One of my favorite pastimes involves tasting wines made by small winemakers who either are just beginning their journeys to becoming more established, or those who are deliberately small and will always remain that way.
By deliberately small, I mean they make a couple of hundred cases of wine, have no tasting room, and no vineyards to their name. California is full of these sorts of wineries, and while not all of them are great, these small, estateless wine brands can make some truly excellent wines.
Every region of California plays host to some of these wine labels, but only the Central Coast has a festival that specifically showcases them. Enter the Garagiste Wine Festival. Started in Paso Robles almost a dozen years ago, this tasting highlights several dozen little Central Coast wineries that many have never heard of, and might never hear of, except for this opportunity to stroll around and taste their wines on November 12th in Paso Robles.
Of the many wineries showcasing their wares, a majority just come into existence in the last six years, and all but a couple dozen of them have no tasting room, and more than 90 percent of them have no employees other than the winemaker. The term artisan has been overused to exhaustion at this point, but it certainly applies to these producers.
The event begins on the evening of November 11th with a “Rare and Reserve” kickoff party that involves a buffet dinner and a bunch of library and limited releases to taste from the attending vintners. Then on Saturday November 12th, a morning seminar on Syrah will take place at 11:30 AM, followed by the Grand Tasting at 2:00 PM.
For those up for a little field trip on the second weekend of November, there will be plenty of discoveries to make in Paso Robles.
11th Anniversary Garagiste Festival
Saturday, November 12, 2022
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (+ after-party)
Paso Robles Event Center
2198 Riverside Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446 (map)
Tickets for this event start at $79, but paying an extra $20 gets you into the event an hour early, and another $25 gets you access to the after-party. Or you can buy an all-day VIP ticket and get to attend the Syrah seminar as well. Purchase your tickets online here.