Welcome to the Southern Pinot Workshop 2018
The 2018 Southern Pinot Noir Workshop will be held from noon Thursday January 18th until 2pm Sunday January 21st.
We are delighted to confirm our Guest Speakers for 2018 will be Sam Tannahill and Cheryl Francis of A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill in Oregon, USA.
Sam Tannahill was born in Virginia Beach in 1969 but grew up in San Francisco in the upper Haight with his three sisters. After misspending most of his youth with skateboards, punk rock and lacrosse sticks he left in 1987 to attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia where he graduated in 1991 with a BA with honors in East Asian Studies. In 1992 after living in Los Angeles working in a wine store he bought a one way ticket to Thailand and spent 9 months making it to France for a two month job picking grapes at Domaine De L’Arlot in Burgundy. Two months turned into two years and a postgraduate degree in winemaking from the University de Dijon. In 1995 he arrived in Oregon as winemaker for Archery Summit. He met his wife, Cheryl Francis in 1996 and they were married in 2000. In 2001 they started a consulting business, founded Francis Tannahill and along with Bill and Deb Hatcher in 2002 started A to Z Wineworks with a 2,500 case production of Oregon Pinot Noir. The brand grew very quickly and in 2007 they acquired REX HILL. A to Z now consists of 4 brands (A to Z, REX HILL, Francis Tannahill and Rock and Hammer) and sells wine in all 50 states and 8 international markets. In 2016 A to Z became Oregon's largest winery with a 400,000 case production and became the top selling Oregon wine brand in the United States. A to Z has also lead sustainability in the wine industry by becoming one of the few LIVE certified wineries in the world, being a founding member of the Governor’s Climate Challenge and becoming in 2014 the world’s only B Corp certified winery. A to Z has a few minority partners among which are Gregg Popovich from the San Antonio Spurs, Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. In the past Sam has served on the Oregon Wine Board (Chair in 2009, 2010), the Oregon Winegrowers Association Board (President in 2009, 2010), the International Pinot Noir Celebration Board and was a member of the Governor’s GMO Task Force. He currently serves on the Willamette Valley Winery Association Board, The Oregon Wine Research Institute Board, The Oregon Business Leaders’ Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Task Force and is the Chair and President of the Oregon Business and Industry (Oregon’s largest statewide business association) and co-chair/co- founder of the Oregon Food and Beverage Leadership Council.
After graduating in 1992 with a Biology degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Cheryl Francis travelled to Europe. There after making here way through most European countries and living in Spain she decided to study enology in France. On her return to Oregon she talked her way into an assistant winemaking position at Veritas Winery (now the home of Chehalem) and at the same time struck out for more winemaking experience in New Zealand and Burgundy. After harvests at Pegasus Bay in NZ and Domaine Rion in Burgundy Cheryl came back to Oregon to begin work at the same winery space, but with a different title, Winemaker for Chehalem. During the eight years Cheryl worked as winemaker at Chehalem she returned to New Zealand to do harvests again at Pegasus Bay and also in Martinborough. In 1996, Cheryl met Sam Tannahill, who was (at that time) winemaker at Archery Summit. It was love at first sight and they were married in 2000 by Grant Taylor. In 2001 Sam and Cheryl launched Francis Tannahill and in 2002, Cheryl, along with Deb Hatcher, Bill Hatcher, and Sam started A to Z Wineworks. Cheryl left Chehalem in 2003 and in 2007, the group bought REX HILL, one of Oregon's oldest wineries, and spent the 10 years converting the vineyards to Biodynamic farming, reestablishing REX HILL as a world class Pinot Noir producer and building the B Corp certified A to Z to the largest winery in Oregon with an annual production of 400,000 cases. With many award winning wines under her belt Cheryl has been a driving force behind the winemaking and infrastructure development at A to Z/REX HILL recently completing a $30 million building project at the winery. Despite everything she has accomplished professionally Cheryl has also found the time to raise three lovely children, Stella (9), Oliver (12) and Theo (14) with husband Sam.
The Venue - Heritage Hanmer Springs
We are glad to return to the Heritage Hanmer Springs, with whom we have created memorable Workshops since 2002. The facilities at the hotel are excellent, and the Hurunui region provides a beautiful setting and numerous pleasurable activities. (For more information, please visit www.heritagehotels.co.nz and www.hurunui.com). Feedback from past delegates to Workshops at the Heritage has been uniformly enthusiastic. With Villa accommodation available, we encourage you to bring your family as well. We would like gratefully to recognise the wonderfully generous support of our sponsor, O-I New Zealand: their ongoing commitment makes the Workshop possible.