The Wandering Wino Blog

Paso Garagiste Nov 12, 2011


As the Summer closes and we make our way through harvest, here comes fall, and a new style of wine festival. The Paso Garagiste has a whole new spin on what we think of when it comes to wine festivals. 

On November 12, the grand tasting 2-5 PM, hosted at Windfall Farms in Paso Robles (Creston), will be an event celebrating, what I call the "mom and pop" winemakers, AKA the "garagistes." As their site explains, the garagiste is a term derived from France as a way to denigrate small lot winemakers, (often producing in the garage) who refuse to follow the "rules."  The "rules" they refrence, are the tight control from the French wine industry that dictates, aspects such as: what wines can be blended, from where, how much, wine names, or labels etc. So for instance my love for Cab/Syrah, a Bordeaux and Rhone varital, could only be obtained from a garagistes of sorts. 

I wonder how Michelangelo would have done, if he was told by some art dictator, that he could only produce art from charchoal pencils, and play-doh. I just love "rule breakers" and small producers. Many of the smaller producers focus on making kick butt wine, and do not have the giant corporate budgets to spend on marketing, and grandious tasting rooms with pretty gates. In fact, many don't have a tasting room at all.



This event is our opportunity to taste the wines, and meet the winemakers of wines we would not normally be exposed. All of these winemakers are producing under 1,200 cases annually. Many of these wines I'm not familar with, and I'm very excited to check out. The few that I'm familar with such as Tercero, Storm, Jalama, and Alta Colina, all fit into an appropriate place for the use of a very technical wine term or phrase, "Their wines don't suck." This is high praise in the wine langague of fluent sarcasm. Two of these winemakers wine, hit my 2011 highlight list on a recent post of "Wines that will blow up your skirt".

Alta Colina


I get excited about these wines I already know, and I'm very eagerly anticipating meeting new winemakers, and their wines to add to my list of great wines. The fact that this event is held in a horse stable, located in Paso Robles (Creston), and the winemakers are small producers, all pretention will be checked at the door. I will say, this is the most glorious looking stable, and as I recall there is a chandelier if MTV did a "Cribs" episode for horses, this would be on the short list I'm sure. 


Don't worry about going hungry, as I hear Cass catering will be available, tacos, as well as a food truck, and more.

Food Truck

This event will also offer tickets for the after party from 6-9 PM including the winemakers. Many of us have heard "it takes a lot of beer to make good wine." In this case, good beer is also available in the after party, provided by Firestone Brewery. 


Firestone beer

Meet the people that are really making the wine, talk with them, and prepare for high quality and reasonable prices. Tickets are going fast, and are limited. Make your plans to taste the best stuff the wine media doesn't get to taste. I highly recommend visiting with Maggie at Alta Colina, Mark and Clinton from Jalama, Erst from Storm, and Larry from Tercero. I hope to see you there!

Wine Pour


  • Xochitl
    Posted Wednesday 09 November 2011 17:30
    Nice article. I too am really looking forward to this event and shining the spotlight on all these outstanding wine artisans! See you there!

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