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Garagiste Wine Festival Wins ‘Best of the Fests’, Kicks off 10th Anniversary Year in Sonoma on February 15th


National award from Fest Forums recognizes Garagiste Festival’s innovation; 2020 lineup in Sonoma, Solvang, Los Angeles and Paso Robles announced

Paso Robles, CA –December 10, 2019– The Garagiste Wine Festival, which was just named ‘Best of the Fests’ for 2019 by Fest Forums, is kicking off its 10th anniversary year with its popular Garagiste Northern Exposure event in Sonoma on February 15th, 2020. The Sonoma event offers wine lovers rare access to cutting-edge wines from over 40 micro-production, commercial wineries from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Sierra Foothills, Lodi, Santa Cruz and more.

The Garagiste Festival premiered in 2011 and is the nation’s first and only festival to showcase the wines of micro-production commercial ‘garagiste*’ winemakers. The ‘Best of Fest’ Award from Fest Forums, the country’s leading conference for Event and Festival producers nationwide, recognized The Garagiste Festival for its innovation. Because Garagiste offers wine lovers one-of-a-kind opportunities to taste a range of each year’s most exciting handcrafted small-lot production wines, all under one roof, its four annual festivals in Sonoma, Solvang, Los Angeles and Paso Robles consistently sell out. This is the second national award for the festival which was also named the ‘Best Wine Festival in the US in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

“2020 is a landmark year for Garagiste, and we are so grateful to receive this prestigious award as we head into our 10th anniversary year,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick.  “The Garagiste Festival is the ‘little engine that could’ in a world of bigtime events featuring major stars and corporations, and we know it is all down to the amazing winemakers who pour at our festivals and each year inject freshness, creativity and a renegade spirit into the wine establishment.”

The non-profit Garagiste Festival also supports the Garagiste Festival Scholarships at the Wine and Viticulture Department at Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo.

“Our mission over the last decade has been to shine a spotlight on small-lot winemakers, who you don’t find in grocery stores or on wine country maps, while supporting the winemakers of the future through our Garagiste Festival Scholarships,” said Garagiste Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “Our intimate and ‘no snobs’ allowed atmosphere has made the Garagiste Festivals unique and memorable, while our winemakers have expanded the horizons and palates of thousands of wine lovers. 2020 will be our best year of festivals ever. Stay tuned!”

Northern Exposure in Sonoma:

The February 15th 2020 Garagiste Festival Northern Exposure will be held at the Sonoma Veterans Building near Sonoma’s historic downtown plaza and features 40 winemakers, one-in-four of which are brand new to the festival, pouring over 100+ wines from 20+ grape varieties. Limited availability VIP Experience tickets celebrate Valentine’s weekend with a Rare and Reserve tasting featuring library, club only and reserve wines; a wine county box lunch from local fave, The Girl & the Fig; a full glass of sparkling Rosé from Garagiste Festival winemaker, Carboniste Modern Sparkling, as well as a themed treat from artisan chocolatiers Fleur Sauvage Chocolates.

Among the 40+ winemakers scheduled to pour at the Sonoma Northern Exposure Festival are:

601 Cellars, Abbot’s Passage, Aesop Wines, Ampere/Pine Mountain Vineyards, Armitage Wines, Benevolent Neglect Wines, Boonville Road Wines, Brombeere Wines, Carboniste Modern Sparkling, Carpenter Wine, Crux Winery, Dane Cellars, DeWitt Vineyard, Enriquez Estate Wines, Fallon Place Wines, Ferguson Family Wines, Fields Family Wines, Frostwatch Vineyard, Greyscale Wines, Jardesca Aperitvo, JonEVino, March Wines, Mastro Scheidt, Montagne Russe Wines, Oceano Wines, Oceans Churning, Old County Cellars, Ondule Wines, Perri Jaye Vineyards, Piezo Winery, Purple Dragon Cellars, Ricci Vineyards, Sosie Wines, Sutro Wine, T. Berkley Wines, Weatherborne Wine Corp. and Zo Wines.

2020 Garagiste Festival Dates and Places:

The Garagiste Festival’s 10-year anniversary celebration will continue throughout the year with special events, signature tastings, local chefs, after parties, and rare and reserve nights.

  • Feb 15 in Sonoma at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall: 126 1st Street W. Sonoma, CA
  • April 17 & 18 at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang: 1745 Mission Drive, Solvang, CA
  • July 25 at the historic Glendale Civic Auditorium: 1401 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA
  • Nov 12 -15 – The 10th Annual Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles includes a series of special events and The Grand Tasting at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds: 2198 Riverside Ave, Paso Robles, CA 

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

Tickets are limited for the Sonoma festival and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. To buy tickets, go to: www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-garagiste-wine-festival-northern-exposure-tickets-75598187213?aff=website. For breaking 10 anniversary celebration festival news and special discounts, sign-up for our free newsletter, The Dirt at https://www.garagistefestival.com/garagiste-blog or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook.

About The Garagiste Wine Festival

The Garagiste Wine Festival (www.garagistefestival.com), named Best of the Fests for 2019 by Fest Forums and 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.

*Garagiste (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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