By Crystal Harrell
The second annual Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival, “A Passion 4 Pinot,” will return to the Coachella Valley on Saturday, January 8, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. There will be over 60 top-tier Pinot Noir producing wineries, offering a unique opportunity to engage with winery owners and winemakers while learning about winemaking practices and philosophies.
The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival is the second largest Pinot Noir tasting event in the country, drawing attendees from around the country for an opportunity to learn about this wine varietal as well as the artists and craft behind it. Sophisticated casual dress is suggested for the event.
David Fraschetti is the producer of the Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival. He also produces the 4th annual Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival and the 8th annual VinDiego Wine and Food Festival in San Diego. Both events have been put on hold until 2023. The first Pinot Noir Festival event was a total success that sold out at the Ritz Carlton’s ballroom in Rancho Mirage with attendees flying from 14 different states to visit. The Festival has moved over to the beautiful J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa, and Fraschetti is absolutely delighted to partner with the property and staff.
“We do things very differently than other events. First off, we never allow Beer or Spirits at our events. Our focus is on fine wine, first and foremost. Our event is not the typical ‘Drunk Fest’ unlike so many other events both here in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere in Southern California. We never allow other types of alcohol, because one shot of hard spirits, like vodka, whisky or tequila, numbs your taste buds so a person can never taste the unique nuances of the wonderful wines that are poured, which is a disservice to wineries,” explained Fraschetti.
The size and scope of the Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival is also limited to ensure a more intimate and enjoyable gathering of wine lovers. The event will feature 60 different wineries from all over the state of California. Fraschetti himself does not have a favorite Pinot Noir, as that would be like picking a favorite child of his. He does, however, prefer California Pinots over Oregon Pinot Noir any day of the week.
“I learned many years ago that when it comes to wine festivals, bigger is not better. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Those who have attended my events before know that our event is a first class fun event that is designed for all types of wine lovers, from novices to expert Somms. It’s not snobbish; it’s a fun-filled afternoon that allows one to learn, taste and fall in love with amazing Pinot Noir from the best that California has to offer,” stated Fraschetti.
A silent auction will also be held at the event to benefit the nonprofit, Les Dames d’Escoffier International Palm Springs, which provides scholarships to women pursuing careers in the hospitality, culinary arts, and related fields, in which 100 percent of the money raised is donated to the organization.
“We have built very strong and lasting relationships with our partner wineries. I sent out invitations to attend back in June and the response was immediate. Wineries that know me and are familiar with the type of event that I produce signed up within minutes. As word about the event rapidly spread within the wine industry, I had requests from some of the best Pinot Noir Producing wineries from all over California asking to partner with us for this high end- high class wine tasting event. Our partner wineries love the fact that we only allow top tier wine. Unlike other events, we are not trying to be everything to everyone; our focus is on great Pinot Noir,” said Fraschetti.
To comply with COVID-19 safety guidelines, fully vaccinated attendees, staff, volunteers, and winery personnel must present proof of vaccination to enter the event. For those who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated, proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the festival that was performed by an FDA-authorized or CLIA certified lab must be presented.
A limited number of tickets are now on sale for the festival and can be purchased. Early entry at 1:30 p.m. costs 150 dollars for attendees while general admission tickets will go for 125 dollars with a 2:30 p.m. start. Six-person group rates are also available for 750 dollars for the 1:30 p.m. start time, and 660 dollars for the 2:30 p.m. start. The Pinot Noir Festival will conclude at 5:30 p.m.
For those attending the Festival, the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa is offering a special discount. To make reservations, visit https://palmspringspinotfest.com/travel-lodging/. For additional information about the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, visit https://bit.ly/3xKc8KV.
To purchase tickets to the Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival before they sell out, and to learn more about the Festival, go to the website www.palmspringspinotfest.com.