Saturday, July 21st was a great day that ended on a very sad note.
Karen and I had a wonderful time at the latest incarnation of The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure in Santa Monica and followed that with an early dinner at one of our new favorite restaurants, Lunetta, also in Santa Monica.
By the time we got home though, social media was blowing up with the sad news of the passing of Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold.
Now, this article is not intended to be a tribute to Mr. Gold. Far better writers than I am, many who knew him personally, have penned heartfelt remembrances that you should seek out; his influence on the Los Angeles restaurant scene is incalculable and he will be sorely missed.
But it got me thinking that some of the traits that Jonathan praised in the restaurants he wrote about are also ones Karen and I look for in wineries: authenticity, creativity, risk-taking, passion. And nobody exemplifies these attributes better than the Garagistes.
The Garagiste Festival started in 2011 with its first event in Paso Robles, focusing entirely on the little guys – “the ultra- premium, hard to find, micro-wineries”. Since then, it has expanded to annual events in Solvang, Los Angeles and most recently, just prior to the latest L.A. event, an inaugural event in Sonoma County.
These wineries make less than 1500 cases per year, many much less. This means that in most cases, you won’t find them pouring in a tasting room. But where you can find them is at the Garagiste Festivals, where you will find the winemakers and winery owners pouring their own wines and telling their own stories. You’ll be able to sign up for their mailing lists and even order their wines at the events. Keep in mind that the productions are small and usually not available retail.
Each winery and winemaker has its own journey; some started as consumers, some as grape-growers, some are second generation in the wine business now doing their own thing. What they all share is that passion to make wine the best way they know how.
You should definitely sign up on The Garagiste Festival website for updates as well as follow our reporting.
Which brings us back to the most recent event held in L.A., specifically at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, with almost 50 California wineries pouring:
Bellante Family Winery
Cloak & Dagger
El Lugar Wines
In Vino Musicas
LA Wine Project
Lavender Oak Ranch
Magna Vita Cellars
On Your Left
Record Family Wines
Stolo Family Winery
The Blending Lab
Wildwood Oak Winery
Next week’s article will report on the wines we enjoyed most this time around.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.