The Wandering Wino Blog


After a full year of many fun wine festivals and events, I found myself very excited about the inagural Paso Garagiste, on Nov 12th.I didn't know completely what to expect. As so few of these producers have tasting rooms, I knew there would be very few that I had any familariy. You will not find these wines at your grocery store, that's for sure!

We were told the event would take place at Windfall Farms in a horse stable. Now you may have a visual of Christmas lawn decorations, baby Jesus, and farm animals, or whatever your frame of refrence, toss it out the window.


I'm not convinced the stables we were in, have ever housed horses, but more likely weddings and similar events.This was a beautifully built structure, with a pretty view of the wine countryside. (Photo Above)



A portion of the events proceeds went to student programs at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo. Two viticulture students pictured above, Kasey and Chaela later shared what a great time they had at the event.

Upon my arrival to Paso Robles on Friday, and prior to the event, I just couldn't wait to visit one of the few garagistes with their own tasting room in Paso Robles. Vines On The Marycrest was in my sites. Pulling into this winery, you may notice their home just steps away from the tasting room. Greeting me at the tasting room door, was the husband and wife team, Victor and Jenni. Truley gracious, kind, and welcoming people. They just made us feel like family. Victor and Jenni, just might be the definition for customer service; so much so, I never felt like a customer. She was working the tasting bar, while Victor, who previously had been ready to start set up for the Garagistes, until hearing about an unexpected bin of grapes. 

Vines On The Marycrest

As they are the business, and duty calls, Victor put his hands to work. In true garagiste form, he painstakingly put "love " in the bin. He was hand desteaming his fruit, as it poured rain outside. This is just a great example of passion, and challenges of being a garagieste.



(Above Photo: Jenni of Vines On The Marycrest) Victor makes a nice Petite Sirah that I came home with a bottle. I also stumpled upon another garagiste of sorts, that was not part of the event.  Barrel 27 tasting room, on Hwy 46 East. Mac the winemaker, produces some delicious wines that are a bit larger than the 1,200 case criteria, however, Mac has his own wine fitting; McPrice Myers. Ballard Cayon's Larner Vineyard Syrah, and Beautiful Earth GSM were big standouts.These Rhone wines are appointment only, and poured at Barrel 27. I suggest calling (805) 237-1245 for quality kick butt wine. These wines are big, and very balanced.

Mcprice Myers

If low alcohal is your speed, then AmByth, a small biodynamic producer, with a Paso Robles tasting room, is highly recommended. I was very excited to see so much Rhone in one place, and two different Mourvedres. Hi-yo, Rhone Rangers!


I was already happily familiar with Alta Colina pouring at the garagistes, and their fantastic GSM blend. I managed to stop by, glass in hand, to Maggies' table for a "revisit." Others that were great tasting opportunities, included, Carlson from Santa Barbara, who was pouring three different clone Pinot Noirs. This had been the only Santa Barbara representation that I was unfamilar with, and the Carlson Pinots did not disappoint. He is also the winemaker of Curtis, working with Storm in Santa Ynez. Cloak & Dagger had a nice Napa Cab, and Paso's J.Dusi's GSM.

(Photo below): Ray Scholfild talking about his wines of Cloak & Dagger. Their website is a lot of fun and worth a peak.

Cloak & Dagger

Cloak & Dagger

A veteran wine maker, but new comer to the garagiste style, and nice surprise, was Thomas Alexander Winery. He shared an offering of three different GSM blends. Two were very nice, and one was just rock'n! All three worth buying, then see if you can pick which one. I have a feeling these will hit radars of some soon.

Thomas Alexander

Jalama Mark

(Photo Above): The always fun, and entertaining, Mark Cargasacchi pouring his Jalama label. This is one of the many, both Garagistes, and Lompoc Wine Ghetto suggested stops.

(Photo Below): Larry Schaefer, of Tercero wines, points the way to his Los Olivos (Santa Barbara) tasting room. His Outlier was one of the most refreshing wines tasted. It would make a great thanksgiving wine too! His Petite Sirah was listed on our "Wines That WIll Blow Up Your Skirt" post. 

Larry Schaeffer

With good wine, must come good food. Templeton's Happy Acres Family Farms offered mountains of fantastic cheeses' to feed the hungry crowd. 

Cheese (LimeRock Orchards)

15c bread

Cass was on scene as well offering tacos, two for $5. A fun, and delisous surprise was Lime Rock Orchards walnut oil ,and walnut butter.


Walnut Oil

Food & Glass

As the wine festival ended, the after party was just getting started! Live country and Western music (I still don't know the difference) played as both coffee and Firestone beer were offered. The party was set for 6-9, and hunger stuck again.Porters food truck was on the scene. Offering a nice pumpkin curry over rice, cheese burgers, and I had a savory bbq pulled pork sandwich.


Food Truck

(Photo Below On Left): Doug Minnick, one of the co-founders of the event, said there would be a wine club to follow for these hard to find wines. He also shared how "this is just the start of more to come."

Doug Minnick William Allen

William Allen, pictured on the above right is also a garagiste under his label Two Shepards. William shared how he is producing Rhones, like Grenache Blanc, Roussanne ,Viognier,Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, all under 14%, and under 300 cases. His Two Shepards concept is to guide consumers to interesting wines of nuance, sublety, and approachability. My personal hope is that we will see his wines at next years event. Will you be there?

It was a fantastic wine weekend, filled with great people, stellar wines of all styles, and tasty foods. It would be difficult for anyone not to have had a good time.