(The Garagiste Festival )
Forget the racy underwear, whisk your valentine off to the wine country for his or her present.
The Garagiste Festival takes place Saturday, Feb. 16. Say, didn’t that happen a while ago in Paso Robles? That’s right. But this one is the Southern Exposure version, held in Solvang and devoted to Santa Ynez Valley wineries producing fewer than 1,200 cases. It’s close enough that you could drive up for the afternoon and gives you the chance to taste more than 100 wines and 15 grape varieties.
The festival, held for the first time this year, is small enough that the winemakers themselves will be pouring their wines. Most wineries are too small to have tasting rooms, and the wines are in such limited production they’re hard to find in retail stores and restaurants.
The potential for discovery of some little gem is huge. Participating wineries include Altman Wine, Autonom Wines, Blair Fox Cellars, Casa Dumetz Wines, Center of Effort, Cholame Vineyard, Cordon, Deovlet Wines, Frequency, Grand Effect Wine Co., J. Wilkes, Kaena, Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines, La Fenetre, Larner Vineyard & Winery, Luminesce, Nagy, native9, Pence Ranch, Piedrasassi, Press Gang Cellars, Refugio Ranch, Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape, Shai, Storm Wines, Tercero, Transcendence — and a few more.
And compared to some of the fancier wine events, this one is more affordable, just $50 for a ticket to the Grand Tasting from 2 to 5 p.m. A VIP pass is $30 more and includes admission to an Oak Tasting seminar, lunch and early access to the Grand Tasting. Buy tickets here or call (888) 795-4972 to purchase by phone.
Email for more information. A video of the Paso Robles festival gives an idea of what the event might be like.
If you plan to stay the night or make it a weekend, better start trawling the Web for a room right away or you’ll end up staying in Lompoc or further afield.
5 Questions for Kuniko Yagi
Jeremy Fox is new chef at Rustic Canyon
Bludso's BBQ on La Brea expected to open next week