The 3rd annual Garagiste Festival was held at Windfall Farms in Paso Robles on November 9th. Well, the main event of the festival was which is the media and general tasting. This year it actually fell on my birthday so what better way to spend that? Drinking some of the best wines in our area seems like a great way to spend any day but especially the celebration of my birth…okay…enough of that.
About the Paso Robles Garagiste Festival:
As you may know from previous blog post, this event has really blown up in the three short years it has been in existence and the reasons for that growth are obvious…in my mind.
-The co-founders along with a handful of other people had a vision and put that vision together beautifully.
-The focus on small lot wine producers (1,200 cases or less per year) has become increasing more popular yet no local event that I am aware of has done that.
-The venue for this event the first three years, Windfall farms, is beyond picturesque…it’s downright stunning.
-The quality of the wines at the event were phenomenal.
-I’m a huge fan of the overall vibe except for the handful of people that do not know event and wine tasting etiquette…but that you will find at every event.
We tried to hit up wines that were new to us but we can’t say no to some we were already quite familiar with like Caliza Winery, Alta Colina, Ranchero Cellars, Ambyth Estate, Baker & Brain, and LXV (this is one we just recently tasted and blogged about). Some of the new (to us) wines we tried were from Paix Sur Terre, LaZarre, ONX, Hoyt Family Vineyards, and Rendarrio Vineyards. As we went through we tasted mostly white wines with a handful of reds but I must say, I was truly blown away with the quality of the white wines being poured…from white blends, to Chardonnay, Albarino, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Of course the reds were fantastic but for some reason Annie, our friend Denise that was in town to attend with us, and myself were searching for whites. Annie and I tend to drink a lot of white wines but during winter and fairly often with food we break out the reds…so again, fantastic whites were found!
I love the sense of community at this event. I heard several of the winemakers talk about how they help each other out and that they are there for each other…and you can see it in action. This is one of those events where most of the winemakers take breaks from their table and go taste the wines of their colleagues. Some of them get really into it and they are super supportive of one another. That to me is another thing about Paso, whether these folks live in the area or are making wine from the fruit in the area…the Paso Robles vibe takes hold and shows.
I can go on and on about this event and all the things they’ve added on the days surrounding the grand tasting day but I will let you explore the Garagiste Festival website instead and hopefully you will start making plans to attend next year. This is a must attend event if you want the essence of Paso Robles and the ability to chat and taste wine with the winemakers themselves.
Side note: Sammy (our 13 month old son) did not go with us this year but last year we attended the event with him and he was about a month old…he slept the entire time in Annie’s arms as I gathered photos and tasted wine. Sammy was already a rock star, sooooo many people were already coming up and wanting to see him for the first time. I love this community for that, as you know. There is something about Paso Robles and it isn’t the wine, it’s the people. Cheers!
William Allen says
Good to bump into you guys even if I couldn’t pour!
Btw, the new Friday tastings at the Pavilion were a smash hit, sold out, and entirely different set of wineries. For those coming in for a weekend visit, get there in time for both next year, its worth it.
Matt aka Hoot says
I heard about that, William. I think that was a great idea to add that and have it be the different wineries. Hope to do more of the event next year…schedule is tight between work and parenthood though. Cheers to Garagiste!
Diane Smith says
So sorry we missed this event this year! Sounds like there were several new wineries involved & we hope we can catch them next go-round. Matt, you’re so right! The wines are great in Paso Robles and with the combo of the great people, it’s a win-win! Cheers!
Matt aka Hoot says
Absolutely, Diane. The wine is fantastic but I think the people is what really makes it all come together!! Cheers to that and this Wine Region of the Year!! 🙂