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Hundreds attend Garagiste Urban Exposure 

Carl Boker of Caliza Wine.

Carl Boker of Caliza Wine.

–The Garagiste Wine Festival-Urban Exposure, held on Saturday, July 15 by the seaside in Santa Monica, brought together an enthusiastic crowd of wine aficionados to taste small lot wines from producers throughout California. Over 400 wine lovers were present to taste wines from about 50 winemakers spread up and down the California Coast—and did they get a treat! A majority of the winemakers pouring at Garagiste have no tasting room, so this is a rare opportunity to meet the wines, chat with the winemakers, from these small lot artisan producers while sampling hard to find boutique wines.

Paso Robles had a significant representation with over 20 wineries from the region. A nice feature was that the Paso Robles wineries were located upstairs at the venue, easy to find in one place for all the “Pasofiles” who attended!

Dave McGee of Monochrome Wines, first time exhibitor, was excited to introduce his initial release of wines. Dave is currently offering an all-white selection—perfect for the summertime! Thrilled with the event, Dave remarked: “The Garagiste Festivals are always a great opportunity for wine lovers to discover small innovative producers, and for new wineries to be exposed to an eager and receptive audience. As a new winery focused exclusively on white wines (debuting our first vintage), we were very pleased by the response we received. Thank you to the organizers and to all who attended the event.”

Stanley Barrios and Elena Martinez, of TOP Winery were delighted to pour their selection for the largely Los Angeles-Southern California crowd.

Mike Rubino of PRIZM Winery was thrilled to pour his small lot production of premium Cabernet Sauvignon.

Long time supporters of The Garagiste Festival such Bodega de Edgar, Cloak and Dagger, MCV Wines and a slew of other Paso winemakers all added to the fun and wine tasting of the afternoon.

Carl Bowker of Caliza, always enthusiastic, commented: “The Garagiste Festival in Santa Monica was a blast from the moment the doors opened. It was great to have an entire floor of the tasting event dedicated to Paso Robles Garagiste producers. The attendees that visited us were passionate about wine. We feel like we made a bunch of new Caliza Winery friends!” And Maggie Tillman of Alta Colina, another long time participant, said of the event: “As always, Garagiste is one of our favorite events.  It brings a wonderful group of wine lovers together who are interested in trying something new and excited to try something they’ve never heard of. Plus, Garagiste winemakers are the best!”

Furthermore, Garagiste Co-Founders, Doug Minnick and Stewart McLennan were sampling their own labels: Hoi Polloi Wines, a project begun by Doug Minnick (recently opening a tasting room in Santa Clarita), and Golden Triangle (Stewart McLennan’s label, available for tasting in the Tin City section of Paso Robles). These two have certainly come full circle-from establishing this great event, to becoming Garagiste winemakers themselves!

The event was also well represented by winemakers from other California wine areas, to name just a few:
Santa Barbara: Ann Albert Wines (pouring their 1st vintage), Brophy Clark Cellars, D Volk Wines, and Loubud Wines were some of the producers pouring from this wine rich region.

Some of the Northern California Garigiste producers included: Chenoweth Wines and Montagne Russe (Sonoma), Enoteca Five (Livermore), March Wines and Starfield Vineyards (Napa Valley).

For a complete listing of this year’s participants, and to keep updated on Garagiste news and events, please check their website:

In addition to discovering small, premium wineries pouring at the event, and chatting directly with the owners and winemakers, is the charitable aspect of The Garagiste Festival. The Garagiste Wine Festival is a non-profit organization, with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction going to support the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department. A Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund has been established with the goal of helping students who wish to pursue a career in wine-making pursuing their dream and passion.

This event always sells out quickly, so check the website and make plans to attend the next Garagiste Wine Festival!

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