California “Garagistes” Winemakers

I occasionally like the subjects and so rarely like the writing in the wine section of the San Francisco Chronicle that I have stopped even checking that paper on Thursdays, when the section comes out. However, I am pleased to report that today’s contains a well written article about a subject that is dear to my heart — small time winemakers, whom the author calls “Garagistes.” While Stephen Yafa doesn’t bother to tell you the history of the term (coined to describe the efforts of Michael Gracia and some other Right Bank winemakers in the Bordeaux region who turned the Chateau system on its head in the 1990s) he does a great job visiting and interviewing several folks in California who clearly qualify for that moniker. The story is well written, researched, and it highlights several great winemakers. Well worth the read.

And in a stunning coincidence, another article on the same subject was published a couple of days ago in the International Herald Tribune. It’s shorter and focuses more on folks who might still be called amateur, but it’s right on the money.