Time Flies (When You're Drinking Great Wine)

"Five years of showcasing the best of the Garagiste micro-production wine movement"

By Doug Minnick, Co-Founder, The Garagiste Festivals

When we started The Garagiste Festival more than five years ago, we were looking for ways to bring attention to the kinds of small-lot wines that we like to drink. And we wanted to drink more of them. It was first and foremost a practical matter. Call us selfish.

Knowing many of these winemakers personally, we recognized the depth of the small-production wave that was bubbling beneath the surface of the larger wine industry, largely out of public view, and for that matter, off the industry radar, too.

Image Credit: The Garagiste Festival

Making it Easy For You

We also understood that many of these outstanding winemakers - small operators who were spending the great majority of their time in the winery and vineyard - simply didn't have the time and resources to find their audience. Considering the quality of their work, this was a crime. We wanted to make it easy for wine drinkers like you to find them.

We also wanted to bring attention to Paso Robles, the home of this artisan wine explosion. We're evangelists for all things Paso. We won't shut up about it, and here we go again: If you LOVE wine and you still haven't been to Paso Robles, it's time to go. You can thank us later.

Journey to the Center of the Movement

Now with over 300 wineries in our orbit, The Garagiste Festival has become the undisputed center of the small-lot wine movement, helping outstanding small production winemakers reach new fans and helping adventurous wine drinkers discover excellent wineries that they are unlikely to find elsewhere.

The Launching Pad

Not only that, but The Garagiste Festival has become a launching pad for important new wineries and some of the best new winemakers working today. Many wineries have introduced their first vintages at The Garagiste Festival over the years, giving attendees ground-floor bragging rights and the opportunity to get onto limited wine club lists and access to extremely hard-to-find, high-scoring, and quick-to-sell-out wines. Several of these wineries routinely sell out to their wine club, but they still pour only at The Garagiste Festival. Pretty cool, huh? This year will see seven more wineries debuting their labels in Paso. Don't miss 'em.

Fun to Learn

The Festivals are also a fantastic place to learn about wine. Thanks to these cutting edge winemakers, and the incredibly wide range of grapes that thrive in the various micro-climates of the Central Coast, every imaginable grape and style are represented at the Garagiste Festivals. We'll have 32 different varieties poured this year. Ugni Blanc, anyone? Cabernet Pfeffer? Symphony? You won't be finding these wines on supermarket shelves. It's a wonderful opportunity to compare many, many new things at one time, increase your knowledge, and find some new favorites.

Image Credit: The Garagiste Festival

The Horse's Mouth

And there is no better way to get the story behind the wine than from the winemakers themselves - remember, it is only winemakers and/or owners who pour at the Garagiste Festival. These folks love to share their wines and stories with you, and you'll not only find new wines, you might make some new friends. We always do.

Giving Back

A major part of our mission is to support of the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department. This year we have established The Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund, which will go to deserving students pursuing a career in winemaking. We are looking forward to following the progress of our scholarship recipients. Who knows, maybe some will end up pouring their own wines at The Festival one day!

If you've already been to a Garagiste Festival, we hope you will come on back. There are always new wineries joining us, and the seminars are always new. If you still haven't come, we hope this will be the year you come and discover the world of cutting edge, micro-production wine in California. To purchase tickets, click here.

The Garagiste Team; Image Credit: The Garagiste Festival