Friday, August 10, 2012

Garagiste Festival 2012 - Artisan Wine In Paso Robles


If you did not attend the inaugural Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles last year, you must make it to Paso wine country in November 2012.  Small wine producers of the Central Coast of California will gather again to pour their wines for a big crowd of appreciative people.  The Garagiste Festival is all about the wines of artisan producers in the broad expanse of the Central Coast AVA.  The event is again to be held at Windfall Farms.

Garagiste is a French term (gar-uh-zhee-stuh) which originated in Bordeaux.  There, it described mavericky small-lot winemakers who didn't care much for following the rules.  These passionate vintners often whipped up their wine in the garage, or whatever space they had available to them.

What was once just a pejorative is now a movement.  Not that California winemakers operate under the burden of the sort of rules found in France, but these folks are considered renegades simply for daring to make their wine their way.

Nearly four dozen wineries which produce less than 1,200 cases per year will once again pour wines that you may not get a chance to taste very often.  Most of these small producers don't have tasting rooms, and their distribution is often spotty, if not non-existent.  It’s a big deal for them to get this sort of exposure.

This years festival has expanded to four days, with events taking place on November 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.  The Garagiste Grand Tasting event, seminars and after-party will again be held at beautiful Windfall Farms, while specialized events will take place at other Paso Robles venues, including Vines on the Marycrest, The Vintner's Vault and others.
                                         
While the November 10th Grand Tasting event will remain intimate enough for festival-goers to have the opportunity to have true interaction with the winemakers, the festival has doubled capacity for this year's seminars, which were completely sold out last year.  Proceeds from the Garagiste Festival will once again benefit Cal Poly's Wine and Viticulture program.

They must be doing something right, as ABC News has identified the Garagiste Festival as one of their top ten Epicurean vacations for 2012.  Festival co-founders Stewart McLennan and Doug Minnick did a guest shot on The Wine Down, and you can watch that webisode here.