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America’s Best Wine Festival* Returns to Sonoma with 40 Garagiste Winemakers, April 13th


Unique, under-the-radar wines from 40 passionate micro-production winemakers, and the intimate tasting environment of the Garagiste Festival, return to Sonoma for a second year; new tasting seminar on the West Sonoma Coast AVA 

Paso Robles, CA –  February 21, 2019 – The Garagiste Wine Festival, which was named America’s Best Wine Festival by USA Today in 2018, returns to Sonoma with 40 micro-production winemakers from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lodi, Sierra Foothills, and more, on April 13th.  The internationally renowned festival showcases innovative winemakers who handcraft under 1,500 cases of wine and who, in most cases, don’t have tasting rooms, offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to taste a range of cutting-edge wine discoveries, with limited attendees, all under one roof.  

The non-profit event will be held at the Sonoma Veterans Building near Sonoma’s historic downtown plaza and includes a tasting seminar on the new West Sonoma Coast AVA, featuring Sonoma winemakers Andy Peay from Peay Vineyards and Carroll Kemp from Alma Fria Wines. Tickets are on sale at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-garagiste-festival-northern-exposure-tickets-52724183452 

“We know that wine lovers can tire of over-crowded, over-priced festivals that offer supermarket wines masquerading as ‘boutique’ offerings. This is why The Garagiste Festival is dedicated to bringing these fantastic, hard-to-find winemakers (and it is only the winemakers themselves who pour at Garagiste) to our audience in a setting where they can share their stories with attendees across the table. There’s really no other event like it,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “More than 90% of the wineries do not have tasting rooms, and can’t be found on “wine country” maps, so this is a unique opportunity to discover hidden treasures. Quality, not quantity, is our mantra and we love the uncrowded interaction that our Sonoma event offers – an opportunity for both fun and appreciation far from the usual madding festival crowd!” 

Dubbed “tasting nirvana”, ‘strange and wondrous’, and “one not to miss” by the LA Times, the Garagiste Festivals are known for high quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries, diverse grape varieties, a ‘no snobs allowed’ policy and a renegade and fun-loving spirit.  The non-profit Garagiste Festivals are the only festivals in the US dedicated to micro-production winemakers and have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, raising the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers. 

“We are so pleased to be back in the heart of Sonoma wine country for the second year. While we love every one of our venues, there is something completely different and special about Sonoma, and we were overwhelmed by the positive reception we received last year,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “We have an extraordinary line-up of winemakers you may have never heard of — but who you will fall in love with.  These winemakers take their craft and their terroir very seriously, and we look forward to exploring this with a deep dive into the treasures of the West Sonoma Coast AVA in our tasting seminar, which kicks off the festival.” 

McLennan, who hosts the popular The Garagiste Show on KRUSH 92.5FM, moderates this year’s tasting seminar: “What Defines an AVA? An Exploration of the New ‘West Sonoma Coast’ Appellation and Why the Distinction Matters,” which kicks off the festival.  Attendees will learn (and taste) what makes the ‘West Sonoma Coast’ AVA special (and distinct from the wider Sonoma Coast), and why it was necessary for them to pursue this separation. With Andy Peay from Peay Vineyards and Carroll Kemp from Alma Fria Wines. The seminar is available as part of the VIP ALL-DAY TICKET, which also includes a Wine Country Box Lunch – prepared by local favorite The Girl and The Fig – and early access to the Grand Tasting.

Saturday continues with the main event, The Grand Tasting from 2-5pm showcasing 40 winemakers
pouring 150+ wines and 15+ unique varietals. All tickets include unlimited tastes, cheese (courtesy of Cabot Cheese) & charcuterie, gourmet food samples and a souvenir Stolzle crystal wine glass. 

For full Garagiste Festival: Northern Exposure 2019 schedule details, go to http://californiagaragistes.com/ 

Tickets are very limited for the Sonoma festival and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. To buy tickets, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-garagiste-festival-northern-exposure-tickets-52724183452. For breaking festival news and special discounts, sign-up for our free newsletter, The Dirt at http://garagistefestival.com/sign-up/ or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook. 

Among the 40 winemakers already scheduled to pour are:  

Adron Wines, Alma Fria, Benevolent Neglect Wines, Betwixt Wines, Bluxome Winery, Boonville Road Wines, Calstar Cellars, Camlow Cellars, Chenoweth Vineyards, Cobden Wini Wines, Crux Winery, Cutruzzola Vineyards, DB Cellars, DeWitt Vineyard, Fallon Place Wines, Fields Family Wines, Gondak Cellars, Gordenker Wines, Greyscale Wines, Kendric Vineyards, Kitson Wines, March Wines, Mastro Scheidt, Merisi Wines, Montagne Russe, Mountain Tides Wine Co., Nowell-Smith Wines, Old County Cellars, Olivera Wines, People’s Wine Revolution, Perri Jaye Vineyards, Powicana Farm, Sosie Wines, St. Romedius, Tom Mackey Cellars, Urban Legend Cellars, Wander Must Wine, Weatherborne Wine Co. and Witching Stick Wines. 

Sponsors include:   Bank of Marin, ETS, AEB, Laffort, Digital Dogma, Hanover Insurance, Farm Credit, mWEBB Communications, Glenn Burdette, G3, WIVI, House Copper 

For sponsorship info, email [email protected].

About The Garagiste Wine Festival

The Garagiste Wine Festival (http://www.garagistefestival.com), named the ‘Best Wine Festival in the US in 2018 in USA Today’s 10Best Readers Choice Awards, is the first and only wine festival dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world. Founded by fellow garagistes Stewart McLennan and Douglas Minnick, the Garagiste Festivals are committed to discovering the best and most innovative limited-production winemakers and promoting and showcasing them to a broad audience of discerning wine consumers. In addition to its flagship annual festival in Paso Robles, CA, the Garagiste Festival line-up includes Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, featuring Santa Ynez Valley garagistes; the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, in Los Angeles; the Garagiste Festival, Northern Exposure, in Sonoma; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. 

In addition to being named the US’ Best Wine Festival, the Garagiste Festival was named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News, * “one of the premier wine events of the year,” by the LA Times and “Best Festival” by Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West.’ The festivals are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department. 

* The Garagiste Wine Festival was named America’s Best Wine Festival by USA Today in 2018. 

**Garagistes (garage-east) 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 responsible for making some of the best wine in the world.  The Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011.



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