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.




Expand your palate, impress your friends, find the next big thing!




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Since our first Festival in 2011, we have spread the gospel of the Garagiste from its birthplace in Paso Robles to include cutting-edge, small-lot winemakers from all over California. With over 250 participating wineries and thousands of wine consumers who have tasted the magic, the Festivals have become a shining light
on the California wine landscape, bringing much needed attention to a previously unknown segment of the wine business.

Join us as we bring together a select group of winemakers from all over the state to celebrate the passion and creative spirit of the “garagiste”. With educational and entertaining events spanning three days, guests will have numerous opportunities to taste hundreds of amazing wines, & actually meet the artisans hand-crafting them.

WineFolly.com’s Madeline Puckette Headlines Fifth Anniversary Garagiste Festival Seminars

Dynamic VIP seminar line-up includes Puckette’s “Exploring the Aroma Wheel” plus “Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems,” with winemakers Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre, Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company and festival co-founder Stewart McLennan

madeline-decanting-winePaso Robles, CA – September 21, 2015 – The Garagiste Wine Festival today announced that Madeline Puckette, wine expert and co-founder of the award-winning WineFolly.com, will headline the fifth anniversary festival’s signature tasting seminars in Paso Robles on November 7th. Puckett’s seminar, Exploring the Aroma Wheel, will give attendees a unique opportunity to isolate specific wine aromas, and understand where they come from, with content from her new visual book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Also joining the seminar line-up is Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems, featuring two of the hottest young Central Coast winemakers who are evangelists for whole cluster and stem inclusion, Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre and Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company, as well as Stewart McLennan co-owner and winemaker of Golden Triangle.

The seminars are part of a jam-packed slate of events November 5th – 7th, in the Paso Robles area, celebrating the festival’s fifth anniversary, including over 50 ‘garagiste**’ winemakers pouring over 200 wines; a five-course winemaker dinner; a ‘Rare and Reserve” Winemaker Mixer featuring wineries from all over California, and much more.

“WineFolly.com is one of our favorite wine sites. It is incredibly informative, with great visuals, and it definitely shares our “no-snobs-allowed” policy,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “While Madeline is an experienced sommelier and holds multiple certifications, it is her down-to-earth approach to wine, wine knowledge and wine tasting that we know our attendees will enjoy and benefit from.”

Wine-Folly-Essential-Guide-To-Wine-edition1-Cover-617x770Puckette co-founded WineFolly.com, an entertaining and educational site that offers answers to wine questions.  Through her work with Wine Folly, Puckette has received accolades from IWSC in 2013 as Wine Blogger of the year and Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2015 as one of the top “40 Under 40” American Tastemakers. The site offers free articles, infographics, videos and sells products that help wine beginners learn.  The popularity of the site led to the creation of the book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine, a visual guide published by Avery Books that is already an Amazon best seller.

The Exploring the Aroma Wheel wine tasting seminar will take place on November 7th at 11:00 am and will help attendees isolate, discern and remember wine aromas; how they translate to flavor, and how individual aromas interplay to create a complex, finished bouquet within the glass and on the palate.

The Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems seminar, which follows Puckette’s seminar at 11:45, will further enhance attendees’ wine tasting knowledge by exploring some of the winemaking techniques that make garagiste wines so extraordinary. Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company and Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre will join Stewart McLennan to shed light on a few of these techniques – such as stem inclusion (some winemakers’ trash, other winemakers’ treasure) – that can only be implemented with the flexibility of small-lot winemaking. The seminar will include tastings that showcase the difference these techniques – especially using the whole cluster, stems and all – can make in a wine.

paixsurterrePGWLogo kaena3

Ryan Pease is co-owner with his wife Nicole of highly regarded and high-scoring Paso Robles-based Paix Sur Terre, which produces a portfolio of mineral driven Mourvedres along with small lots of Grenache and Syrah, among others. Mikael Sigouin is owner of Santa Ynez Valley’s Kaena Wine Company and former long-time winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards. Known by his peers and fans as The Grenache King, he was named one of the top 10 new Rhone producers by Wine Spectator in 2006. Stewart McLennan is co-founder of the Garagiste Festival and co-owner with Jeremy Morris of Golden Triangle. Golden Triangle’s first vintage will debut at November’s Garagiste Festival.

The non-profit Garagiste Festivals benefit The Garagiste Scholarship Fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department.

The seminars are only available as part of The Garagiste Festival VIP package. To buy tickets and for full festival schedule and details, go to http://californiagaragistes.com/buy-tickets/ To get the latest event info, sign-up for The Dirt at http://garagistefestival.com/sign-up/. Or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or on Facebook.

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

Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund Established for Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Students

Annual scholarships awarded to high-achieving, entrepreneurial students of viticulture, enology or wine business; funded by donations from Garagiste Festival events

Paso Robles, CA – July 22, 2015 – The Garagiste Wine Festival, in conjunction with California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, today announced the establishment of the Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund which will award scholarships annually to high-achieving, entrepreneurial students of viticulture, enology or wine business in the university’s wine and viticulture department. Seeded with a $20,000 donation, the fund will be a beneficiary of proceeds from future Garagiste Festival events which include Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez, Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure in Los Angeles, and the Festival’s annual flagship November event in Paso Robles.

“Five years ago, the Garagiste Festival was born on the Central Coast, fueled by the passion and talents of the area’s artisan, and often rebel, winemakers – and dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Douglas Minnick. “And, what began as a local event has blossomed into a full-fledged movement, with impact across the wine industry.”

“From day one, it made perfect sense that Cal Poly University’s Wine and Viticulture department should be a beneficiary of the festival,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “Today, the Garagiste team could not be more proud to celebrate our fifth anniversary with the announcement of the establishment of a permanent scholarship fund at Cal Poly for those future winemakers who aspire to challenge, enrich and move the wine industry forward.”

The Garagiste Festival Scholarships will be awarded annually to high-performing undergraduate wine and viticulture department students who have demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial creativity. Recipients of the 2015/2016 Garagiste Festival scholarship will be announced as part of fifth anniversary celebrations at The Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles, November 5th – 7th.

“It is no secret to anyone that higher education today is incredibly expensive; and we are so grateful for the hard work and commitment of The Garagiste Festival team – and to their sponsors, winemakers and the consumers who attend – for making this scholarship possible. It will help some of our most accomplished students as they seek to broaden their education,” said Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department Interim Head Marianne McGarry Wolf. “The Garagiste Festival Scholarship students will be a reflection of the spirit of the garagiste winemakers: leaders with entrepreneurial DNA and a passion for excellence and innovation.”

The Garagiste Wine Festivals, which first exposed the American garagiste** movement, are among the most unique and influential wine events in the world and are the only wine events that exclusively showcase ultra-premium, cutting-edge, micro-production commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 (and many under 800) cases a year. The Garagiste Festival just wrapped its second annual, and highly successful, Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure in Los Angeles.

The Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department includes nearly 300 undergraduate majors, making Cal Poly among the largest Wine and Viticulture departments in the country. The program uniquely integrates three fundamental components of the modern wine industry, with a curriculum emphasizing the inherent connectivity between wine grape growing in the vineyard, wine making in the winery, and wine selling in the marketplace through a unique “learn-by-doing” approach. The department is currently developing a Center for Wine and Viticulture that will include new state-of-the-art teaching facilities.

To support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund as a Garagiste Festival sponsor or individual, contact info@garagistefestival.com.