Mark Aselstine
 
July 5, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

What’s a Garagiste?


We recently wrote a bit about Randall Watkins, the winemaker at Bugay Vineyards who describes part of his Sonoma upbringing by mentioning that his dad was a garagiste.

We thought that a few of our readers here at Uncorked Ventures might not recognize the term since some of the tasting room staff we run into aren’t familiar with it either.

A Garagiste in its simplest form is simply someone who makes wine in his or her garage.  After all, not everyone has access to Crushpad (or something similar) and there are plenty of people whom would simply love the experience of making a barrel or two.

Of course, in different regions of the world the Garagiste term has different meanings, for example in Bordeaux the most famous use of the term includes a small group of vintners still making wine in a garage, but making it using local grapes and producing a more international wine in terms of style.  The results made the world took notice when famed wine critic Robert Parker rated one of their wines more highly than a Petrus (typically the world’s most expensive wine in any given year) back in 1995.  In Bordeaux the movement seems to be dying out a bit, but the whole idea is alive and well in Sonoma where tasting rooms are beginning to be set up to help these new age vintners sell their wine directly to interested consumers.  After all, being able to meet the winemaker is still possible with Garagiste styled wines, which is something that most wine drinkers want to experience during a trip to wine country.
 

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