Like wine? Go here. Seriously–of all the wine events I attend each year, I always have the most fun at Garagiste because there’s a little bit of everything. No matter what type of wine you like–got a favorite variety? Favorite style? “Big” wines? Low alcohol wines? It’s all here.
In addition to the fantastic variety you’ll find at this festival, I have my own reasons for loving this event. Since my blog is all about story, this gives me a great opportunity to taste my way through small producers I would likely never encounter otherwise–and if I find something I like (and I always do), I’m able to get a quick version of the story behind the wine because it’s usually the winemakers themselves doing the pouring. Now how about that.
That means that if you like to ask lots of questions about wine or get to know the people who make it, this is your kind of tasting event.
The festival features 50 small producers (anywhere from 1500 cases/year to those with who only produce 100 or so cases a year), and styles run the gamut. Like lovely, old world style low-alcohol wines? You’ll love Two Shepherds. Are you a wine lover on the other end of that style scale–the bigger, the better? Then check out the beautiful brawny beasts of Pulchella. These are two of my favorite regulars at Garagiste events, and they produce some of the same Rhone varieties–but they could not be more different.
In addition to those two, other personal favorites I recommend at the festival are Caliza (especially their Azimuth), Alta Colina (I love their Sun Worshipper Mourvedre), and Bodega de Edgar. Most of the producers are from the Paso Robles area, but you’ll find wines from as far north as Sonoma County, to right down to our own Malibu hills in Los Angeles.
This year, the LA event is being held in Santa Monica, in the historic Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club. Tickets for the Grand Tasting are sold out, but the VIP tickets–which get you into the event an hour early–are still available, and a bargain at $99–VIP access includes exclusive tastes of “Rare & Reserve” wines* ONLY being poured from 2-3pm for VIP Attendees. Get your tickets here. The tasting runs from 3 pm to 6 pm this Saturday (and 2 pm to 6 pm for VIP attendees). In addition to unlimited pours of a huge variety of wines, your ticket also includes bread, cheese & charcuterie, artisan food samples, as well as a souvenir Stolzle crystal wine glass.
But you know what’s really great? This:
Since inception, the non-profit Garagiste Events (producer of the Garagiste Festivals) has benefitted San Luis Obispo-based Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program, as part of its mission of furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry.
You can also feel good about where the proceeds from your ticket purchase goes. In addition, they’re also having a silent auction during the event featuring some of the best-of-the-best bottles from participating wineries. The proceeds from this also go to the Cal Poly program.
Check-in for VIP attendees begins at 1:50 pm, with VIP tasting beginning at 2 pm. The location is at 1210 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA. The event entrance is on Fourth just south of Wilshire Blvd.