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 first four panelists for our 2024 Grand Seminar: IN TECHNICOLOR! Dominique Lafon (Domaine des Comtes Lafon), Ian Burch (Archery Summit), Megan Gunderson (WALT Wines), and Naomi Smith (Champagne Laurent-Perrier) 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
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.

2024 Grand Seminar Panelists

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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