’s Madeline Puckette Headlines Fifth Anniversary Garagiste Festival Seminars

Dynamic VIP seminar line-up includes Puckette’s “Exploring the Aroma Wheel” plus “Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems,” with winemakers Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre, Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company and festival co-founder Stewart McLennan

Paso Robles, CA – The Garagiste Wine Festival today announced that Madeline Puckette, wine expert and co-founder of the award-winning, will headline the fifth anniversary festival’s signature tasting seminars in Paso Robles on November 7th.  Puckett’s seminar, Exploring the Aroma Wheel, will give attendees a unique opportunity to isolate specific wine aromas, and understand where they come from, with content from her new visual book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. Also joining the seminar line-up is Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems, featuring two of the hottest young Central Coast winemakers who are evangelists for whole cluster and stem inclusion, Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre and Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company, as well as Stewart McLennan co-owner and winemaker of Golden Triangle.


The seminars are part of a jam-packed slate of events November 5th – 7th, in the Paso Robles area, celebrating the festival’s fifth anniversary, including over 50  ‘garagiste**’ winemakers pouring over 200 wines; a five-course winemaker dinner; a ‘Rare and Reserve” Winemaker Mixer featuring wineries from all over California, and much more. is one of our favorite wine sites. It is incredibly informative, with great visuals, and it definitely shares our “no-snobs-allowed” policy,” said Garagiste Festival Co-founder Doug Minnick. “While Madeline is an experienced sommelier and holds multiple certifications, it is her down-to-earth approach to wine, wine knowledge and wine tasting that we know our attendees will enjoy and benefit from.”

Puckette co-founded, an entertaining and educational site that offers answers to wine questions.  Through her work with Wine Folly, Puckette has received accolades from IWSC in 2013 as Wine Blogger of the year and Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2015 as one of the top “40 Under 40” American Tastemakers. The site offers free articles, infographics, videos and sells products that help wine beginners learn.  The popularity of the site led to the creation of the book Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine, a visual guide published by Avery Books that is already an Amazon best seller.

The Exploring the Aroma Wheel wine tasting seminar will take place on November 7th at 11:00 am and will help attendees isolate, discern and remember wine aromas; how they translate to flavor, and how individual aromas interplay to create a complex, finished bouquet within the glass and on the palate.

The Techniques of the Garagiste: The Secrets of Stems seminar, which follows Puckette’s seminar at 11:45, will further enhance attendees’ wine tasting knowledge by exploring some of the winemaking techniques that make garagiste wines so extraordinary. Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company and Ryan Pease of Paix Sur Terre will join Stewart McLennan to shed light on a few of these techniques – such as stem inclusion (some winemakers’ trash, other winemakers’ treasure) – that can only be implemented with the flexibility of small-lot winemaking. The seminar will include tastings that showcase the difference these techniques – especially using the whole cluster, stems and all – can make in a wine.

Ryan Pease is co-owner with his wife Nicole of highly regarded and high-scoring Paso Robles-based Paix Sur Terre, which produces a portfolio of mineral driven Mourvedres along with small lots of Grenache and Syrah, among others. Mikael Sigouin is owner of Santa Ynez Valley’s Kaena Wine Company and former long-time winemaker at Beckmen Vineyards. Known by his peers and fans as The Grenache King, he was named one of the top 10 new Rhone producers by Wine Spectator in 2006. Stewart McLennan is co-founder of the Garagiste Festival and co-owner with Jeremy Morris of Golden Triangle. Golden Triangle’s first vintage will debut at November’s Garagiste Festival.

The non-profit Garagiste Festivals benefit The Garagiste Scholarship Fund of the California  Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture department.

The seminars are only available as part of The Garagiste Festival VIP package. To buy tickets and for full festival schedule and details, go to To get the latest event info, sign-up for The Dirt at Or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or on Facebook.

Among the over 50 winemakers already scheduled to pour are:  Aaron Wines, Alma Sol Winery, Alta Colina Vineyards, Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Asuncion Ridge, Barton Family, Bon Niche Cellars, Caldera Cuvee*, Caliza Winery, Chene Wines*, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Clos Solene, Culton Wine Co., Cutruzzola Vineyards, DENO Wines, Diablo Paso, Dilecta Wines, Domaine Degher, DuBost Winery, Falcone Family Vineyards, Felten Cellars, Four Lanterns*, Frisby Cellars*, Golden Triangle*, Guyomar Winery, Hoyt Family, Irie Wines, Jacob Toft, Kaleidos Wines, Last Light Wine Co., MCV Wines, Michael Rose Cellars*, The Missing Leg, Nicora Wines, Nobelle Wines, On Your Left*, Pagter Brothers Winery*, Paix Sur Terre, Powell Mountain Cellars, Pulchella Winery, Ranchero Cellars, Ranchita Canyon, Rendarrio Vineyards, Sea Shell Cellars, Seven Angels Cellars, Seven Oxen Vineyard*, Soaring Hawk Vineyards, STANGER Vineyard, Stolo Family Vineyard, The Farm Winery, Tlo Wines, Turtle Rock Vineyards, Two Moons, Vin Alegre, Vinemark Cellars and Vino Vargas.

*Pouring for the first time at the festival

Sponsors include: Baker Wine & Grape Analysis, Barrelhouse Brewing Co., Broken Earth Winery, The Carlton Hotel, Diam, Distinctive Glassware, ETS Laboratories, Enartis Vinquiry, Farm Credit West, G3 Enterprises, Glenn Burdette, Hampton Inn & Suites, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Laffort USA, mWEBB Communications, The Oaks Hotel, The Paso Robles Inn, The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Stolzle Glassware, Ted Hamm Insurance,, Wines & Vines, and Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine.

For sponsorship info, email

**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.  The Garagiste Festivals were the first to shine a light on the American garagiste winemaker in 2011. Since then, the festival has helped consumers discover the remarkable wines of hundreds of true garagistes, who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.

About The Garagiste Wine Festivals

The Garagiste Wine Festivals ( 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 garagistes 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; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; 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. Proceeds from the festivals support the Garagiste Festival Scholarship fund of the California  Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo Wine and Viticulture Department.