GARAGISTES – (garage-east) 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.” Now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. Who’s laughing now, Francois? Syn: Rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks, driven by passion.

Welcome to Garagiste, a place for the underground, the different, and the cutting edge of small production winemaking with no rules.

Remember, whether you see the glass as half empty or half full,
there’s always room for more wine.

30 DIFFERENT Wineries on EACH day!

One tasting fee, one place, over 250 wine choices.
No driving around necessary…



Veterans’ Memorial Hall

1745 Mission Drive, Solvang


Each Festival day begins by bringing back one of the most popular features of the Garagiste Festivals, its engaging, educational and unique winemaker panel and tasting seminars. Attendance at these tasting seminars is limited and only available to VIP All-Day Ticket holders.

SATURDAY’S SEMINAR TOPIC – “The Diversity of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA: It’s not all Pinot & Chardonnay” featuring Peter Work from Ampelos Cellars, Dan Kessler from Kessler-Haak Vineyards, and Chad Melville of SamSARA Wine Co.

SUNDAY’S SEMINAR TOPIC – “The Elephant in the Bottle: The Great California Alcohol Debate” featuring Stillman Brown from Zeppelin Winery, Keith Saarloos from Saarloos & Sons,  and Norm Yost from Flying Goat Cellars.




Our very first video describing who and what a “garagiste” is.

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure Announces 2015 Winemaker Line-up, Plus New Events

‘Wildly exuberant and fun wine event’ returns to Solvang March 27th – 29th; features hard-to-find, cutting-edge micro-production wineries from Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley; adds new Winemaking Symposium, Winemaker Mixer and Big Red ‘Shoot Out”

Paso Robles, CA – February 17, 2015 - Garagiste Events today announced that tickets are now on sale for the third annual Santa Ynez Valley-based “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure,” which will feature over 60 of the area’s hard-to-find, micro-production commercial “garagiste**” winemakers. All festivities will take place at the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans’ Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang, California from March 27th – 29th. Proceeds benefit the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

Dubbed a ‘wildly exuberant and fun wine event’ by the LA Times, Southern Exposure features a ‘Grand Tasting’ on both Saturday and Sunday, each showcasing a completely different slate of winemakers. And, like all Garagiste Festivals, Southern Exposure offers attendees a low-crowd experience, high-quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries, personal winemaker interaction, diverse varietals and, of course, a renegade and fun-loving spirit.

This year, the festival kicks off with two new events on Friday (March 27th):

  • Happy Yeast Make Better Wine an educational (but fun) winemaker symposium sponsored by Laffort, and featuring Cal Poly professor and winemaker Matt Brain of Baker and Brain (5:00 – 6:30pm).
  • No Repeats: Rare & Reserve Winemaker Mixer where winemakers bring out the best of their best for attendees, including Club Only, Library and Pre-Release bottles, and compete in the “Big Red Shootout,” a friendly competition in which they blind-taste each other’s wines and vote for the best red in the room. (7:00 – 9:30pm).

Each Grand Tasting is preceded by one of the festival’s signature tasting seminars,*** moderated by Garagiste Festival Co-founder and radio host Stewart McLennan:

  • Saturday (March 28th) – The Diversity of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA: It’s Not All Pinot & Chardonnay featuring Dan Kessler of Kessler-Haak, Chad Melville from SamSARA Wine Co. and Peter Work from Ampelos Cellars
  • Sunday (March 29th) – The Elephant in the Bottle: The Great California Alcohol Debate with panelists Norm Yost from Flying Goat Cellars, Keith Saarloos from Saarloos & Sons and Stillman Brown from Zeppelin Winery.

“We could not be happier to be back in Solvang for the third year in a row with yet another extraordinary slate of 60 talented and innovative micro-production winemakers from Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara, over 20 of whom are pouring at the festival for the first time,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. More and more winemakers are telling us that The Garagiste Festivals are the only wine events they participate in because they are so full of passionate, knowledgeable (but decidedly un-snobby) fans of these very special handcrafted wines.”

Added McLennan: “Most of these wineries do not have tasting rooms and can’t be found on tour maps. The Garagiste Festivals bring them together under one roof, so our fans can not only try these fantastic, limited-supply wines, but also meet the cutting-edge winemakers behind them. And because it’s a Garagiste event, attendees know it will be fun and casual.”

Launched in Paso Robles in 2011, the non-profit Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemakers, commercial artisan winemakers who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make. The only festivals in the US dedicated to these innovative, hard-to-find, micro-production winemakers, the Garagiste Festivals have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, raising the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers.

Garagiste Events, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is proud to use the proceeds of the Festivals to support young winemakers at the Wine and Viticulture Program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The mechanism by which that happpens, The Garagiste Festivals, have allowed us to not only raise funds for our cause but also create an entirely new niche within the wine industry that supports small production artisan winemakers.