When I was growing up (which was a long time ago), I followed all of the major sports and knew Steve Spurrier as the quarterback of the Florida Gators. He won the Heisman Trophy for that team when I was 8 years old.
Spurrier would go on to be a (primarily) back-up quarterback in the NFL, and later coached at Duke, Florida and South Carolina, along with a two-year stint as the head coach of the Washington Redskins.
My childhood football fan days come to mind every time I hear about that “other” Steven Spurrier — the one who has had a tremendous impact on my adult wine fan days.
This Steven Spurrier is the man who organized the historic 1976 “Judgment of Paris” blind tasting, at which French wine judges rated several American wines higher than their French counterparts. It was an event that shook the French wine industry to its core, and opened the eyes of wine drinkers worldwide to the fact that American wines were not to be looked down upon.
Spurrier has been a presence at the International Pinot Noir Celebration for several years now, moderating seminars and mingling with fellow wine lovers. It’s kind of like a football fan being able to rub shoulders with a childhood gridiron hero.
The 2019 edition of the IPNC took place July 26-28, once again on the grounds of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.
Here are a few statistics from that event:
* 820-plus — Number of people who attended.
* 250-plus — Number of wines available for tasting.
* 78 — Number of wineries providing wines to sample.
* 8 — Number of countries represented, including Austria, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.
Wine lovers can experience IPNC is several ways, from the Passport to Pinot walk-around tasting ($150) to a full three-day weekend of activities ($1,295). Registration for the 2020 event is already under way, and you can learn more here.
In parlance that Steve Spurrier, the football coach, would understand, the International Pinot Noir Celebration is a touchdown.