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Is wine worth a 2 hr drive? Yup if it’s the Garagiste Festival

on 18/02/13 at 5:02 pm

BoozeBlog, Wine

a1Well, two hours from LA is really nothing and you get to drive through some gorgeous landscape, aside from the coast, from Santa Barbara to Santa Ynez and on to Solvang.

The Garagiste Festival highlights “under-the-radar”, small production wineries that produce under 1200 cases…and that’s a lot for some of them. Fifty cases is not unheard of. But this winefest offers the thrill of discovery and there were many excellent examples of what’s going on in the Central Coast.

Some of the wineries are vanity projects, some were farmers just selling their grapes, some started as a hobby and have transitioned to full time jobs but if you’re thinking this is the life for you…not so fast. I’d say most winemakers have not given up their day jobs just yet as most are in the start-up stage. But the love of wine, and the making of it, is palpable.

Some wineries brought samples right out of the barrel and that’s always a treat. Ryan Roark, of Roark Wine Co., brought a fabulous Chenin Blanc to be bottled in March. It smelled like flowers. roark

Interestingly, because of the high demand for these wines, some of them are released too soon. They are just too young. “Economics” is the answer when I asked winemakers why they do this. But you would think that in the long run, the wines would ultimately suffer from not being all that they could be, not be the wines that customers tasted when they fell in love with a certain wine. It sounds like a ‘publish or perish’ situation but winemakers might be better off with clamoring demand and not release wines before their time.

g3The festival was, unsurprisingly, sold out. The next time this one rolls around, get your tickets early and make it a day. What could be better than beautiful California scenery + wonderful wines = the good life. Enjoy!