Press Release – 11/10/2014

Garagiste Wine Festival: Sell-Out in Paso Robles for 4th Year in a Row – 2015 ‘Southern Exposure’ Festival Dates Announced

Over a thousand wine enthusiasts and winemakers participated in this weekend’s 2014 Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles; dates announced for third annual Southern Exposure Festival in Solvang: March 27th – 29th 2015

Paso Robles, CA – November 10, 2014 – Garagiste Events, producers of The Garagiste Festivals, today announced the return of their popular Southern Exposure festival in 2015 to Veterans’ Hall in Solvang on March 27th-29th. The announcement was made this weekend during the Paso Robles Garagiste Festival, which sold out for the fourth year in a row.  Over a thousand wine enthusiasts and winemakers participated in the four-day festival, which lived up to its description by the Los Angeles Times as not only “one of the premier wine events of the year,” but also one of “wine’s best parties.”   The Paso Robles event, which is one of three Garagiste Festivals held across California each year, was also recently dubbed “Best Festival” in Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West’.*

“The sold-out 2014 Paso Robles Garagiste Festival is further proof that the American garagiste movement is one of the hottest trends in the wine industry, and that Paso Robles is its heart and soul,” said Garagiste Festival co-founder Doug Minnick. “We are proud to be the only event in the country to shine a light on so many extraordinary artisan winemakers under one roof – all while offering wine lovers a ‘no snobs allowed’ atmosphere in which to sample innovative wines crafted with passion, a healthy respect for tradition, and an even healthier respect for breaking the rules.”

Added Festival co-founder Stewart McLennan: “And, if you missed us in Paso, join us in Solvang in March for what promises to be our best Southern Exposure ever – with many more exciting wine discoveries on tap from Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara County.”

This year’s Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles included four days of tastings, as well as seminars from Steve Lohr, CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and Matt Kettmann of the Wine Enthusiast, among others. A new highlight this year was the festival’s first (but not last) “Big Blend Shootout,” a friendly competition in which over 20 winemakers blind-tasted each other’s wines and picked out the best of the best (as well as attempting to identify their own blends among the brown-bagged wines, which the majority were able to do). The winner was Bret Urness from Levo Wine, for his Grenache, Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Viognier blend

“It was a great night that epitomized the camaraderie among winemakers in Paso Robles, and the fact that, while winemaking is a lot of work, it is also a lot of fun, especially after the long harvest,” said McLennan.  

The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure will be held March 27th – 29th at the beautiful mission-style Veterans’ Hall in the heart of Solvang. The weekend of events will showcase the wines of over 60 artisan garagiste commercial winemakers who produce under 1,500 cases per year from the Santa Barbara region and the Central Coast. 

The non-profit Garagiste Festivals benefit the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

To be alerted to breaking news about Southern Exposure and additional Garagiste events, sign up for The Dirt at, or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook. For more information on The Garagiste Festivals, go to

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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 consumers discover the remarkable wines of hundreds of garagistes, who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.

About the Garagiste Festivals

The Garagiste Festivals ( are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized 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; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. Named one of the “Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations” by ABC News, Garagiste 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. Proceeds from the festivals are donated to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.

*Sunset Magazine’s Best of the West Festival, November 2014

Media Contacts:

mWEBB Communications for The Garagiste Festivals

Melanie Webber,, 424-603-4340