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Garagiste festival announces seminar headliner’s Madeline Puckette headlines fifth anniversary Garagiste Festival seminars

The Garagiste Wine Festival recently announced that Madeline Puckette, wine expert and co-founder of, will headline the fifth anniversary festival’s signature tasting seminars in Paso Robles on Nov. 7. Puckett’s seminar, “Exploring the Aroma Wheel,” will give attendees a unique opportunity to isolate specific wine aromas, and understand where they come from, with content from her new visual book “Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine.”

Puckette’s wine tasting seminar will take place on Nov. 7 at 11 a.m.

Madeline Puckette.

Madeline Puckette.

Also joining the seminar line-up is “Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems,” featuring two young Central Coast winemakers who are advocates for whole cluster and stem inclusion, Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre and Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company, as well as Stewart McLennan co-owner and winemaker of Golden Triangle.

The seminars are part of a jam-packed schedule of events Nov. 5 – 7, in the Paso Robles area, celebrating the festival’s fifth anniversary, including over 50 garagiste winemakers pouring over 200 wines; a five-course winemaker dinner; a “Rare and Reserve” Winemaker Mixer featuring wineries from all over California, and much more.

“ is one of our favorite wine sites. It is incredibly informative, with great visuals, and it definitely shares our ‘no-snobs-allowed’ policy,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “While Madeline is an experienced sommelier and holds multiple certifications, it is her down-to-earth approach to wine, wine knowledge and wine tasting that we know our attendees will enjoy and benefit from.”

Through her work with Wine Folly, Puckette has received accolades from International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2013 as Wine Blogger of the year and Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2015 as one of the top “40 Under 40” American Tastemakers. The site offers free articles, infographics, videos and sells products that help wine beginners learn. The popularity of the site led to the creation of the book “Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine,” a visual guide published by Avery Books that is already an Amazon best seller.

“The Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems” seminar, which follows Puckette’s seminar at 11:45, will further enhance attendees’ wine tasting knowledge by exploring some of the winemaking techniques that make garagiste wines so extraordinary. Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company and Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre will join Stewart McLennan to shed light on a few of these techniques – such as stem inclusion (some winemakers’ trash, other winemakers’ treasure) – that can only be implemented with the flexibility of small-lot winemaking. The seminar will include tastings that showcase the difference these techniques – especially using the whole cluster, stems and all – can make in a wine.

Ryan Pease is co-owner with his wife Nicole of Paso Robles-based Paix Sur Terre, which produces a portfolio of mineral driven mourvedres along with small lots of grenache and syrah, among others. Mikael Sigouin is owner of Santa Ynez Valley’s Kaena Wine Company and former long-time winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards. Known by his peers and fans as “The Grenache King,” he was named one of the top 10 new Rhone producers by Wine Spectator in 2006. Stewart McLennan is co-founder of the Garagiste Festival and co-owner with Jeremy Morris of Golden Triangle. Golden Triangle’s first vintage will debut at November’s Garagiste Festival.

The non-profit Garagiste Festivals benefit The Garagiste Scholarship Fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department.

The seminars are only available as part of the festival VIP package. To buy tickets and for full festival schedule and details, click here. 

Among the over 50 winemakers already scheduled to pour are returning vineyards: Aaron Wines, Alma Sol Winery, Alta Colina Vineyards, Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Asuncion Ridge, Barton Family, Bon Niche Cellars, Caliza Winery, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Clos Solene, Culton Wine Co., Cutruzzola Vineyards, Deno Wines, Diablo Paso, Dilecta Wines, Domaine Degher, DuBost Winery, Falcone Family Vineyards, Felten Cellars, Guyomar Winery, Hoyt Family, Irie Wines, Jacob Toft, Kaleidos Wines, Last Light Wine Co., MCV Wines, The Missing Leg, Nicora Wines, Nobelle Wines, Paix Sur Terre, Powell Mountain Cellars, Pulchella Winery, Ranchero Cellars, Ranchita Canyon, Rendarrio Vineyards, Sea Shell Cellars, Seven Angels Cellars, Soaring Hawk Vineyards, Stanger Vineyard, Stolo Family Vineyard, The Farm Winery, Tlo Wines, Turtle Rock Vineyards, Two Moons, Vin Alegre, Vinemark Cellars and Vino Vargas.

Pouring for the first time this year: Caldera Cuvee, Chene Wines, Four Lanterns, Frisby Cellars, Golden Triangle, Michael Rose Cellars, On Your Left, Pagter Brothers Winery, and Seven Oxen Vineyard.

Sponsors include: Baker Wine & Grape Analysis, Barrelhouse Brewing Co., Broken Earth Winery, The Carlton Hotel, Diam, ETS Laboratories, Enartis Vinquiry, Farm Credit West, G3 Enterprises, Glenn Burdette, Hampton Inn & Suites, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Laffort USA, mWEBB Communications, The Oaks Hotel, The Paso Robles Inn, The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Stolzle Glassware, Ted Hamm Insurance,, Wines & Vines, and Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine. For sponsorship info, email

Garagiste 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. The garagiste festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011. Since then, the festivals have helped 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.

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