.The Garagiste Festival Brings New Wine Discoveries to Sonoma

Sponsored content by The Garagiste Festival

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The Annual Garagiste Wine Festival: Northern Exposure brings new wine discoveries from 42 micro-production wineries to Sonoma on April 27 (and every year in the Spring) at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall, located just a block north of Sonoma’s historic downtown plaza. 

The Garagiste Festival, which Sonoma Magazine said is “Beloved by wine geeks from near and far…offering tiny gems that are difficult to come by” is the only wine festival that exclusively features high-quality wines from small-lot, commercial garagiste winemakers. 

Unlike other festivals, the wines are poured by the winemakers and owners themselves, so attendees can interact with the creative forces behind the wines and be among the first to discover some of the best of the area’s hand-crafted wines from wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 cases per year. 

garagiste festival sonoma, wine tasting in sonoma california, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah
The Grand Tasting includes favorites such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

The Festival, which premiered in Paso Robles in 2011, held its first festival in Sonoma in 2018 to focus on the wines of Sonoma and surrounding Northern California wine regions and returns each April. Next month’s event is the organizations sixth-annual foray to the region and offers first-look access to some of the area’s best hard-to-find wines.

Tickets are now on sale: https://www.caltix.com/e/northern-exposure-garagiste-wine-festival/tickets.

“We love these micro-wineries because each winery has its own fascinating story,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick, “and they are doing an incredibly wide range of varieties and styles—you’ll never find an array of wines this diverse anywhere else. And because the great majority of these wineries do not have a tasting room, this truly is a unique opportunity for the public to discover and taste all of these remarkable wines in one day.”

Some of the 2024 festival highlights will include:

Taste with small-production winemakers—Micro-wineries like those found at Garagiste are not focused on selling in supermarkets. Their small size and direct-to-consumer business model allows them to pursue their passions outside of the demands of the marketplace at large. Over 70 percent of the wineries participating in the sixth-annual event are making fewer than 500 cases per vintage. Each year the festival showcases new, up-and-coming wineries at the event, some even pouring their first vintage, so there’s always something new to taste! These rare, artisan wines are truly hand-made with love and passion. 

The Grand Tasting: Features the widest range of varieties you will EVER find under one roof. Over the last 12 years, the festival has highlighted a vast array of unheralded grapes, which makes for one of the most unique and exciting wine experience anywhere. Well-known faves such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah are always on the tasting list, but also some pretty rare varietals, such Fiano, Picpoul Blanc, Symphony, Tannat and Xiomavra are all being poured in Sonoma. Whether you are a wine expert or a novice, you will come away from the Garagiste Festival knowing more than when you arrived. 

No appointments needed:  For the cost of about two winery “experiences,” the Garagiste Festival delivers over 100 wines all in one place, on one day. No driving around—and no appointments—needed. Plus there is free parking, air-conditioning and easy access from downtown Sonoma in case you’d like to walk.

Rare and Reserve Wines: The Early Access ticket grants exclusive access to library, club only, or reserve wines, only being poured during the first hour of the Festival (from 1-2pm). Tickets for this session are limited to only 150 guests to encourage an even more personal experience with the winemakers. 

Food at the Festival: Complimentary cheese and charcuterie will be provided by local favorite Sonoma Cheese Factory, along with samples from artisan vendors Fleur Sauvage Chocolates and BoccaBella Olive Oils. Complimentary bottled water and a souvenir crystal wine glass are included as well.

Silent Auction:  Great deals can be found in the “wine only” silent auction, which not only allows guests to take wine home at the end of the day, but also benefits the Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for deserving Enology and Viticulture students, who are on their way to becoming future winemakers and industry leaders. No need to go home empty-handed, which you can bid on your favorites and support a good cause.

garagiste festival sonoma, wine-only silent auction
The “wine only” silent auction benefits the Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

About the Garagiste Festivals

The Garagiste Festival, which premiered in Paso Robles in 2011, held its first festival in Sonoma in 2018 to focus on the wines of Sonoma and surrounding Northern California viticultural areas. Some of the accolades include:

• The Best Wine Festival in the United States by USA Today,

• One of the “Top Ten Incredible Epicurean Vacations” in the world by ABC News,

“One of the premier wine events of the year,” by the LA Times

“Best Festival” by Sunset Magazine,

• And many, many more. 

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. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund of the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.

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