By Rick Riozza

I know you folks are a bit tired of the phrase “Breaking News” heard all over the place; but, hold-on: For the plentiful amount of passionate Pinot Noir lovers throughout this valley—I really have some breaking news!

First off—the official name is The Palm Springs Pinot Festival, and, this premier wine event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Rancho Mirage, Ca. On January 18, 2020 from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Secondly, the breaking news has become official: This up-coming wine festival is now considered the largest Pinot Noir Winemaker tasting event in the history of Southern California! Yep—right here in the midst of our own desert valley oasis. And the reason for such an acclamation is that there are now over 50 participating Pinot Noir winemakers and wineries on hand to pour their world-class Pinot Noir.

And this info is more than bravado—it’s simply the facts. Festival organizer David Fraschetti (we know him from VinDiego and the Rancho Mirage Food & Wine Festival) more than “requested” the top Pinot Noir producers to bring their “A” game—he set the bar by desiring only their “cult-status Pinot Noir”. It was a brazen move! David has promoted wine events for over nine years and knows a beaucoup of winemakers from all over. However, he wanted only the best for this ground-breaking Pinot tasting.

Many of you passionate Pinot lovers remember such past wine events, such as “Pinot Days” and other tasting events at Los Angeles venues. But unfortunately, nothing on the grand scale has happened over the past two years. So David, being David, has taken it on himself to organize and produce such a long-anticipated event.

I recently spoke with him and he could hardly hold-back his exuberance. “My wife and I personally traipsed up to wine country and literally knocked on the doors of 30 premium world-class wineries and asked if they would come down to Palm Springs and pour their best Pinot Noir for a new Pinot event.” And from what I gathered from my conversation with David, not only did the winemakers want in, but word got out all over the Pinot Noir map to where world class vintners came knocking at the Fraschetti door!

Of course you caught the name of the location where the Palm Springs Pinot Fest is being held: Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Rancho Mirage. Everyone in the hospitality business knows you don’t get into the Ritz-Carlton’s grand ballroom without world-class status.

Fraschetti wants the valley to know, “The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival is a premier event on the international wine calendar. Hosted in one of the world’s most dramatic and awe-inspiring Hotels, this is a unique opportunity to engage with some of the top winery owners and winemakers and other leading wine personalities and enthusiasts from all over California. Come join us at this upscale Passion 4 Pinot Noir wine tasting event that is sure to become an annual sellout.”

Both at VinDiego and Rancho Mirage Wine fest, David is known to keep the amount of participating wineries and crowd attendance at an efficient number, thereby satisfying winemakers and wine lovers to enjoy the day without a mass onslaught of party-hardy folks. And again, here at the P.S. Pinot Fest, it was David’s desire to have only the top 30 pinot wine producers pouring. But increasing his expectations and now featuring over 50 top tier Pinot Noir producers—well, it’s a good problem to encounter.

The list of participating wineries can be found at Take a quick perusal to prompt yourself to get on-line to obtain tickets to this first ever world-class Pinot Noir tasting in our valley.

You passionate Pinot lovers know your stuff and will absolutely recognize the stellar list of wineries participating. I’m not a big name-dropper but it’s always nice to alert our valley vino lovers to the likes of La Crema, Dutton Goldfield, Gary Farrell, MacRostie, Saxon Brown, Lede Family Wines, Papaprieto Perry, Sojourn Cellars—hey, there’s just too many great names to mention. Go check it out yourself and prepare to taste Pinot Nirvana.

Since world-class Pinot Noir demands world-class cuisine, you’d know David Fraschetti, aka Mr. Food & Wine Fest, would have six distinguished chefs who will be serving up their delicious creations at the festival: Bruno Lopez, Executive Chef, Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage; Chef Paul, Executive Chef, Miramonte; Peter Smith, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa; Jorge Martinez, Specialty Chef,
The Edge Steakhouse; James Nellis, Chef, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs; and, Drew Davis, Chef, Catalan Mediterranean Restaurant.

Finally—for you Pinot enthusiasts, on Friday, January 17th, there will be two winemaker panel discussions and tastings that will explore “The Neighborhoods” of Sonoma County’s iconic Russian River Valley, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, and, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Under the Radar and a Cut Above, 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm.

Each seminar will lead guests through a line-up of marquee wines that spotlight the regions’ best wines and brings together some of the very best winemakers from the various areas. $55 per seminar.

The PR happily continues to invite, stating, “During this Celebration of Pinot Noir, you will discover just what it is that makes Pinot Noir so unique. Join with other Pinot aficionados as you share in classes, tastings and food and wine matches that will profile the uncompromising characteristics and unforgettable characters, highlight the different winemaking practices and philosophies that produce wines of such distinction and enable you to relax and unwind at the world class Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.”

The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Wine Fest at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, January 17th & 18th. General Admission $95 per person; Special packages at $125.

See you there! Bon Appétit & Cheers!