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Garagiste Festival returns to Paso Robles Nov. 9 and 10 

Paso garagiste festival

Garagiste co-founders Doug Minnick and Stewart McLennan.

–The Garagiste Wine Festival will showcase 70 winemakers from across California at its ninth annual Paso Garagiste Festival to be held at the festival’s “home base” in Paso Robles on Nov. 9 and 10. Wineries from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Sierra Foothills, and more, join Paso Robles’ most exciting artisan winemakers to pour over 200 ultra-premium wines representing a wide diversity of grape varieties and blends.

This year’s festival features the return of the popular Rare and Reserve Paella Party, a ‘How to Taste Wine Like a Pro’ seminar, the epic Grand Tasting and Paso-signature Keep It Rockin’ After Party. Marking its 25th festival with the Paso Robles event, The Garagiste Festival is the first and only organization to gather these undiscovered artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers – who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot wines in the world – all under one roof.

“Our Paso Garagiste Festival is, in many ways, the culmination of the wine discoveries we make during the year at our festivals in Los Angeles, Solvang and Sonoma, and we are pleased to bring so many exciting new finds – nearly 20-percent of our winemakers are Paso firsts – along with so many festival favorites to the wine public,” said Doug Minnick, Garagiste Festival Co-founder. “These winemakers know just how to push the winemaking envelope to create some of the most exciting, audacious and delicious wines you will taste anywhere in the US. Join us in Paso and discover the biggest ‘small’ thing happening in the world of wine.”

Dubbed “tasting nirvana,” “strange and wondrous,” and “one not to miss” by the LA Times, the Garagiste Festival is renowned for its renegade spirit, passionate winemakers, handcrafted wines and rules-breaking, ‘no snobs allowed’ ethos. Launched in Paso Robles in 2011, the festival features the wines of commercial garagiste winemakers, who make under 1500 cases, at festivals across California, including Solvang, Sonoma, Los Angeles and Paso Robles. Over 400 different wineries have poured over 3,500 wines for over 11,000 wine lovers at Garagiste Festivals since inception.

The festival kicks off on Friday night in Templeton with its popular ‘Rare and Reserve – No Repeats’ tasting, featuring 30 winemakers and special wines that will be poured only that night, accompanied by delicious Paella from Chef John Carson of JC Catering.

Saturday’s line-up at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds includes the Grand Tasting with 70 winemakers; the Paso festival’s signature Keep it Rocking After Party, featuring the music of Erin and the Earthquakes; and a ‘How to Taste Wine Like a Pro’ interactive seminar from wine educator and certified wine specialist Melanie Webber who will help attendees learn how to assess wine quality apart from personal likes and dislikes through an easy-to-implement systematic tasting process. The seminar, which includes six wines, a take-home tasting grid, and a collaborative blind tasting, offers a great refresher for those in the know, and a fun primer and confidence builder for those who are just starting their wine exploration.

“There are three main things we want our attendees to experience at our festival – new winery discoveries, a whole lot of fun and truly great tasting. This seminar will help enhance each of those goals,” said Stewart McLennan, Garagiste Festival Co-founder. “Whether you already know a lot about wine or are just beginning your wine journey, the ‘How to Taste Wine Like a Pro’ seminar will help you discover (or rediscover) your wine palate and enhance the experience of every wine you taste.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. 

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at