Press Release – 10/19/16

‘Illegal’ Wine Blends and a ‘Peek Behind the Curtain’ of Big Wineries Add to Paso’s Garagiste Wine Festival Fun

Renowned winemaker Adam Lazarre keynotes festival; Ascension Cellars, Onx Wines and Pulchella lead blending seminar; Garagiste 2016 Scholarship presentation at Winemaker Shootout


The Garagiste Wine Festival today announced that renowned winemaker Adam Lazarre will keynote the sixth anniversary Garagiste Wine Festival. His keynote, ‘A Peek Behind the Curtain of Big Wineries,’ kicks off the Grand Tasting main event on November 12th in Paso Robles. The festival also announced additional festival details, including the participation of Ascension, Onx and Pulchella wineries in the festival’s first ever “Illegal Blends – Garagiste winemakers break Old World Wine Rules” tasting seminar and the presentation of the 2016 Garagiste Scholarship Fund to Cal Poly at the festival’s Industry Night and Winemaker Shootout on November 10th.

Launched in 2011 in Paso Robles, which was recently named America’s Best Wine Country Town by Sunset Magazine, the Garagiste Festival festival offers four days of events that feature over 60 micro-production winemakers pouring over 200 wines. Tickets are on sale now at

“It is so fitting that Adam Lazarre is our first Garagiste Festival keynote speaker – as a winemaking visionary and renegade, Adam has made both a million cases a year and a hundred, and is one of the creators of superstar wines Rex Goliath and Cycles-Gladiator,” said Doug Minnick, Co-founder, The Garagiste Festivals. “Adam will offer his unique perspective on winemaking at both ends of the spectrum (as well as tastes of some awesome wines) – but don’t get too serious, Adam is both irreverent and entertaining – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of wine.”

In addition to his winery, Lazarre Wines, Lazarre was the mind behind the successful Villa San-Juliette and Fat Monk line of wines in Paso Robles, producing wines for the creative geniuses Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe. In 2012, Adam was named one of’s “100 Most Influential People in the US Wine Industry”.

Following Lazarre’s keynote is the festival’s signature tasting seminar and panel, “Illegal Blends! Garagiste Winemakers Break Old World Wine Rules (…in France, they’d throw you in jail for these wines!),” which will help attendees understand how cutting-edge garagiste winemakers, unbounded by the mandated-by-law regional blends in France, Italy and the Old World, are free to experiment using the wide diversity of grape varietals grown in the Central Coast to make unique, exciting, and high-scoring blends. Moderated by Garagiste Festival Co-founder, Stewart McLennan, the seminar focusing on this no-rules approach and features three award-winning garagiste winemakers who specialize in unique blends: Erick Allen of Ascension Cellars, Brian Brown of ONX Wines and Steve Lemley of Pulchella Winery.

On Thursday night, Garagiste Festival ‘Industry Night’ returns to Lefondusac in Tin City, with three seminars culminating in the third annual Great Red Wine Shootout, where winemakers will blind taste and judge each other’s brown-bagged wines. As part of the evening, The Garagiste Festival, which benefits Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department, will present the 2016 Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund to Cal Poly and its 2016 scholarship recipients.

“This is one of our favorite moments each year: helping support the education of future winemakers is what The Garagiste Festival is all about,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “That, and introducing hundreds of winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers all while offering up a great deal of fun, lots of high quality wine and new wine discoveries in a completely ‘no snobs allowed’ zone.”

In addition to the seminars, Industry Night, and Saturday’s Grand Tasting featuring over 60 winemakers, the festival also brings back its Keep It Rockin’ After Party on Saturday with Burning James and the Funky Flames; “Friday Night Heaven,’ a Rare and Reserve Wine Tasting with gourmet grilled cheese from Hurricane Kitchen, and a Paso Garagiste Wine Passport day, offering special post-festival access to winemakers and their tasting rooms, vineyards, or wineries, as well as special Paso Robles weekend packages, including hotel discounts.

The festival takes place November 10th – 13th at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds and other Paso area locations, including Lefondusac in Paso’s hot new winery district Tin City and the historic Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.

For full schedule details, go to

Among the over 60 winemakers already scheduled to pour are:

Alta Colina Vineyards, Amor Fati*, Ampere Wine*, Ascension Cellars, Asuncion Ridge, Bodega de Edgar, Bon Niche Cellars, Bradley Family Wines*, Brian Benson Cellars*, Caldera Cuvee, Caliza Winery, The Central Coast Group Project, Circle B Vineyards*, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Copia Vineyards, Cutruzzola Vineyards, DENO Wines, Diablo Paso, Dilecta Wines, Dubost Ranch, Fableist Wine Co.*, Golden Triangle, Hoi Polloi Wines*, Hoyt Family Vineyards, Hug Cellars, Jacob Toft Wines, JPIII Wines*, Kaleidos Wines, Kendric Vineyards*, Last Light Wine Co.*, Last Summer Wine*, Levo Wines, Lynch Wines, Marin’s Vineyard, MCV Wines, Michael Gill Cellars, Mollie Wines*, Murder Ridge*, Mystic Hills Vineyard, Nicora Wines, Nowell-Smith Wines*, On Your Left Wines*, ONX Wines, Paix Sur Terre, Peloton Cellars*, Powell Mountain Cellars, Pulchella Winery, Ranchita Canyon, Rockin’ R Winery*, RN Estate, Ryan Cochrane Wines, Serrano Wines*, Seven Angels Cellars, Seven Oxen Vineyard, Shell Creek Vineyards*, Small + Tall Wines*, Stolo Family Vineyard, The Farm Winery, Tlo Wines, Top Winery*, Trojak-Knier Winery, TW Fermentation Co, Two Shepherds, Vinemark Cellars, Vino Vargas and West of Temperance*.

*First time pouring at the Paso Festival.

To preserve an intimate experience for consumers with one-on-one interaction with winemakers, tickets are very limited for the Garagiste Festivals and always sell out. To purchase tickets go to To learn more about The Garagiste Festival, and to get the latest event info, sign-up for The Dirt at Or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook.

Sponsors include:
Adelaide Inn, Bidwell Insurance, Carlton Hotel, ETS Laboratories, ClearWater Tech, Digital Dogma, Distinctive Glassware, Farm Credit West, Farm Supply, Glenn Burdette, G3/Diam, KSBY, La Bellasera Hotel and Suites, La Quinta Inn and Suites, Laffort, LML Graphics, mWEBB Communications, Paso Oaks Hotel, PRWCA, SLO New Times, Tonnellerie St. Martin, Travel Paso, Umpqua Bank, Visit Atascadero, WiVi Central Coast, XPressFil.

For sponsorship info, email info(at)

*Garagistes (garage-east) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything considered not a chateau), who refused to follow the “rules,” and is now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. The Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011. Since then, the festival has helped thousands of consumers discover the remarkable wines of hundreds of true garagistes, who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.

About The Garagiste Wine Festivals

The Garagiste Wine Festivals ( are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world. Founded by fellow garagistes Stewart McLennan and Douglas Minnick, the Garagiste Festivals are committed to discovering the best and most innovative limited-production winemakers and promoting and showcasing them to a broad audience of discerning wine consumers. In addition to its flagship annual festival in Paso Robles, CA, the Garagiste Festival line-up includes Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, featuring Santa Ynez Valley garagistes; the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, in Los Angeles; the Garagiste Festial, Northern Exposure, in the Bay Area; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. The festivals were named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News,* “one of the premier wine events of the year,” by the LA Times and “Best Festival” by Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West.’ The festivals are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Garagiste Festivals Inc. is a 5013c non-profit organization and proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

Media Contacts:
mWEBB Communications for The Garagiste Festivals
Melanie Webber, melanie(at)mwebbcom(dot)com, 424-603-4340
Crystal Hartwell, crystal(at)mwebbcom(dot)com, 714-987-1016