The Garagiste Festival Presents $10,000 Donation to Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program; Announces Ongoing Relationship

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Garagiste team presents check to Wine and Viticulture Program Director Jim Cooper; proceeds from new Santa Ynez Valley Garagiste Festival to benefit Cal Poly; Cal Poly 'Garagiste' seminars series announced.

The Garagiste Team presents a donation from the 2012 Garagiste Festival to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

We are thrilled to present this check to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program, and to do it right where it all starts for tomorrow’s winemakers - in the Cal Poly vineyard.

The Garagiste Festival presented a check for $10,000 to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program from proceeds raised at its 2012 Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles, CA and announced that its upcoming ‘Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure,’ scheduled for February 16th in Solvang, will also benefit the Cal Poly program. In addition, the festival announced its sponsorship of a series of seminars for the Wine and Viticulture program, featuring the ‘in-the-trenches’ expertise of ‘garagiste’ winemakers.

The Garagiste Festival donation will support the purchase of a new spectrophotometer, which will allow Cal Poly winemaking students to accurately and routinely measure a variety of wine chemistry components critical to the production of superior wines.

“We are thrilled to present this check to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program, and to do it right where it all starts for tomorrow’s winemakers - in the Cal Poly vineyard,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “Helping these young, future winemakers in a direct way with a new spectrophotometer is truly gratifying. And not just for the Garagiste Team, but also for the remarkable artisan winemakers, sponsors and volunteers who participated in the festival.”

“We appreciate the Garagiste Festival’s continued support of our program, and look forward to providing our students the opportunity to interact with some of these artisan winemakers in the classroom through the Garagiste Festival’s seminar series,” said Jim Cooper, director of the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program. “Our program emphasizes the inherent connectivity between wine grape growing in the vineyard, wine making in the winery, and wine selling in the marketplace and, as most of these artisan winemakers do all three almost single-handedly, their insights will be invaluable to our students.”

On hand for the presentation were Garagiste Team members Stewart McLennan, Douglas Minnick and Melanie Webber; Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program Director James Cooper and Agriculture Program Associate Dean Mark Shelton.

The Garagiste Festival, produced by Garagiste Events, is the first and only festival dedicated to discovering and promoting artisan ‘garagiste’ winemakers and showcases high-quality, cutting-edge, small production wineries that produce fewer than 1,200 cases a year. The festival was named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News.* The 2012 Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles, featured over 48 ‘garagiste’ winemakers pouring almost 150 wines and over 30 varietals for attendees from across the US and the globe. The upcoming Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure is an expansion of the festival featuring over 30 artisan winemakers from the Santa Ynez Valley and a signature Garagiste Festival barrel tasting seminar.

The Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program includes nearly 300 undergraduate majors, making Cal Poly among the largest Wine and Viticulture programs in the country. Plans for the program include further development of a teaching varietal vineyard block, research and development of stress-tolerant grape rootstock, and the design and construction a new campus winery for both winemaking research and the commercial production of the Cal Poly Wines.

For tickets and more information on The Garagiste Festival and The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, go to To be alerted to breaking news about Southern Exposure and additional Garagiste events, sign-up for The Dirt at, or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook.

*Garagistes (gar-uh-zhē-stuh) 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. Click here for more info and proper ‘garagiste’ pronunciation:

About The Garagiste Festivals
The Garagiste Festivals ( are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized 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. Named one of the “Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations” by ABC News,* the Garagiste Festivals are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals are donated to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.

**ABC News Online, May 31, 2012:

Media Contact:
mWEBB Communications for The Garagiste Festival
Melanie Webber, melanie(at)mwebbcom(dot)com, 424-603-4340

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