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Pasadena Grand PinotFest pits California against Oregon

Pasadena Grand PinotFest pits California against Oregon
The scene at 2014 Pasadena Grand PinotFest. This year's event will be May 17 at a private estate in South Pasadena. (Pasadena Grand PinotFest)

Coming up May 17 is the eighth Pasadena Grand PinotFest. This year it will be held at a private estate in South Pasadena. Pony up the ticket price of $110 (or $155 for VIP admission) for the chance to taste 100 Pinot Noirs from 50 wineries in California and Oregon.

PinotFest gives Californians the opportunity to indulge in some friendly rivalry with our neighbor to the north. Which region makes the best Pinot Noirs? Is it Santa Rita Hills or Willamette Valley? The Sonoma Coast or Dundee Valley? You'll be able to explore wines from many American Viticultural Areas and learn more about microclimates and styles of winemaking on the West Coast.

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The lineup of wineries includes Bonaccorsi, Testarossa, Clos Pepe, Evening Land, Brewer-Clifton, Flowers, Au Bon Climat, Williams Selyem, Liquid Farm and Longoria. And that's just about one fifth of the top Pinot Noir estates represented.

The event starts at 1 p.m. (noon for VIPs who pay an extra $45) and goes until 5 p.m. That's plenty of time to taste and compare at a leisurely pace. There will be cheese and a Mediterranean small bites spread too, and live music.

And those VIP tickets? They also include "access to the VIP areas with celebrity sommelier host." Any guesses who that would be?

Buy your tickets here. Know too, that 30% of the price goes to benefit three local children’s charities: Professional Child Development Associates, Hathaway-Sycamores and Five Acres.

Follow @sirenevirbila for more on food and wine.

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