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Founding the World of Pinot Noir

How it all Began  

Twenty-one years ago, the World of Pinot Noir started off as an idea to put on a world-class Pinot Noir event between wine aficionados Archie McLaren, founder of the Central Coast Wine Classic and Brian Talley, owner of Talley Vineyards. The pair quickly put together an interest meeting in which every invited winery showed up – and gave their full support, personally volunteering their help for the event. According to co-founder Brian Talley, the goal was to create an event that fused the high-end Masters of Food & Wine event, where they would feature renowned winemakers and chefs, with the seminar and educational components of the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC). The title “World of Pinot Noir” came from Talley’s wife, Johnine. 

 The World of Pinot Noir is Born 

“The first World of Pinot Noir was an incredible ride,” co-founder Brian Talley recounts, “we basically ran the event out of the Talley Vineyards office.” The inaugural event was held at The Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, CA, and was organized from the offices of Talley Vineyards, where Talley Vineyard’s employee, Michele Good, volunteered as the event coordinator with a goal to meet more people in the industry. “A week before the event, I thought she was going to have a nervous breakdown,” Talley recounts. Clearly, the event proved to be a success (great job Michele). 

According to Talley, the most memorable moment was standing on the bluff at The Cliffs Resort and looking out over the Pacific Ocean, with storm clouds on the horizon. The Grand Tasting was in full swing, the sun had broken through after raining extensively that morning, and legendary Oregon winegrower and a founder of IPNC, David Adelsheim, turned to Talley and said, “this is incredible.”  

An Evolution

Each year since has been a new adventure. As the event continues to grow, so does the world’s love for Pinot Noir. Now held at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, CA, the World of Pinot Noir attracts over 2,000 attendees per year, with 200 participating wineries from around the globe and has evolved into one of the world’s best celebrations of Pinot Noir.

About the Founders

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Archie McLaren, far right, at the World of Pinot Noir circa 2016

Archie McLaren

Wine enthusiast, ambassador of the Central Coast wine region and 20-year radio host  – Archie McLaren helped spur the idea of the World of Pinot Noir after attending Talley Vineyards 10th Anniversary event in 1996. Archie passed away in 2018 due to bone cancer, but those who knew him say he was a great athlete with a vibrant personality and a love for fine wines. Archie served as the chairman and executive director for both the San Luis Obispo's Vintners Association and Growers Association, co-founded the Central Coast Wine Classic and helped lead the forefront for wine in California’s Central Coast. Archie is best remembered for his passion, generosity and colorful wardrobe. 

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Founder Brian Talley speaking at a World of Pinot Noir seminar in 2004

Brian Talley 

Brian Talley is a third-generation farmer and second-generation winegrower, born and raised in Arroyo Grande. Brian began his career in the family business at age twelve, when he started harvesting vegetables at Talley Farms. He became general manager of Talley Vineyards in 1991 and now serves as president of Talley Vineyards and Talley Farms. Brian is recognized as a leader in the local wine industry, past president of the San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association and co-founder to the World of Pinot Noir. He began the World of Pinot Noir in 1999 but stepped down from a leadership role after five years to let other industry leaders rise to the challenge. 

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