This week Well Produced Wines will be putting the focus on The International Pinot Noir Celebration, held in my hometown of McMinnville, Oregon. In our first piece I have invited Remy Drabkin, of Remy’s Wines, to tell us about growing up with IPNC. There are literally thousands of stories that follow the attendance of an IPNC event, but this time, it will be Remy’s tale to be shared.
“Growing Up With IPNC”
I was four years old when the International Pinot Noir Celebration debuted it’s first all-star lineup of chefs and winemakers. My mom, the Culinary Director of IPNC for its first 15 years, had binders upon binders of menus and correspondence with chefs and food purveyors, oyster growers, mushroom hunters, farmers, ranchers, coffee brewers, restauranteurs, and equipment suppliers. Within a year these people had amongst themselves become friends and within a few years, dear friends. They were a tightly knit cluster of intellectuals with immaculate palates for the flavor of life.
It is the food I most remember and the long hours in the kitchen spent by the chefs, staff, volunteers, volunteers, more volunteers, and more yet. There seemed to be endless camaraderie in the kitchen, on the floor, among panelists. In the months preceding there were more long hours of licking envelopes, organizing without modern organizing tools, and thousands of meals for hundreds of patrons over a few days. Young but not excluded, I watched as these women and men, although mostly women, prepared this event and made it all fun.
One particularly hot year my dad dressed up as an ice cream man and rode around with an ice box on the back of a bicycle chilling people out in between tastings. If you were there in those years, the smell of calamari informed you that the event was winding down, the children wondering what ouzo tastes like. Years later, my brother, one of the first volunteers, was invited back as a featured chef and for 10 years in a row, worked with a team to produce 30,000 pieces of gloriously complex dessert for the now famous Salmon Bake. Other second generation children would return in one facet or another, having stepped into wine making positions at family wineries, as winery owners, noted chefs and through continued volunteerism.
Growing up with IPNC was to watch a small community of people, who had not yet gained the notoriety and fame so many of them would eventually attain, welcome the world to their table.
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