GARAGISTES – (gar-uh-zhē-stuh) n, Fr. – A term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow the “rules.”
This movement has taken hold all over the world and thankfully more and more of these small family owned wineries are being recognized for the true artisanal qualities that make these wines and their winemakers so special. Now there is a new festival in town, Paso Robles that is, that focuses solely on the “artisan winemaker”. The Paso Garagiste Festival is quickly coming together and will be held Saturday November 12, 2011 in Creston, just a bit south of Paso Robles.
The festival is the brainchild of three friends who love wine and share an appreciation for the small lot winemaker. While attending a Rhone Ranger event in LA a couple of years back Stewart McClennan, Doug Minnick and Dan Erland Anderson started brainstorming for a way they could help promote these boutique wineries, primarily those of Paso Robles. They admired the fact that most of these winemakers, fueled by their passion for making exceptional wine, were working other day jobs, some commuting hundreds of miles weekly to do both, or were working for larger wineries while making their wine in their “spare time”. Many do not have tasting rooms and their case production is so small they can’t get the representation that the “big boys” get. They felt these “garagistes” needed some help in getting the word out and the plan for the festival began to take form. Well the word got out fast and soon wineries from further south along the Central Coast were asking to participate and now over 40 small production wineries who are producing under 1200 cases annually are scheduled to participate.
Not just the wineries in this festival are special. The venue is fantastic! The magnificent Windfall Farms, a 750 acre horse farm in Creston, has been chosen, and the beautiful stallion barn will serve as the unique location for this special tasting event. Check out this video for a complete tour of the venue.
Needless to say I am thrilled with the idea of this festival! I have met with Doug and Stewart and we are completely of the same mindset – we love these wines and the people behind them, and we want to do whatever we can to help them get the word out about them. And…proceeds from the festival will go to support young winemakers at the Wine and Viticulture Program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. So I urge you to visit their website, watch the videos on their homepage and order your tickets. It’s going to be great!
I’LL DRINK TO THAT!