Taste Small Central Coast Producers at Garagiste Fest, Solvang 2/25-26

Garagiste Poster Solvang 2022

This weekend, cruise the California coast, enjoy the early season bright splashes of wildflowers, and discover some of the smaller and more special wines produced in the greater Santa Barbara area at the Garagiste Festival in Solvang, California.

Following surprisingly abundant rains in October and record breaking storms in December, then two months of warm sunshine, southern and central California’s hillsides are green with orange poppies, blue lupine, and more wildflowers to enjoy while driving to scenic Solvang where the Garagiste Wine Festival returns to the historic Mission-style Veterans’ Memorial Hall (1745 Mission Drive 93463) Friday evening February 25th and Saturday afternoon February 26th, 2022.  

The annual event, canceled during COVID, offers rare access to the best small-production winemakers from the Santa Barbara County area; purchase tickets here NOW because The Garagiste Festival always sells out! Know your money is going to a good cause: the non-profit Garagiste Festival supports the Garagiste Festival Scholarships at the Wine and Viticulture Department at Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo.

At the 2022 Garagiste Festival, over thirty winemakers will pour over 150 wines featuring a wide diversity of grape varieties and blends that offer a taste of local handcrafted small-lot production wines in one place. A signature aspect: winemakers, not tasting room personnel, always pour at The Garagiste Festival.

“We are thrilled to return to Solvang after a three year absence. While the pandemic may have prevented us from gathering, it did not prevent these extraordinary winemakers from crafting their fantastic wines, and we cannot wait to showcase them next month in-person to our very appreciative and enthusiastic attendees,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Douglas Minnick in a press release.

“Solvang has always been a very welcoming place for our attendees, and the stunningly beautiful surrounding area is fertile ground for some of the Central Coast’s most exciting winemakers,” continued Minnick.

“The atmosphere at Southern Exposure is always lively, fun, and relaxed — true to our no-snobs allowed tradition, and the perfect way to make new wine discoveries, all while taking the time to fully savor and appreciate these fabulous wines,” said Minnock. And it is such a privilege to meet and speak with the winemakers while tasting their wines!

The Garagiste Festival premiered in Paso Robles in 2011 as the nation’s first and only festival to showcase the wines of micro-production commercial ‘garagiste’ winemakers. Pronounced garage-east, garagiste a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” and is now a full-fledged movement. Named “Best of the Fests” by Fest Forums and the ‘Best Wine Festival in the US by USA Today, The Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011. In 2013 the Garagiste Festival added the event in the Santa Ynez Valley to showcase the wines of Santa Barbara County and surrounding AVAs, as well as small production wineries from across California. 

Events include Friday night’s “No Repeats, Rare & Reserve” event, and Saturday’s Grand Tasting, which includes a Silent Auction filled with first-rate wine packages that benefit The Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. However, due to COVID, no VIP Seminar will be held in order to expand the space for pouring.

The Friday event runs from 6:30-9:00pm where winemakers will be pouring limited samples of Reserve, Club Only, Library and Pre-Release wines, as well as barrel samples alongside a taco buffet  from Ibarra Catering & Eatery. All inclusive tickets are $70.

The festival’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, February 26th from 2:00 – 5:00pm ($75) showcases 30 local winemakers with complimentary cheese and charcuterie, as well as food samples from local artisan vendors. The Ibarra Catering Truck will be on site for purchases. For an additional $20, get in to the Grand Tasting early from 12:30-2:00pm.

At the 2022 Garagiste Festival Southern Exposure, meet the winemakers and taste wines from:

Ann Albert Wines, Bolt To Wines, Camins 2 Dreams, Cavaletti Vineyards, Crazy Woman Cellars, Dana V. Wines, Demeter Family Cellars, Diablo Paso, DreamCote Wines, Dusty Nabor Wines, El Lugar Wines, Entourage Wines, Familia Hicks, Imagine Wines, Kendric Vineyards, Lions Peak Winery, Marin’s Vineyard, MCV Wines, Montemar Winery, Purple Dragon Cellars, Quench & Temper, RF Fine Wines, Seagrape Wine Co,, Seven Oxen Estate Wines, Silver Wines, Steinbeck Vineyards, Sweetzer Cellars, and Sycamore Ranch Winery.

Note: Yes I’ll be there! It’s an awesome place to do research and make connections for the next edition of Slow Wine Guide!

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; the original festival in Paso Robles, CA; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more.

Now with a wine club!

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