Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure Announces 2015 Winemaker Line-up, Plus New Events

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‘Wildly exuberant and fun wine event’ returns to Solvang March 27th – 29th; features hard-to-find, cutting-edge micro-production wineries from Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley; adds new Winemaking Symposium, Winemaker Mixer and Big Red ‘Shoot Out”

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More and more winemakers are telling us that The Garagiste Festivals are the only wine events they participate in because they are so full of passionate, knowledgeable (but decidedly un-snobby) fans of these very special handcrafted wines

Garagiste Events today announced that tickets are now on sale for the third annual Santa Ynez Valley-based “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure,” which will feature over 60 of the area’s hard-to-find, micro-production commercial “garagiste**” winemakers. All festivities will take place at the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans’ Memorial Hall in the heart of Solvang, California from March 27th – 29th. Proceeds benefit the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

Dubbed a ‘wildly exuberant and fun wine event’ by the LA Times, Southern Exposure features a ‘Grand Tasting’ on both Saturday and Sunday, each showcasing a completely different slate of winemakers. And, like all Garagiste Festivals, Southern Exposure offers attendees a low-crowd experience, high-quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries, personal winemaker interaction, diverse varietals and, of course, a renegade and fun-loving spirit.

This year, the festival kicks off with two new events on Friday (March 27th):

  • "Happy Yeast Make Better Wine" an educational (but fun) winemaker symposium sponsored by Laffort, and featuring Cal Poly professor and winemaker Matt Brain of Baker and Brain (5:00 – 6:30pm).
  • "No Repeats: Rare & Reserve" Winemaker Mixer where winemakers bring out the best of their best for attendees, including Club Only, Library and Pre-Release bottles, and compete in the “Big Red Shootout,” a friendly competition in which they blind-taste each other’s wines and vote for the best red in the room. (7:00 – 9:30pm).

Each Grand Tasting is preceded by one of the festival’s signature tasting seminars,*** moderated by Garagiste Festival Co-founder and radio host Stewart McLennan:

  • Saturday (March 28th) - "The Diversity of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA: It's Not All Pinot & Chardonnay" featuring Dan Kessler of Kessler-Haak, Chad Melville from SamSARA Wine Co. and Peter Work from Ampelos Cellars
  • Sunday (March 29th) - "The Elephant in the Bottle: The Great California Alcohol Debate" with panelists Norm Yost from Flying Goat Cellars, Keith Saarloos from Saarloos & Sons and Stillman Brown from Zeppelin Winery.

“We could not be happier to be back in Solvang for the third year in a row with yet another extraordinary slate of 60 talented and innovative micro-production winemakers from Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara, over 20 of whom are pouring at the festival for the first time,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “More and more winemakers are telling us that The Garagiste Festivals are the only wine events they participate in because they are so full of passionate, knowledgeable (but decidedly un-snobby) fans of these very special handcrafted wines.”

Added McLennan: "Most of these wineries do not have tasting rooms and can't be found on tour maps. The Garagiste Festivals bring them together under one roof, so our fans can not only try these fantastic, limited-supply wines, but also meet the cutting-edge winemakers behind them. And because it's a Garagiste event, attendees know it will be fun and casual.”

Launched in Paso Robles in 2011, the non-profit Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemakers, commercial artisan winemakers who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make. The only festivals in the US dedicated to these innovative, hard-to-find, micro-production winemakers, the Garagiste Festivals have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, raising the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers.

Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure - Grand Tastings

Winemakers on Saturday Include: Apical Cellars*, Archium Cellars, Baehner Fournier, Bellissimo Cellars*, Bradley Family Winery, Brophy Clark, Carivintas Winery*, Carucci Wines, Clos Des Amis, Cordon Wines, Cotiere, Crawford Family Wines, Dascomb Cellars, Ferguson Crest*, Kessler-Haak Vineyards, La Montagne Winery*, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, No Limit Wines*, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., SamSara Wine Co., Scott Cellars, Seagrape Cellars, Section Wines*, Solminer Wines, Turiya Wines and Weatherborne.

Winemakers on Sunday Include: Alta Colina Vineyards, Ascension Cellars, Barbieri Wines*, Big Tar Wines*, Central Coast Group Project*, Center of Effort Wines, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Conarium Wines*, Dilecta Wines, Dreamcote Wine Co.*, Falcone Family Vineyards, Graef Wines, Imagine Wines*, J. Brix Wines*, J. Ludlow Vineyard*, Mattina Fiore*, MCV Wines, Mount Dorado Winery*, Old Creek Ranch Winery*, Pace Family Wines*, Ryan Cochrane Wines, STANGER Vineyards, Tercero Wines, Tierra y Vino*, Vines on the Marycrest, Vino Vargas, Wandering Dog Wines*, Workman Ayer* and Zeppelin Winery.

Tickets are very limited and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. For the full Southern Exposure schedule, seminar details, participating hotels and to buy tickets go to http://garagistefestival.com.

To be alerted to breaking news about Southern Exposure and additional Garagiste events, sign-up for our free newsletter, The Dirt at http://garagistefestival.com/sign-up/, or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook.

Garagiste Festival Sponsors include:

Major Sponsors
Visit Santa Ynez Valley.com, Wandering Dog Wine Bar, Travel Paso Alliance, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, mWEBB Communications, Glenn Burdette, G3 Enterprises, WiVi Central Coast Wine Industry Conference and Laffort USA.

Contributing Sponsors
Farm Credit West, Hinman & Carmichal, Pack and Ship Direct, Visit Atascadero, Digital Dogma, Distinctive Glassware, Stolzle Glasware, Scott Laboratories, Sempli Design, Vinzy, Enartis Vinquiry, Umpqua Bank, Soiree Home, Baker Wine and Grape Analysis, One West Insurance Services, The Good Life, Chumash Casino Resort, Spin the Bottle Wine Studio, Wood and Vine Restaurant, All American Containers, Golden State Overnight, GoVino and Zin Chair.

Media Sponsors
KSBY, KCBX, The KRUSH, 92.5, The Los Angeles Register, Wines & Vines, Vineyard & Winery Management, The Tasting Panel.

Hotel Sponsors
The Hamlet Inn, King Frederik Inn, Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, The Oaks Hotel Paso Robles, La Quinta Inn and Suites Paso Robles, The Carlton Hotel.

For sponsorship info, email info(at)garagistefestival(dot)com.

*New to the Garagist Festival
**Garagistes (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.
***VIP Ticket holders only

About The Garagiste Festivals
The Garagiste Festivals (http://www.garagistefestival.com) are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered innovative artisan ‘garagiste’ micro-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; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. Named one of the “Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations” by ABC News, described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the premier wine events of the year,” and dubbed “Best Festival” in Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West’ in November 2014, Garagiste 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 are donated to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.

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

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Crystal Hartwell
mWEBB Communications
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Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
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