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Steve Lohr headlines Garagiste seminar on new Paso Robles AVAs 

garagiste-festival-2014JPThe Garagiste Festival has added a third seminar to its 2014 line-up, “East! West! North! South! – What Does It All Mean?” focused on the 11 new Paso Robles AVA Viticultural Areas, which will become official on Nov. 10.

The seminar is headlined by special guest Steve Lohr, CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and moderated by Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan on Nov. 8 at the Ponderosa Pavilion at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds. The Garagiste Festival Grand Tasting, which follows the seminar, features 60 Paso area winemakers, including a broad range of wines from at least eight of the proposed new AVAs.

“The diversity of climates and soils is unique to the Paso Robles region and is a huge reason why the garagiste wine movement is able to explore virtually any varietal in any style. No other wine region can say that. On the eve of the ruling going into effect, we are honored to welcome Steve to the festival to share his insights on these new AVA Viticultural Areas,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “Steve was a key player in moving the new AVA process forward, and will share what drove the proposal, and what it means for winemakers and consumers alike.”

The seminar, “East! West! North! South! – What Does It All Mean?” is part of the fourth annual Garagiste Wine Festival, which takes place November 6th – 9th in Paso Robles, Atascadero and Templeton. Over 70 garagiste* winemakers are scheduled to pour over 300 wines during the non-profit festival, which is the first and only festival dedicated to undiscovered and under-recognized American garagiste winemakers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot wines in the world. The festival was just named “Best Festival” in Sunset Magazine’s November 2014 Best of the West.

The seminar is one of three seminars that kick off Day three of the Festival, and precede the Grand Tasting. The other two seminars are “Taste Like a Pro” led by Matt Kettmann of The Wine Enthusiast and “Making A Dream Come True: My Second Career as a Vineyard Owner and Winemaker,” with Bob Tillman of Alta Colina, Carl Bowker of Caliza, and Victor Abascal of Vines on the Marycrest. The festival also offers a Winemaker Symposium on Sunday, November the 9th, sponsored for the second year by Laffort, and designed for those wine lovers ready to, or contemplating, making the leap to winemaker.

Other festival events include “The Opening Round” at the historic Carlton Hotel in Atascadero on Nov. 7, featuring 20 winemakers from Northern California and Santa Barbara County, as well as cheese and charcuterie from Vivant Fine Cheese and hearty appetizers from popular local chef Johnny Jantz; “Shiners, Samples, and Secrets” Winemaker Mixer at Templeton’s First Crush, on Thursday November 6th; and the festival’s signature rocking AfterParty on Nov. 8, featuring local band High Voltage and beer from Barrelhouse Brewery.

Tickets are now on sale at



About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.