This year’s Rotary Taste of South Pasadena highlights micro-winery movement. Courtesy photo

South Pasadena’s Rotary is welcoming a wine movement to its 8th Annual Taste of South Pasadena – Eats on the Streets on Tuesday, April 16, from 6 to 9 p.m.

The movement, which is sweeping the nation, is called the Garagiste Festival and features about 12 micro-wineries that will be on display at the Rotary’s Taste of South Pasadena. Many of the small wineries are experimenting with new ways of making wine, sometimes outside the rule book of wine-making, according to officials.

In fact, Garagiste is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garage, who refused to follow the “rules.” Now it is a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wines in the world, according to officials with the Garagiste movement.

“Many of these wineries are small and are run by families,” said Tom Lake, a longtime So Pas Rotary member. “They don’t have tasting rooms and each one has an incredible story.”

Doug Minnick, one of the founders of the Garagiste movement, explained it this way.
“Most of these outstanding, cutting-edge winemakers do not have tasting rooms and can’t be found on wine country maps, but you can taste the incredible range of varieties and styles–and meet the winemakers themselves,” Minnick said in an email to The Review. “Founded in 2011, these casual, fun, limited-ticket events–now held annually in Paso Robles, Santa Ynez, Sonoma, and Los Angeles–typically sell out. See for yourself why we were named the #1 Best Wine Festival in America by USA Today, Best Festival by Sunset Magazine, and Top Ten Incredible Epicurean Destination in the world by ABC News.”

Minnick also said the Garagiste Festival was excited about being involved in South Pasadena.

“The Garagiste Festival is excited to again be bringing 12 under-the-radar micro-wineries to Taste of South Pasadena,” he said. “Winemakers of this size are true artisans, making their wines literally by hand. These exciting, cutting edge wines will never be found in supermarkets, and believe me, you can taste the difference. The full-size Garagiste Festival returns to LA (Glendale, actually) on June 22nd of this year.” More info is available at the website: http://garagistefestival.com.

There will be a VIP Wine Tasting by The Garagiste Festival at the Canoe House for adults starting at 5 p.m. People will be able to talk to the vintner and take home a commemorative wine glass donated by Priority One Credit Union. The additional cost for the wine tasting ticket is $25.

Moreover, the annual Taste of South Pasadena will also feature cuisine from eateries and bakeries up and down Mission Street and Fair Oaks Avenue and this year the event will have a record-breaking 32 restaurants participating.

Food tickets are $35 for adults purchased in advance ($40 at the door), $15 for children 7 to 18, and free for children under 7.

“Last year, we welcomed 1,100 visitors to the Taste of South Pasadena, the largest event yet,” Rotary President Charles Wiggington said. “This year promises to be even bigger, with the record-breaking number of both restaurants and wineries. We are so excited to host an evening where people can reconnect with one another, enjoy the outdoors, spend time with their families and meet new people. Proceeds from this fundraiser support local and global efforts including eradicating polio, providing clean water, purchasing books, supporting health programs, and much more! We look forward to seeing all our friends at the Taste of South Pasadena this year.”

Tickets can be purchased by going to www.tasteofsouthpasadena.com. Purchased tickets can be exchanged for wristbands on the day of the event at the Canoe House at Fair Oaks/Hope Street or at Larry’s Union Service at Mission/Fairview.

Some of the Wines and Stories to be Included

Some of the wines and their stories at this year’s Rotary Taste of South Pasadena include:

13th AND THIRD WINES

Our story begins on the corner of 13th Street and Third Avenue in New York City where my wife Julie and I first met. 13th & Third is a boutique winery out of Paso Robles, California. We craft small batches of Rhône varietal wines. Our goal is to make well balanced, food friendly wines. We are a new producer–2015 was our first vintage. Our 2015 NMR (inaugural red release) received a 95 Point score from Jeb Dunnuck at Jebdunnuck.com. You can also check us out at www.13thandThirdWines.com.

Ardnt Cellars  | https://www.arndtcellars.com/

Arndt Cellars is a boutique winery located in Paso Robles, California. We craft fine wines using grapes from Central California’s best vineyards.

Artisan Uprising | http://www.artisanuprising.com/

Specializing in ultra-premium wines grown in Paso Robles, our grapes are sourced from the best growers and are hand-crafted by us in a style inspired by our grandfather. Our preference is for unfiltered wines that we believe enhance the texture and longevity of our product.  

Ascension Cellars | http://www.ascensioncellars.com/

Ascension Cellars is a boutique winery, specializing in barrel-select, hand-crafted, Rhône and Bordeaux style blends sourced from the Eastside of Paso Robles. We believe in a light-handed approach to winemaking, allowing the true typicity of each varietal and the terroir of the beautiful Paso fruit to shine through as the star.  

Dewitt Vineyard | https://dewittvineyard.com/

Award-winning, estate-grown wines from Amador County, CA.

Dusty Nabor Wines | http://www.dustynaborwines.com/

Dusty Nabor Wines is a project born out of passion for producing site specific, terroir driven California wines. Our singular focus is crafting wines of distinction. Sourcing fruit from premier vineyards in Paso Robles, Santa Ynez and the Santa Rita Hills, we strive to create wines that express their place and vintage. Our focus is on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir and Viognier.

Ferguson Family | http://fergusonfamilywinery.com/

We are a small, family owned winery located in Visalia, California.  Our vision is to serve the community where we live, love and are raising our family. Currently we source our grapes from Paso Robles and Clarksburg to create two distinct varietals.  However, our vision is to source grapes from all of the premium wine growing areas of California offer our guests a high-quality wine experience at a local location.

Montagne Russe | http://www.russewines.com/

We specialize in small-production wines from cool climate regions such as the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. For our wines, we hand-pick only tiny vineyards that truly specialize in their craft and produce exceptional grapes. In partnership with our consulting winemaker, Ed Kurtzman, known as the “Prince of Pinot,” we are off to an inspiring start to this venture with the epic 2015 vintage.

Pelletiere Estate | http://www.pelletiere.com/

Family owned and operated, Pelletiere Estate is committed to producing handcrafted artisan Italian style wines, with distinct flare and superior quality from Paso Robles, CA.

Powicana Farm | http://www.powicanafarm.com/

We are a small family farm growing biodynamic grapes and crafting natural wines using wild yeasts from our own vineyard in Mendocino county. We strive to produce beautiful grapes and wines by growing pure soil, pure grapes, and making beautiful pure wines. 

RF Fine Wines | http://www.rffinewines.com/

While the RF Wine label was established in 2015, the Rand Family has deep roots producing wine on California’s Central Coast for over 20 years. Our mission at RF Fine Wines is to craft premium limited production wine using the finest hand-selected grapes and barrels available. ​As an exercise in sustainability, RF Fine Wines are only sold online, or through our exclusive 100-member capped Wine Share program. ​Family, friends and lovers of truly exceptional wines, we invite you to enjoy.

Tercero Cellars | http://www.tercerowines.com/

Tercero Wines is a boutique producer of high quality, reasonably priced red and white wines using grapes from leading Santa Barbara County vineyards. We work with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, creating our own signature blends and varietal wines.

Torch Wines | http://www.torchwines.com/

In 2013 “Torch Cellars” was born. The logo of the sun was a gift from my grandmother and there was no doubt in my mind that this gift would become the corner stone of the label. “Torch Cellars” has been a 23-year concept and journey that has come to fruition today. Producing 220 cases annually, Torch Cellars is located on the West Side of Paso Robles specializing in Bordeaux-style red wine blends, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Muscat Blanc (dry).

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Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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