Garagiste Festival Comes to Solvang

Posted on Feb 6 by SEASONS Magazine

Garagiste festival, courtesy of

Garagiste festival, courtesy of

Don’t miss the next Garagiste Festival celebration Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure coming up on February 16 in Solvang! If you love wine and believe in the highest quality of the obscure, then this event, featuring 30 winemakers from the Santa Ynez Valley, is for you.

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure will showcase wineries that produce less than 1,200 cases per year. Some of the wineries represented don’t even have tasting rooms, so this event offers once-in-a-lifetime looks into these small-batch winemakers’ work.

Events include “The Ultimate Barrel Tasting – Oak Flavors Tasted and Explained” from 11 a.m.–noon, a seminar by Michael Larner, winemaker and vineyard owner, and Ryan Render, a winemaker. Ryan has participated in the Garagiste Festival twice and works at the Tonnellerie Saint Martin cooperage. These men will share their knowledge of viticulture through a special barrel tasting, allowing attendants to truly taste how wine preparation (through different oak treatments) determines a delightful outcome.

The Grand Tasting will take place from 2–5 p.m., with a lineup of 30 winemakers pouring over 100 different wines. Through this tasting, you may learn more of the subtleties of great wines and what constitutes a great wine for your delicate taste buds.

The word “Garagiste” (gar-uh-zhe-stuh) comes from the French term used for renegade winemakers who often made wine in their ‘garages’, refusing to follow the rules. As may be guessed, this movement is now fully supported by wine lovers and is responsible for concocting some of the best wines around.

Garagiste Festivals was founded by Stewart McLennan and Douglas Minnick, and is the first and only festival to celebrate garagiste wines. It is a non-profit organization that devotes itself to furthering the education of our future winemakers. This organization supports Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture program, and at their last event (which took place in the beautiful wine country of Paso Robles and featured 48 garagiste winemakers), they granted Cal Poly a check for $10,000. This donation will go towards Cal Poly’s new spectrophotometer which will enable students to measure various scientific components of wine accurately.

Donation to Cal Poly, courtesy of

Garagiste Festivals will continue to support Cal Poly through their events (courtesy photo)

Garagiste Festivals will continue to support Cal Poly through their events.

For tickets and more information on The Garagiste Festival and The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, click here.

~Elise Kimball


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