Behind the Garagiste: Thoughts from Winemakers

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We reached out to a few Garagiste wineries to get their take on what is a Garagiste and what excites them about sharing their wine with fans. Here’s what winemakers and vintners from Copia Vineyards and Winery, Draceana Wines, Hoi Polloi Winery, and Pelletiere Estate had to say.

We can’t wait to meet them and taste at the 7th Annual Garagiste Festival/Southern Exposure  Feb. 8-9 in Solvang.

Varinder Sahi and Anita Kothari – Owners, Winemakers
Copia Vineyards and Winery
Paso Robles, CA

Q. What does “Garagiste” mean to you?

A. When one says “Garagiste,” foremost in our minds is the amazing and talented community of people that we consider ourselves lucky to be associated with. We’re relatively new and are now participating in our second Garagiste Festival (Paso Robles 2018 and now Solvang 2019) and have thoroughly enjoyed communing with an amazing group comprised of passionate, small production winemakers. Being a “garagiste” means a fervent drive to be hands-on with every grape and ferment. It means long hours and creative engineering. It means you make it, you package it, you sell it! And mostly, it means feeling grateful that we’re doing exactly what we want to do, how we want to do it.

Q. If you can share one thing for your fans (and future fans) about your wines, what would it be?

A. We would simply like to share what we enjoy – our expression of Rhone blends at Copia Vineyards and Winery. We appreciate balanced, fruit forward, medium- to full-bodied wine that pays hommage to where it was grown. This is a very unique time for us, as we are working with some of the best grape growers and vineyard managers in Paso Robles, Edna Valley and soon Santa Barbara County. We are also working on planting grapes on our own estate in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. There’s a lot to be excited for and we can’t wait to share it all with others.

Mike and Lori Budd – Owners, Winemakers
Draceana Wines
Paso Robles, CA

Q. What does “Garagiste” mean to you?

A. Garagiste to me takes on the meaning of individualist, a risk taker, and perhaps a nonconformist. Anything done in an individual’s garage, except perhaps Jay Leno, is personal and small like a wood shop or a band studio. These are individuals that want to explore a personal passion without societal interference in the comfort of their own space.

Q. If you can share one thing for your fans (and future fans) about your wines, what would it be?

A. To our fans: we would not be where we are today without you. Our passion grows every time we meet a fan or we see of photo of our wine in a glass on social media, helping someone make their own memories. It is an emotional energy to speak about our wine, watching a potential customer taste Cabernet Franc for the first time, finishing with a surprised look and big smile.  To us, we have created one more Cab Franc fan and hopefully it is a Dracaena Wines Cabernet Franc.

Douglas Minnick – Co-owner, Winemaker
Hoi Polloi Winery
Newhall, CA

Q. What does “Garagiste” mean to you?

A. To me, “Garagiste” means truly artisan, hand-made wine that reflects the place it comes from and especially the person who made it. It’s very personal — each wine is almost like a record by musician or a band that you love.

Douglas Minnick, Dan Erland Andersen, Ted Behlendorf of Hoi Polloi wines

Q. If you can share one thing for your fans (and future fans) about your wines, what would it be?

A. Hoi Polloi makes primarily single-vineyard wines from great vineyards from up and down the Central Coast Paso Robles to Santa Barbara County and even the Russian River in Sonoma.

We actually make FIVE single-vineyard Syrahs from very different climates because we love the range of expressions that are available with Syrah. We do have a couple of blends, too, including a blend of Sonoma AND Paso Robles Syrahs with Paso Grenache!

Janis Pelletiere – Owner, Vintner
Pelletiere Estate
Paso Robles, CA

Q. What does “Garagiste” mean to you?

A. Garagiste IS the premier wine festival.  A place where small lot, hand crafted wines are featured by their winemaker/vintner. A chance to meet the people behind the passion, taste amazing wines and get a look at the upcoming Central Coast wine scene.

Q. If you can share one thing for your fans (and future fans) about your wines, what would it be?

A. Our wines are unmistakably Paso, authentically Italian, with unquestionable quality.

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