Press Release: 2/23/17

Garagiste Wine Festival: Southern Exposure Celebrates Fifth Anniversary with CA’s Best Micro Production Wines, Abundance of Rosés, Cutting-edge Blends and More

Over 40 artisan ‘garagiste’ wineries, from Santa Barbara County and California, pour under one roof on April 1st in Solvang; new Southern Exposure tasting seminars highlight rising grape star, Grenache, and offer tips on how to identify common wine flaws; tickets on sale now

Paso Robles, CA – February 23, 2017 – Garagiste Events today announced that tickets are now on sale for its 2017 Southern Exposure Garagiste Wine Festival, which takes place on April Fools’ Day at the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans’ Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang, California.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary, this year’s Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure showcases handcrafted red and white vintages poured by over 40 hard-to-find, cutting-edge commercial artisan ‘garagiste’** wineries, as well as an abundance of “Just-in-Time for Spring” rosés from area garagiste winemakers, including Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Casa Dumetz Wines, Clos des Amis, Coda Wines, Jalopy Wine Company, Larner Vineyard & Winery, Levo Wine, MCV Wines, McKinney Family Vineyards, and Tercero Wines.

“Garagiste Festival attendees certainly are no fools. They know that nowhere else in the world will they experience such an amazing variety of carefully nurtured, micro-production wines that showcase the rich diversity of Santa Barbara County’s AVAs – and all under one roof,” said Doug Minnick, Co-founder, The Garagiste Festivals. “We promise that the only surprises in store at Southern Exposure’s April Fools’ Grand Tasting are a multitude of delights for your palate and the fun you will have meeting the winemakers who crafted them.”

Dubbed a ‘wildly exuberant and fun wine event’ by the LA Times, Southern Exposure 2017 also includes a tasting seminar on one of the most widely planted, but still little-known, varieties, Grenache, featuring Zac Wasserman (Frequency Wines), Sonja Magdevski (Casa Dumetz) and Cris Carter (Weatherborne), along with their wines. A second tasting seminar titled, “What’s Wrong With This Picture? Educate Your Palate About the Most Common Wine Flaws,” moderated by winemaker and festival co-founder Stewart McLennan, is led by Marcy Mallette, Winemaker/Technical Representative for Laffort USA. As always, The Garagiste Festival seminars involve tasting and comparing wines in a way that is difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate at home.

The fun kicks off on Friday night, March 31st, with a ‘Rare & Reserve’ Kick-Off Party with tastings of limited Club Only, Verticals, Library and Pre-Release bottles – and the fun extends, for those who want to further explore the area, to Sunday April 2nd with Southern Exposure’s first Garagiste Passport Day, featuring Garagiste specials, discounts and events at local wineries. All events (except Passport Day) will be held at Veterans’ Memorial Hall 1745 Mission Drive, Solvang, California.

Southern Exposure 2017 schedule (for full details click here):

  • Friday, March 31st: “Rare & Reserve” Kick-Off Party: 6:30-9:00pm
  • Saturday, April 1st Seminars: 11:00-12:30am
    “What’s Wrong With This Picture? Educate Your Palate About the Most Common Wine Flaws”
    “An Exploration of Grenache: Not Just for Blending Anymore”
  • Saturday, April 1st – Grand Tasting 2:00 – 5:00pm
  • Sunday, April 2nd – Passport Day

Like all Garagiste Festivals (and unlike many larger wine festivals), Southern Exposure limits ticket sales to give attendees a comfortable and relaxed tasting experience with personal winemaker interaction. As always, high quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries (seven winemakers will be pouring for the first time), diverse grape varieties and, of course, a renegade and fun-loving spirit will be on display.

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 Festivals Inc. is a 5013c non-profit organization and benefits the Garagiste Scholarship at Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department.

Tickets are very limited and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. To buy tickets and for more information, go to: For breaking festival news and special discounts, sign-up for our free newsletter, The Dirt at, or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook. For more information go to: 

Winemakers already scheduled to pour include: Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Bevela Wines, Bradley Family Wines, Brian Benson Cellars, Camlow Cellars, Carivintas, Carter Paul Wines*, Casa Dumetz Wines, Central Coast Group Project, Cholame Vineyards, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Clos des Amis, Coda Wines, Comartin Cellars*, Cordon Wines, Dascomb Cellars, El Lugar Wines, Frequency Wine Co., Golden Triangle, Iter Wines, Jalopy Wine Company*, Jamie Slone Wines*, JP3 Wines, Kaleidos Winery, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, Mallea Wines, Mattina Fiore, McKinney Family Vineyards*, MCV Wines, Metrick Wines*, Mollie Wines, Montemar Winery, Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape Wine Co, Serrano Wines, Skyenna Wines*, Tercero Wines, Turiya Wines, Weatherborne, and West of Temperance.

Sponsors include: Bidwell Insurance, ETS, Farm Credit, Glenn Burdette, The Hamlet Inn, Laffort USA, mWEBB Communications, WiVi Central Coast, and Visit

For sponsorship info, email

*New to the Garagiste Festival

**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.

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; 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. 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