A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
The Garagiste Festival is back in Solvang next month and I am so excited to taste what they have in store for us this year.
A fun and very unique wine festival celebrating small production wines and their makers (who are usually there to pour and talk about all things vino), Garagistes (garage-east) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to put down renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything not a chateau), who refused to follow the rules, and has now become a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world.
The 2018 Southern Exposure Garagiste Wine Festival, which features more than 30 of California’s best micro-production wineries, takes place on Feb. 9-11 at the Veterans’ Memorial Hall in Solvang (1745 Mission Dr.).
New this year, the festival’s sixth in Santa Barbara County, is a seminar series that pays tribute to the “Original Garagistes,” featuring a Q&A and wine tasting with Central Coast winemaking pioneer, Bob Lindquist of Qupé. An original Rhône Ranger (America’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines) and recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award, Lindquist was one of the first in the wine industry to advocate American-made Syrah and other Rhône varietals. His winery Qupé has been named one of the Wineries of the Year for Wine & Spirits Magazine every year since 1999.
“A true original garagiste, Bob is an inspiration to micro-production winemakers everywhere and epitomizes everything that the American Garagiste movement is about—handcrafting stunning wines from under-appreciated grapes, ignoring established rules, innovating and taking risks and generously sharing knowledge with peers,” says Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “There would be no Garagiste movement, no Rhone Rangers—and the Central Coast would still be a blip on the way to Napa—without visionary winemakers like Bob.”
The weekend’s fun kicks off on Friday night, Feb. 9, with a “No Repeats, Rare and Reserve” tasting and BBQ, featuring food from local favorite Neighbor Tim’s BBQ (6480 Calle Real, Goleta). The “Original Garagiste” event with Lindquist takes place on Saturday, Feb. 10, immediately preceding the Grand Tasting, at Veterans Memorial Hall. Sunday, Feb. 11 marks the return of Passport Day, which offers special deals at participating local wineries for Garagiste Festival ticket holders who want to further explore the area.
Winemakers already scheduled to pour include:
Ann Albert Wines, Santa Barbara County
Ascension Cellars, Paso Robles
Bevela Wines, Central Coast
Bradley Family Winery, Santa Ynez Valley
Buscador Wine, Buellton
Byron Blatty Wines, Los Angeles
Caliza Winery, Paso Robles
Camlow Cellars, Russian River Valley
Cavaletti Vineyards, Southern California
Cholame Vineyard, Buellton
Cloak & Dagger Wines, Paso Robles
Clos de Amis Winery, Ventura County
Cordon Wine, Santa Barbara County
D. Volk Wines, Santa Ynez Valley
Diablo Paso, Paso Robles
Dunites Wine Co., San Luis Obispo County
Dusty Nabor Wines, Westlake Village
El Lugar Wines, San Luis Obispo
Elwood Wines, Santa Maria Valley
Golden Triangle, Paso Robles
Ground Truth Wine, Santa Barbara County
Hoi Polloi Wines, Central Coast
Kimsey Vineyards, Santa Barbara County
Luna Hart Wines, Buellton
March Wines, Napa Valley
Marin’s Vineyard, Lockwood
MCV Wines, Morro Bay
Metrick Wines, throughout California
Mollie Wines, Santa Barbara County
Montagne Russe, Mill Valley
Montemar Winery, Lompoc
Ryan Cochrane Wines, Santa Barbara County
Serrano Wine, Paso Robles
Sycamore Ranch Winery, Crestline
TLO Wines, Paso Robles
Torch Cellars, Paso Robles
TW Fermentation Co., Paso Robles
Velvet Bee Wine, Santa Ynez Valley
Vino Vargas, San Miguel
Volatus Wines, Paso Robles
Weatherborne Wine Co., Santa Barbara County
Called “wildly exuberant and fun,” “wine tasting Nirvana” and “not-to-be missed’ by the Los Angeles Times, Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure has showcased hundreds of micro-production winemakers from Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez area, many of who poured their first vintage at the festival and have gone on to greater renown.
Garagiste Festivals Inc. is a nonprofit organization and benefits the Garagiste Scholarship at Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department, so not only can you drink great wine and meeting interesting winemakers, your ticket also gives back to local youth.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”