Press Release – 9/12/16

Garagiste Wine Festival Comes Home to “Best Wine Country Town”: Paso Robles November 11th – 13th

Sixth anniversary event celebrates over 60 hard-to-find micro-wineries pouring 200 wines and a cornucopia of unique blends and varieties

Paso Robles, CA – September 12, 2016 – The Garagiste Wine Festival returns to its birthplace, Paso Robles, from November 11th – 13th for its sixth anniversary with three days of events that feature over 60 micro-production winemakers pouring over 200 wines. Tickets are on sale now at

Launched in 2011 in Paso Robles, which was recently named America’s Best Wine Country Town by Sunset Magazine, the Garagiste Festival was the first event to define, and shine a spotlight on, the “garagiste*” wine movement, which has exploded over the past five years, and features commercial artisan winemakers who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.

This year, the festival’s spotlight is firmly on Paso Robles as it celebrates the region’s wide range of varieties and unique blends, as well its renegade spirit. These qualities, along with its vibrant artisan ‘garagiste’ winemaker scene, have made Paso Robles one of the world’s hottest wine regions — and its renown has grown in tandem with the explosion of the American Garagiste movement. New events this year include a tasting seminar focusing on “Illegal Blends!’ – innovative blends by Paso winemakers – 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.

“All the recent Paso Robles accolades are true and deserved: we have always known that Paso is one of America’s ‘Best Wine Country Towns’ and ‘Happiest Cities’. And, although we now have Garagiste Festivals in several locations, there is no substitute for meeting the winemakers in their native habitat where the festival originated,” said Garagiste Festival Co-Founder Doug Minnick. “The fun, friendly, no-snobs allowed camaraderie of Paso and the Garagiste movement is everywhere. If you’ve never been to a Paso Garagiste Wine Festival – and especially if you’ve never visited Paso – this is a fantastic opportunity to experience the spirit of these cutting edge winemakers and discover this amazingly beautiful, comfortable and welcoming wine town. Or you can sit in traffic in Napa. Your call.”

In addition to being named America’s Best Wine Country Town, Paso Robles was named Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine; One of the Best Small Main Street Towns in America by Top Value Reviews; One of America’s Best Towns for the Holidays by Travel + Leisure; One of America’s Favorite Small Towns by Yahoo Travel; One of America’s Happiest Cities by Yahoo Homes, and one of the Top 10 U.S. Spots by Lonely Planet.

“Our festival is the go-to event to not only taste the flagship wines of our region, but also to dig into the remarkable Paso Robles’ terroir and the experimental craft of our garagiste winemakers. Emblematic of this is our first-ever ‘Illegal Blends’ seminar, an introduction to, and celebration of, the no-rules approach of our region’s winemakers,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “Unbounded by the mandated-by-law regional blends France, Italy and the Old World have to contend with – and with a cornucopia of locally grown varieties – the seminar will demonstrate how our region’s winemakers are able to experiment with blends to make a wine better than its usual parts.”

Uniquely reflective of the range of soils and microclimates the garagiste winemakers have access to, over its six years the Garagiste Wine Festival has featured handcrafted wines from a diverse range of grape varieties including Albarino, Aglianico, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault, Counoise, Fiano, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Lagrein, Malbec, Malvasia Bianca, Marsanne, Merlot, Mourverdre, Muscat Blanc, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Petit Sirah, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Riesling, Rousanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Symphony, Syrah,Tannat, Tempranillio, Teroldego, Trousseau Gris, Ugni Blanc, Viognier, Zinfandel and many more.

The festival also includes the Grand Tasting Main Event, Winemaker Shootout, Rare and Reserve Wine Tasting with Gourmet Grilled Cheese, and Keep It Rockin’ After Party. The festival takes place 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.

The sixth anniversary Paso Robles Garagiste Wine Festival marks the non-profit Garagiste Events fourteenth festival – festivals also take place in Solvang, Los Angeles and Oakland. The 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.

For full schedule details, go to

Among the over 60 winemakers already scheduled to pour are:

Alta Colina, Amor Fati*, Ampère*, Ascension Cellars, Asuncion Ridge, Barton Family, Bodega de Edgar, Bon Niche, Brian Benson Cellars, Caldera Cuvee, Caliza Winer, The Central Coast Group Project, Changala Vineyard, Circle B Vineyard and Cellars*, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Copia Vineyards, Cutrozzola Vineyards, Deno Wines, Diablo Paso, Dilecta, Fableist Wine Company*, Hoi Polloi*, Hoyt Family Wines, Hug Cellars, JPIII Wines, Kaleidos Winery, Kendric Vineyards*, Last Light Wine Co.*, Last Summer Wines*, Levo Wine, Lions Peak*, Lynch Wines, MCV Wines, Michael Gill Cellars, Mollie Wines*, Mystic Hills Vineyard, Nicora, Nowell-Smith Wines*, Paix Sur Terre, On Your Left, Peloton Cellars*, Pulchella Winery, Ranchita Canyon, Rendarrio Vineyards, Rockin R Winery*, RN Estate, Seven Angels Cellars, Seven Oxen Winery, Stolo Family Vineyards, The Farm Winery, Tlo Wines, Top Winery*, Trojak-Knier*, Two Shepherds, Vinemark Cellars, Vino Vargas, West of Temperance.

*Pouring for the first time at The Garagiste 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, The Carlton Hotel, Digital Dogma, Distinctive Glassware, ETS Laboratories, Farm Credit West, Farm Supply, G3/Diam, Glenn Burdette, La Bellasera Hotel and Suites, La Quinta Inn and Suites, Laffort, LML Graphics, Paso Oaks Hotel, PRWCA, Tonnellerie St. Martin, TPRA, Umpqua Bank, WiVi Central Coast, XPressFill

For sponsorship info, email

*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