Dozens of wine producers, and hundreds of enthusiasts, will gather at IPNC July 29-31 in McMinnville to taste, dine and celebrate.

Share story

ADAM CAMPBELL and his parents, Joe and Pat, have accomplished so much more than they could have imagined when they began planting pinot noir vines in 1974 at Elk Cove Vineyards in Gaston, Ore.

Yet more than four decades later, they still get a thrill over pouring their wines at the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

This is the 30th year for IPNC, and it undoubtedly is the greatest annual gathering of pinot noir producers and enthusiasts in the world — rivaling the finest wine events anywhere in North America. It sells out quickly each year and should be on the to-do list of any serious wine lover.

Three Elk Cove pinot noirs

Elk Cove Vineyards 2014 pinot noir, Willamette Valley, $29: Winemaker Adam Campbell relied on grapes from the northern Willamette Valley during this hot vintage to craft a wine that yields notes of red and blue fruits backed by subtle spices and firm tannins.

Elk Cove Vineyards 2013 Five Mountain pinot noir, Chehalem Mountains, $60: Five Mountain Vineyard provides views of five Cascade peaks — and the wine is delicious, too. It’s a smooth, elegant pinot noir with pleasing notes of plum, pomegranate and milk chocolate, plus velvety tannins.

Elk Cove Vineyards 2013 La Bohème pinot noir, Yamhill-Carlton, $75: Using grapes planted more than 30 years ago, Campbell has created a pinot noir with a rich palate that is highlighted by notes of dark cherry, blueberry, vanilla and even a bit of molasses. It’s all framed by beautiful tannin structure.

The Campbells, who arrived in the northern Yamhill County community of Gaston in 1973, were part of IPNC that first year in 1987 and have been involved pretty much every alternating year since.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

IPNC takes place July 29-31 at Linfield College in McMinnville and brings together 60 pinot noir producers from across North America and around the globe, including the wine’s ancestral home in Burgundy, France. It’s filled with tastings, seminars, tours and incredible cuisine.

Campbell, who took over Elk Cove more than a decade ago after his parents retired, will be participating in a seminar about the changing styles of pinot noir. About 300 will be in attendance, and he says he is honored to be involved. Wineries that want to be at IPNC must subject their wines to a panel for consideration, and those pouring one year aren’t eligible to be there the next. It’s all about creating great experiences for pinot noir lovers and keeping IPNC fresh.

Campbell will be joined by winemakers from California, Washington, British Columbia, Michigan and New York, as well as France, Germany and New Zealand. For Campbell, the diversity of regions and styles is the beauty of IPNC.

Here, he tastes some of the world’s finest wines — pinot noirs in such small production they barely are exported beyond the tiny villages where they were crafted. Here, he makes friendships and creates memories he will cherish for the rest of his life.