iconic path while honoring the uniqueness and history of its Dundee Hills sites.

Megan Gunderson
Megan Gunderson
Vice President of Winemaking
Walt Wines

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Vice President of Winemaking, Megan Gunderson began her career in the Napa Valley in 2001 when she moved from Colorado to California and worked as an intern at Robert Mondavi Winery. Early on, she discovered a passion for wine and viticulture and went on to become a Laboratory Manager for St. Supery Vineyards in Rutherford, then Dominus Estates in Oakville. At Dominus, she was able to refine her winemaking skills under the mentorship of Christian Moueix and Jean-Claude Barrouet, learning to hone her winemaking craft with unique methods.

In 2005, she joined HALL Wines as Enologist and quickly rose through the ranks with increasingly central roles within the winemaking operation. In 2018, Megan was promoted to Vice President of Winemaking, leading the wine program for the three, family-owned luxury brands, HALL, WALT and BACA Wines. Her multiple degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics have given her a unique and unmatched perspective into the scientific aspects of winemaking.

Man with wine barrels
Dominique Lafon
Domaine des Comtes Lafon

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Domaine des Comtes Lafon was founded by Dominique’s great grandfather, Comte Jules Lafon, in the early 1900s. It owns outstanding white wine (Chardonnay) vineyards in Meursault and Le Montrachet, and red wine vineyards (Pinot Noir) in Volnay and Monthelie. The average total production for 16 hectares (40 acres) is 7,000 cases, of which one third are red. The domaine moved to organic and biodynamic farming by 1998, having started trials in 1995. Dominique purchased for the family a domaine in the Maconnais, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, in 1999 – starting with 7ha with additional purchases in 2003, 2009 and between 2014 and 2016 to reach 26 ha today. Dominique started his own company “Dominique Lafon” in 2007, working 4 hectares in the Cote de Beaune. He also consults in Oregon, firstly with 7 Springs vineyard (2007-14) and subsequently with Larry Stone for the Lingua Franca label. Dominique has two children, Léa (born 1989) and Guillaume (1991) with his former wife, Anne Roumier.

Naomi Smith
Naomi Smith
Vice President of Sales
Champagne Laurent-Perrier

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Laurent-Perrier was established in 1812 and is now the largest family-run and female-led House in Champagne. Thanks to its long tradition of innovation, it can be credited with many techniques that have defined Champagne production over the centuries. The House is fiercely independent and makes only champagne and is noted for its House style of freshness and elegance. Laurent-Perrier has been at the vanguard of sustainability efforts in Champagne and has achieved the sustainability certifications of High Environmental Value (HVE) and Viticulture Durable en Champagne (VDC). The House is most renowned for its unique Cuvée Rosé, made exclusively from Pinot Noir.

Piero Incisa

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Piero Incisa della Rocchetta comes from one of the most famous families of wine producers who launched Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) in Bolgheri, Tuscany, and made it a success.
In 2004, Piero purchased the first of vineyard land, which is now Chacra. At the time, the property contained an existing, albeit abandoned vineyards planted in 1932. Piero was called from his multigenerational Italian winemaking family to the southern hemisphere, compelled by the goal to produce world-class Pinot Noir un uncharted territory.
Winemaking at Chacra follows an organic and biodynamic approach, in the most natural manner, and the wine and character of the land are expressed to their fullest.

Michael Brajkovich, MW
Kumeu River

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Michael Brajkovich, New Zealand’s first Master of Wine (MW), holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Oenology from Roseworthy College in South Australia, where he graduated top of his class. Michael is a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine in London as well as a respected wine judge in both New Zealand and Australia.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather Mick and father Maté, Michael has added formal education to the pragmatism learnt from his father.

As a winemaker, Michael aims to be recognised as producing world class Chardonnay. One of the defining characteristics of Kumeu River Chardonnays is they are made in the old world style of classic French wine making. Rather than having a heavy oak presence from aging in a barrel, they are lighter, more refined, and designed to age in the bottle.

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