Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
10.01.2012  
 

Garagiste Winemakers Gear Up for Fest

Second annual Paso Robles event grows to four days

 
by Jane Firstenfeld
 
 
garagiste cal poly
 
Douglas Minnick and Stewart McLennan present a check for $10,000 to Cal Poly. The funds were profits from the inaugural Garagiste Festival in 2011.
Paso Robles, Calif.—Producers and fans of handcrafted Central Coast wines will gather Nov. 8-11 for the second annual Garagiste Festival. Winemakers from 48 tiny wineries (producing up to 1,200 cases per year) will pour at several events; seminars Nov. 10 and 11 will address issues including microclimates and terroir of Syrah, emerging varietals and a symposium for winemakers called Your First Vintage.

The two-day inaugural event in 2011 drew 500-700 paying guests, according to Stewart McLennan, who co-founded the festival with Douglas Minnick. Although he’s been producing wine with cohorts in “Brothers of the Barrel” since 1991 and worked at Four Vines Winery, McLennan will not be pouring at the festival, where all wineries are required to be licensed.

“Getting bonded and licensed costs a lot,” he noted. “A lot of our guys make their wines in bonded facilities, not actually a garage. In fact, some would probably be offended if you suggested they are actually making their wines in a garage,” McLennan said.

At the festival, however, they will be pouring their products in horse stalls (albeit luxurious, immaculate stallion stalls) at Paso’s Windfall Farms.

The 2011 event netted some $10,000 above costs, which was donated to the wine/grapegrowing program at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. With the expansion to four days this year, organizers hope to top that take, without crowding winemakers or attendees.

Winery tables are already sold out, McLennan said, but members of the trade and media can still register to meet the budding winemakers (and do some talent scouting) at the media/trade tasting from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10.

This year there is more seating for the Nov. 10-11 symposia. McLennan will lead the “Your First Vintage” winemaker symposium Sunday at 11 a.m. “It will be soup to nuts,” he said. “Grape sourcing, equipment, the amount of labor needed, what it will cost in labor time and money. Mostly, it will be me telling people what not to do.”

He recalled an early disaster with the Brothers of the Barrel: They’d loaded up a half-ton MacroBin with must and were moving it in the back of a pickup truck from one side of the property to the other. “We all turned around as it was going up a slight rise, in time to see the bin slip out of the truck, hit the ground and soak into the dirt.” All those grapes and labor, literally down the drain.

Spreading the word
McLennan, who’s poured at countless national tastings, said a few wineries that participated last year dropped out. “Some grew beyond our production limit; a couple felt they didn’t get enough out of it,” he said. “If they’ve never done it before, they may not understand the marketing. It’s a cost/benefit analysis. We want every bottle poured to bear fruit in terms of a positive effect,” McLennan said.

Nicholas Elliott, who’s returning to pour his Nicora Wines this year, felt a positive effect. Although he doesn’t have a tasting room for his 500-case production, there’s already a waiting list for the wine club; prices average $28 per bottle.

“I probably did about four or five events last year from Monterey to Los Angeles. You’ve got to do it. I have a little wine set aside for events, and tastings are available by appointment, when I have wine,” Elliott said. “We want to outgrow the festival eventually, but don’t want to grow too fast,” he said. “So far, it’s all word of mouth; no sign on the road, customers referring their friends.”

Like many of the garagistes, Elliott has a day job, working for Scott Hawley at Torrin Vineyard, another 500-case facility.

Victor Abascal’s Vines on the Marycrest, which will host the “Samples, Shiners & Secrets” winemaker mixer Nov. 9, has almost reached limit of self-described garagiste production, expecting to produce 1,100 cases this year. The recipient of the first Spirit of Garagiste Award said, “I don’t necessarily aspire to growing out of our ‘Amish’ style. To me, 2,000 cases is a hernia.”

Abascal and his wife Jenni have almost completed a new, architect-designed tasting room, which will open in time for the festival. “We can see ourselves one day outgrowing the (production) maximum, but not for a couple of years.” Their first few vintages were made side-by-side with others in a co-op.

Unique venue
He said that Windfall Farms, the major Garagiste Festival venue, is “unique,” with two or three wineries pouring in each horse stall: “Very intimate.” The stalls, he quickly pointed out, are immaculate. “I’d move right in,” he said. He also wandered around the tasting. “I became a patron, got to know the people. It was a fun day.”

Abascal, too has a day job, sleeping in his L.A. video production office three nights per week and working in his 26-acre vineyard and winery the rest of the week.

New participants in the 2012 Garagiste Fest include Bodega de Edgar, Paix Sur Terre, Von Holt Cellars, Sinor La-Vallee, Stage Left Cellars, Luminesce, Center of Effort, Changala, Zin Alley, Cutruzzola, Pipestone.

For complete list of participants, schedules, details and tickets, visit Paso Garagiste.

SHARE »
Close
LATEST READER COMMENTS
 
 
Posted on 10.04.2012 - 12:09:07 PST
 
Sounds like this year's festival is going to be a good one with some great new additions! Cheers!
 
Kristy @ Wine Logic
 
 
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
May 2015 $607 million
7%
$8,068 million
5%
May 2014 $569 million $7,651 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
May 2015 $141 million
4%
$1,896 million
14%
May 2014 $135 million $1,657 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
May 2015 355
15%
256
20%
May 2014 308 213
     
 
MORE » Released on 06.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 1
     
    Ag Labor Relations and Pre-Harvest Briefing
     
  • July 9-10
     
    Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries
     
  • July 18
     
    Oakland Wine Festival
     
  • July 19-22
     
    Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: New York Wineries Going Green »
 
Bravo to Lakewood for being an early solar adopter in the Finger Lakes wine industry!...
Reader: Suzanne Hunt
 
Article: New York Wineries Going Green »
 
Lakewood Vineyards completed work on their 47 kW (80 panel) solar array in 2012. It...
Reader: Benjamin Stamp
 
Article: New York Wineries Going Green »
 
I am wondering how substantial the electric bill is for wineries in the Finger Lakes...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Room Rewards »
 
I have worked in a tasting room (3) for over 8 years. It is a...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Norton to retire from UCCE »
 
Well done, Max!
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 2015 Harvest Cellar In...
 Rutherford, CA
Cellar, Lab and Production
 State Sales Manager
 North Carolina, NC
Sales and Marketing
 Sales - Santa Monica A...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Associate
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Fine Wine Sales Repres...
 Various Cities In Ohio, OH
Sales and Marketing
 District Manager, Flor...
 Miami Beach, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Tasting Room Sales Ass...
 Yountville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Wine Club Manager
 Pope Valley, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Associate
 Pope Valley, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Midwest Regional Manag...
 Chicago, IL
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.