Garagiste Wine Festival Comes to the Heart of Sonoma Wine Country in May: Showcases Over 40 Micro-production Winemakers

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Internationally renowned festival introduces a whole new line-up of hard-to-find, high-quality, handcrafted ‘garagiste’ wines from California, including Sonoma, Livermore, Lodi, Mendocino and Napa

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Over half of these wineries are brand new to the festival, as are many of the Northern California regions represented. In the wake of the Northern California fires, we are glad to spread the word that this part of California not only remains open for business, but is thriving.

Garagiste Events today announced that its internationally renowned Garagiste Wine Festival comes to the heart of Sonoma, California on May 12th for the very first time. The festival will showcase the rich variety of small-production wines currently being crafted by some of the most innovative winemakers in Sonoma, Mendocino, Livermore, Lodi, and Napa, as well as other California regions. The non-profit event will be held at the Sonoma Veterans Building near Sonoma's historic downtown plaza. Tickets are on sale today at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/1st-annual-garagiste-festival-northern-exposure-tickets-43108506704

Like many small production wineries, over ninety percent of participating wineries are without a tasting room where they can meet the public, making the premier Sonoma Garagiste Festival a one-of-a-kind opportunity for consumers to discover, and meet, 40 winemakers while tasting 150+ wines made from over 15 varieties. This is why The Garagiste Festival, which always sells out, has been dubbed ‘wine tasting Nirvana;” ‘a wildly exuberant and fun wine event,’ and “not-to-be missed’ by the LA Times.

“Sonoma-area winemakers and wine lovers have been asking us for quite some time to bring the Garagiste Festival further north,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Douglas Minnick. “On May 12th, at last, we are able to offer this fertile and creative winemaking community the opportunity to share their delicious wines in the intimate and unique Garagiste Festival setting. Bringing these winemakers onto the radar of passionate wine fans on the lookout for new wine discoveries is one of the great pleasures of the festival.”

“And, if you think you know the garagiste line-up, think again…” added Festival Co-founder Stewart McLennan. “Over half of these wineries are brand new to the festival, as are many of the Northern California regions represented. In the wake of the Northern California fires, we are glad to spread the word that this part of California not only remains open for business, but is thriving.”

Known for high quality wines, first-time and ‘soon-to-break-out’ discoveries, diverse grape varieties, a ‘no snobs allowed’ policy and a renegade and fun-loving spirit, the non-profit Garagiste Festivals are the only festivals in the US dedicated to micro-production winemakers. Garagiste Festivals have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers (who produce under 1500 cases of wine) 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.

Cris Carter owner and winemaker of Weatherborne Wine Corp, and who owns a vineyard in the Anderson Valley, has showcased his wines at multiple Garagiste Festivals. “The Garagiste Fest is the perfect place for small-production, family-run wine brands to meet their audience. Winery owners meet face-to-face with interested and engaged consumers who often wind up being their most loyal customers and brand advocates,” says Carter. “Attendees get to pick the brains of the people actually making the wine and running the business, learning the wine’s story in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. For the wine trade, it’s a great place to unearth the next wave of exciting California producers; a true opportunity to find hidden gems for your wine list or portfolio.”

The Sonoma Garagiste Festival will kick off at 11:30 am on Saturday, May 12th, with a signature tasting seminar: "The Garagiste Variety Show: Exploring the Diversity of Small-Production Winemaking." The seminar will focus on the range of wines being produced by Garagiste winemakers, and investigate why garagiste winemakers have stepped away from Cabernet and Chardonnay to work with grapes considered under-the-radar in Northern California. Moderated by McLennan, panelists include: Paul Gordon of Halcon Vineyards and Randy Hester of Lightning Wines. In the afternoon is the main event: the Grand Tasting, which runs from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. Like all Garagiste Festivals (and unlike many larger wine festivals), the Sonoma festival will limit ticket sales to give attendees a comfortable and relaxed tasting experience with personal winemaker interaction.

For the full schedule, more information, go to: http://garagistefestival.com or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook. For breaking festival news and special discounts sign-up for our free newsletter, The Dirt at http://garagistefestival.com/sign-up/.

Winemakers already scheduled to pour include:
Betwixt Wines, Calstar Cellars, Camlow Cellars, Chenoweth Wines, Crux Winery, Enoteca Five, Fallon Place Wine, Fields Family Wines, Gordenker Wines, Gregory James Wines, Halcon Vineyards, Kendrick Vineyards, La Pitchoune Winery, Lightning Wines, Magna Vita Cellars, Mastro Scheidt, Merisi Wines, Montagne Russe, Montemaggiore, Murder Ridge, Nowell-Smith Wines, Parmeson Wines, Piezo Winery, T. Berkley Wines, Trojak-Knier Winery, Von Holt Cellars and Weatherborne Wine Co.

Sponsors include: ETS, Laffort, Glenn Burdette, Digital Dogma, mWEBB Communications, Farm Credit, and G3

For sponsorship info, email info@garagistefestival.com.

About The Garagiste Wine Festivals
The Garagiste Wine Festivals (http://www.garagistefestival.com) are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized American artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world. Founded by fellow garagiste winemakers 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; the Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure, in Los Angeles; the Garagiste Festival, Northern Exposure, in the Bay Area; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more.

The festivals were named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News,* “one of the premier wine events of the year,” by the LA Times and “Best Festival” by Sunset Magazine’s ‘Best of the West.’ The 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. Garagiste Festivals Inc. is a 5013c non-profit organization and proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

**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.

Media Contact:
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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