Beverly Hills Wine Club

The Four-Day Road Trip to Take Through France’s Alsace This Autumn

Finding beauty, wine, and absolutely no beasts along the Rhine.

 

Filled with towns that feel pulled straight from Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast, Alsace and its old-world allure draws travelers back again and again.

But the history of the the wine-rich region on the west bank of the Rhine River is far from a fairytale: the territory was fought over in bloody battles by the French and Germans for more than 300 years. It’s only been part of France since 1945, and the borderland’s dual heritage explains the whimsical blend of architecture (kaleidoscopic houses in timber framing), cuisine (pork-heavy, with thick sauces and lots of sauerkraut), and culture.

Situated between the Vosges Mountains to the west and the Black Forest to the east, it was the Ancient Romans who first established the area as a viticultural hub. Today, white wine is king, as Alsace specializes in dry Riesling and Gewürztraminer (distinct from the sickly sweetness usually associated with these styles) along its famed Route des Vins d’Alsace. But Alsatian attractions extend far beyond just the wine—a lesson my wife and I learned firsthand while traversing the territory by car last fall.

The trip: Four days, 170 miles

High-speed TGV trains from Paris to Strasbourg run multiple times per day (with a ride time of just 1 hour and 45 minutes), making the biggest prefecture in Alsace the perfect launch point for a four-day excursion. This road trip starts on Route A35 heading south, before branching off toward landmarks and small villages.

When to go:

Alsace is at its best in autumn, when the leaves turn and the vines take on a vibrant amber. It’ll be crisp—the average temperature in October is about 52 degrees—so pack a cardigan.

What to drive

While the region is well-connected by highway, the villages themselves have very petit parking spots. We recommend renting a small sedan from Avis or Hertz-Strasbourg Downtown, both conveniently located behind Gare de Strasbourg-Ville.

Day 1

The first thing you’ll notice upon arriving at Strasbourg-Ville station is the jarring intersection of old and new: The original structure, built in the late 1800s, was encased in a modernist glass facade in the early 2000s. Viewed from the outside, the historic train station appears trapped in a snow-globe. You’ll spend time exploring Strasbourg on your way back—so pick up a rental and set the GPS for Obernai.

Bypass Obernai for now and continue west up Mont Saint-Odile. Come for Hohenburg Abbey’s odd history (it’s the site of a famous book heist), stay for the spectacular views: The abbey’s terrace provides panoramic views of Alsace all the way to the Black Forest. Then, head back to snag lunch in Obernai itself and hop back on the road to find your first drink of the day. The map and resources at Alsace Wine Route are a terrific way to discover wineries along your journey, but kick things off with a free tasting at nearby Robert Blanck. You don’t have to leave with a bottle, but you will—we suggest the full-bodied Pinot Gris.

Continue on to Haut-Koenigsbourg. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the castle was renovated in the 1900s at Kaiser Wilhelm II’s command. Today the fortress is surprisingly well-preserved and a popular tourist attraction—tickets run €9 ($10) apiece.

Save the day’s last two stops—Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr, the two Alsatian towns that allegedly influenced the original Beauty and the Beast—for golden hour. Sashay the same streets as Belle, specifically, Ribeauvillé’s La Grand-Rue from the Tour des Bouchers clock tower to the Augustian church, before arriving in Riquewihr for the evening. Pose next to one of the many quaint fountains scattered through Riquewihr, the more bustling of the towns, before settling in for dinner at the French-Japanese Au Trotthus, which specializes in fusion dishes like tuna tartare with ponzu sauce and wasabi cream. Once you’ve had your fill, check into Hotel l’Oriel for the night, conveniently located in the city center.

Day 2

Start the day slow and enjoy an espresso al fresco at one of the many outdoor cafés on Riquewihr’s main drag. (Keep breakfast light—lunch is a doozy.) Once the car is packed up, set course for Kaysersberg.

On the outskirts of town lies Domaine Weinbach. Call ahead to schedule a tasting in a small room cluttered with bric-a-brac that feels like the Faller family dining room—they’ve owned and operated the estate since 1898. Tour the cellars and you’ll see giant oak barrels as high as the ceiling, some almost 100 years old, filled with balanced Pinot Blanc and fruit-forward Muscat.

After the tasting, you could shell out for lunch at Michelin-starred Le Chambard. But head across the street to Flamme & Co. instead. It’s the brainchild of the same chef, Olivier Nasti, and you can get tarte flambée (the French take on pizza) for a more reasonable price. You’ll want to order a few, but highlights for us included a flatbread with giant chunks of brie, and one with venison bolognese from a deer the chef shot himself.

It’s on the Colmar. En-route, make a pit-stop at the Jean-Baptiste Adam winery in Ammerschwihr. The tasting room feels a touch more corporate than others in the area, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying a case of crisp Cremant, which is effectively Alsatian Champagne.

Colmar is known for its bright colors and canals (the most seductive section of town is, after all, nicknamed “Petit Venice”). Once you’re done wandering the picturesque streets, grab dinner at l’Arpége, whose gastronomic dishes are practically impressionist art. Take note if the foie gras confit is on the menu—it’s a must-order.

With two nights in Colmar, treat yourself to a stay at luxurious Hotel le Maréchal. The building itself was constructed in 1565, but the romantic vibes persist to today. Pro tip: when booking, request a room with a canal view.

Day 3

Before motoring away for the day, drop in at Bistrot Gourmand for a brunch bruschetta. (Say yes to the smoked ham with raclette and tomatoes).

Then, it’s just a 15-minute jaunt to Eguisheim, known for its picturesque cobbled avenues. Prepare to use your camera a lot here—preferably prior to a tasting at Maison Wolfberger if you want a steady shot. (Wolfberger is known for its hearty pours.) From there, proceed to lunch at La Galinette for crepes. Order something with sautéed mushrooms, served in a luscious pile atop your lunch.

Well-fed and ready to roll, your next stop is Lac du Ballon, a reservoir on the slopes of the highest mountain in the Vosges, Grand Ballon. Pack a pair of sturdy shoes on this trip, just so you can make the hour-long hike to the mountain’s peak—on a clear day, the views extend into Switzerland as far as Mont Blanc.

After scaling the summit, you’re bound to feel famished. Drive back to Colmar for dinner at Wistrub Brenner—the duck salad is cooked to perfection—then treat yourself to dessert at Jacques Bockel Chocolatier. Whether you try truffles or macarons, you can’t go wrong.

Day 4

Time to return from whence you came. Before dropping the rental car off in Strasbourg, swing north for a glimpse of the futuristic, glass-covered European Parliament building. (Strasbourg is the seat of parliament for the entire European Union.)

Back in town, take a stroll through Petit France, the historic district where the city’s craftsmen once lived. Sure, you’ve seen old European churches before, but Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is truly a sight to behold. A prime example of Gothic architecture, the 466-foot-tall cathedral was actually the highest building in the world for more than 200 years, after its construction in the mid-17th century. Entry is free, so go in to admire the astronomical clock from 1843, adorned with hand-carved figurines.

Your viticultural tour culminates on the grounds of a historic hospital. Or in the ground, to be more exact. Hôpital Civil hosts a 600-year-old wine cellar beneath its floors, along with a wine barrel dating back to 1472. This space is now a museum where the vitners of Alsace are allowed to mature their product inside the ancient barrels and sell their wine in the gift shop for as few as €6 ($6.75).

Next, make a stop at Brasserie Les Haras for dinner. The expansive eatery is housed in Strasbourg’s former Royal Stud Farm, and large parts of the restaurant retain that rustic stable feel—especially apparent on the cozy, wood-beamed second floor. You can’t go wrong with the choucroute (sausage, cabbage, potatoes) or, if you’d rather leave with the top button of your pants undone, the ultra-rich bouchée á la reine. Thought to be an aphrodisiac, this dish with French royal origins places a puff pastry atop a pile of pasta, coated in creamy béchamel sauce.

Walk your dinner off with a lazy amble along the canal before checking into the ultra-contemporary Hotel Arok, a welcome change of pace to end your time in Alsace.

 

Source: The Four-Day Road Trip to Take Through France’s Alsace This Autumn

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A wine-lovin’ community…come sip with us!

Beverly Hills is a vibrant world-class wine and food destination.  We offer social and educational wine events to elevate, celebrate and champion the Beverly Hills California wine community.

 

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Spago in Summer – Beverly Hills August 29th, 2019

We invite you to indulge in an intimate member only dinner at the legendary Spago by Wolfgang Puck.  This exclusive social gathering is limited to the first six wine lovers who RSVP and pre-pay the $100 minimum food and beverage deposit. (Proceeds will apply to your individual check.)  We’ll be providing a welcome glass of sparkling wine!

For those of you unfamiliar with Spago and its menu we direct you to their website. https://wolfgangpuck.com/dining/spago-2/

A modest example for this dinner: A 3-course meal with two glasses of wine will cost approximately $150-200 plus tax/gratuity per person.

Let’s sip and taste gorgeous wine and food the world over!

Cheers!

 

Date:  Saturday, August 29th, 2019 
Time:  6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Location:  Spago Restaurant, 176 North Canon Dr, Beverly Hills CA 90210
Cost:  $100 prepaid food and beverage deposit (applied to your individual bill)

 

 

Beverly Hills Wine Club – Spago in Summer Dinner

Members Only. Payment applies to your final bill and reserves your seat. Seating is limited to six wine lovers only. Modifications can be made until 1pm on Tue, Aug 27, 2019. Any modifications or cancellations after 1pm on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 will require us to contact the restaurant directly and you are held to the restaurant's policy and may be subject to fees.

$100.00

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Avra Beverly Hills – Mediterranean Afternoon and Greek Wine Tasting Saturday August 31st

 

Avra Estiatorio is the gorgeous new Mediterranean Restaurant on Beverly Dr in Beverly Hills. Food, wine, service and ambiance is fantastic! They have a terrific Prix-Fixe menu for lunch with delicious wines to pair including Greek wines. We are offering an optional Greek wine tasting at 12:15pm for those interested!

**This event is open to the first twelve wine members and their guests who RSVP and pre-pay to reserve their seats. Greek wine tasting is optional and additional.

**Saturday 3-Course Prix-Fixe Lunch in Beverly Hills
Prix Fixe Menu with 1 glass of wine (under $20), tax and gratuity.  Your cost is $69

Menu Details

FIRST COURSE

DAILY SOUP
chef’s choice
GREEK SALAD
tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, feta
SPANAKOPITA
oven baked filo, fresh spinach, feta, leeks
KEFTEDES
meatballs, fresh herbs, light tomato and feta sauce
FISH SOUVLAKI
chilean Sea Bass, roasted red peppers sauce $7 SUPPLEMENT
SPREADS
tarama, fava, htipiti, tzatziki, grilled pita
GRILLED OCTOPUS
capers, onions, red wine vinegar $12 SUPPLEMENT
CRAB CAKE
Maryland jumbo lump crab, lentils $11 SUPPLEMENT
TUNA TARTARE
Hawaiian big eye tuna, shallot vinaigrette, serrano peppers
SALMON TARTARE
Faroe Islands salmon, shallot vinaigrette, serrano peppers

MAIN COURSE

FISH OF THE DAY
chef’s daily choice
CHICKEN FRITES
grilled chicken breast, Greek oregano fries
WHOLE FISH
grilled Mediterranean whole fish of the day, horta
SWORDFISH BROCHETTE
skewered swordfish, onions, peppers, tomatoes, potato salad
FAROE ISLANDS SALMON
grilled salmon, chilled Greek bean salad
ISRAELI SALAD
chicken, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, parsley
TUNA NICOISE
tomato, avocado, olive, potato, egg, shallot vinaigrette
PASTA MARINARA
spaghetti, tomatoes, garlic
COLORADO LAMB CHOPS
lemon potatoes, asparagus $21 SUPPLEMENT
FILET MIGNON
lemon potatoes, asparagus $17 SUPPLEMENT

DESSERTS

BAKLAVA, SMALL FRUIT PLATE OR CHOCOLATE-YOGURT CHEESECAKE

* Please note: If you choose to “supplement” your lunch with food or additional wine choices you will be responsible for the cost of the supplement plus tax and gratuity on the day of the event. We highly recommend cash as a method of payment.

Date:  Saturday, August 31st, 2019 
Time:  1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Location:  Avra Restaurant, 233 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills CA 90210
Cost:  $69 prepaid.  Prix Fixe Menu with 1 glass wine (under $20) Supplemental orders from menu at your cost.  
Guests welcome!  *Note:  Ask hostess for Beverly Hills Wine Club seating.

As with all events we encourage the use of a car service to and from the event. Please drink responsibly.

 

Beverly Hills Wine Club – Avra August 31st, 2019

(1) Prix Fixe Lunch with one glass of wine (under$20). Tax and gratuity included. Members and their guests welcome.

$69.00

 

Beverly Hills Wine Club – Avra Greek Wine Tasting August 31st, 2019

Greek Wine Tasting starts at 12:15pm sharp at our table. Tax and Gratuity included. Members and their guests welcome.

$30.00

 

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Coming November 9th, 2019: Wine + Food Experience by Martha Stewart

This savory Wine & Food Experience series is an American culinary tour for fans and connoisseurs alike. Indulge in this exploration showcasing the best food, wine, beer and spirits from local and national chefs and mixologists. Our members receive a very gracious discount! 

*Membership to the Beverly Hills Wine Club is currently complimentary.  Join here.

Visit the Wine + Food Experience official website hereMSW-MarthaSqr-2-1200-1024x1024.

 

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Here’s a look back at previous Wine + Food Experience…

 

BEVERLY HILLS PROMS – SATURDAYS

The City of Beverly Hills Community Services Department proudly hosts several arts and cultural events throughout the year. From Beverly Hills art shows to concerts to movies in the park to public art, there’s something for everyone.

 

 

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‘Louis Vuitton X’ exhibition: 9 things to know before you check it out

 

 

Luxury brand Louis Vuitton debuted its highly publicized “Louis Vuitton X” exhibition this week with a daytime media preview as well as a star-studded cocktail party attended by Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Orlando Bloom, Hailee Steinfeld, Jaden Smith, Millie Bobby Brown and Miranda Kerr.

Those without early access couldn’t miss the elaborate white and sunset-colored exterior that took over 468 N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, a property purchased by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for $245 million last September, according to real-estate data provider CoStar.

Now open to the public, this temporary retrospective explores the Parisian brand’s 160-year history of partnerships and takes visitors on “an immersive journey through the house’s creative exchanges and artistic collaborations,” according to press materials.

Here are nine things you should know before visiting the exhibition.

 

1. Los Angeles is the exhibition’s first stop. “Paris hasn’t seen this. New York hasn’t seen this. Shanghai, Tokyo,” Louis Vuitton Chief Executive and Chairman Michael Burke said during an interview Thursday night at a cocktail party in the Beverly Hills space. “This is the first city where we did it, and then it will go on a worldwide tour. But it starts here in Los Angeles because of the vibrant art scene.”

 

2. Virgil Abloh fans will want to seek out a never-before-seen piece by Sylvie Fleury as it provided much of the inspiration behind the men’s artistic director’s spring/summer 2019 prism bags. Featured in “The Monogram as Blank Canvas” room, the Fleury-designed piece could easily be mistaken for one of Louis Vuitton’s classic Keepall travel bags.

However, it’s actually a bronze sculpture the French design house acquired shortly after it was created as part of a series by the artist in 2001. According to a representative for Louis Vuitton, Abloh was attracted to the piece after storming the brand’s archives during his first week on the job. It’s the only piece in the room that’s not part of Louis Vuitton’s previous style collaborations.

3. A room titled “Lights, Camera, Action! Louis Vuitton on the Red Carpet” features 31 Nicolas Ghesquière-designed contemporary looks worn by the brand’s celebrity fans and ambassadors. Among them are: a silk evening gown with embroidered sequins worn by Oscar winner Alicia Vikander to the 22nd SAG Awards; a long sequin, leather and stud embroidered dress that Oscar nominee Michelle Williams wore to the 2018 Met Gala; singer Taylor Swift’s 2016 Met Gala dress; and “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner’s embroidered silk and sequin Centre Pompidou-inspired-design from this year’s Met Gala.

You get bonus points for keeping an eye out for the custom white high-neck Louis Vuitton gown with bold sleeves that Academy Award winner Lady Gaga wore to the Oscar nominees luncheon earlier this year.

4. The expansive exhibit features 180 items from Louis Vuitton’s archives over the course of 10 rooms and two floors. Key pieces include: early 20th-century special-order trunks; elaborate Art Deco perfume bottles and window displays commissioned and designed by Louis Vuitton’s grandson, Gaston-Louis; Monogram pieces reworked Karl Lagerfeld, Rei Kawakubo, Cindy Sherman and Frank Gehry; as well as original collaborations and commissions by artists including Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince and Zaha Hadid.

Other highlights include silk scarves by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki as well as American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt.

 

5. Social media factors into the interactive experience as well. As guests survey the various rooms, three Louis Vuitton-inspired Instagram camera effects — developed specifically for the exhibition — are available for visitors to capture the moment. Using a smartphone, guests scan a bar code to unlock X-ray and technicolor filters that are exclusive and unique to the space.

Snapchat also worked with Louis Vuitton to create a 3-D filter for the exhibition.

6. The exhibition also marks the world premiere of the ArtyCapucines Collection for which six contemporary artists re-imagined the brand’s classic Capucines bag. The artists — Sam Falls, Urs Fischer, Nicholas Hlobo, Alex Israel, Tschabalala Self and Jonas Wood — brought their own unique takes to the limited-edition collection. The bags retail for $8,600 each.

Israel designed a bright wave that includes quirky details such as a comb and mirror; Woods utilized digital printing and 3-D embroidery for his piece; Fischer created a playful, handcrafted fruit and vegetable design with a detachable silicone banana (or other fruits and vegetables depending on one’s preference); Hlomo’s creation features a hand-laced and stitched leather pattern; Self embraced embroidered leather patchwork for her bag; and Fall’s includes a delicate mother-of-pearl design.

Only 300 bags of each design exist. Many of the pre-sale pieces sold out in advance with a few bags held for the opening night party. Six samples will remain on display at the exhibition after the bags are sold out.

“I was thinking a lot about some of the stronger, formal qualities within my practice, so I was thinking about iconography,” Self said of designing her piece, which features leather, pony hair and lizard textiles. “I wanted to locate the most iconic element of the brand and I landed on their logo. I broke the logo up into four discrete parts and thinking about the LV itself as a fifth. I wanted to deconstruct and reconstruct those various elements using different kinds of textiles.”

Of the process, she said, “When I was first making it, I made a sample by hand of each of the different logo elements. And then that sample was photocopied, and I used the photocopy paper pieces to collage a design of the sample. The original sample was a paper collage that was translated into this more three-dimensional textile collage.”

 

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Source: ‘Louis Vuitton X’ exhibition: 9 things to know before you check it out

Augustine Wine Bar – A social mixer “field-trip” for dedicated 902wine0’s

 

Wine Lovers…YOU are in for a rare and exclusive treat! Arrangements have been made to reserve an exclusive intimate space for the first twelve wine lovers who RSVP for this casual social mixer in the valley…our first gathering outside Beverly Hills. Augustine Wine Bar has been voted one of the top wine bars in Southern California. Haven’t heard of Augustine Wine Bar? Read on…

If a fascination with fine wine rules your life, then Augustine Wine Bar is your must-visit spot in Southern California. This San Fernando Valley hotspot is always packed with locals who love vino – and for good reason. For the Augustine’s staff adores a good glass of wine, and curates quaffs from all over the globe. Champagne from France, Prosecco Superiore from Italy’s Valdobbiadene, Chardonnay from California, Tempranillo from Spain, Malbec from Argentina – think of your favorite and they probably have it in their cellar. Add in the congenial atmosphere in a place usually filled with like-minded wine lovers (they do offer beer for non-believers) and the party is ON. There are appetizer plates of cheese and charcuterie to pair with the wine, as well as other tapas-like dishes including braised octopus, diver scallops and even tater tots. (10best.com)

This is a casual social mixer. Members only.  Join here.  Seating is limited, intimate and bench style with low lying coffee tables. There is no traditional dinner seating at Augustine. You will be responsible for whatever you order off the menu. Menu is available online changing often. Most wine by the glass is under $20 with specialty vintage wine by the glass available at higher price-points and vary nightly. Small plate food choices available and super delicious!
Come, sip…let’s taste gorgeous wines the world over!
Cheers!

A non-refundable prepaid $5 (per person) Event Fee applies. Proceeds will be applied to light table appetizers.

Date:  Thursday, July 25, 2019 
Time:  6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location:  Augustine Wine Bar 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks CA 91423
Cost:  $5 prepaid event fee.  Order from Menu at your cost.  (gratuity at your discretion)
Guests welcome!

*Note:  Upon entering, we’ll have reserved seating on left.

As with all events we encourage the use of a car service to and from the event. Please drink responsibly.

 

Beverly Hills Wine Club – Avra August 31st, 2019

(1) Prix Fixe Lunch with one glass of wine (under$20). Tax and gratuity included. Members and their guests welcome.

$69.00

 

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Chef Ludo Lefebvre Launches Montage Beverly Hills Pop-Up Restaurant (Exclusive)

The South of France-inspired concept, in partnership with chef Gilles Epié, is set to kick off July 10.

Just in time for summer, chef Ludovic Lefebvre — of Trois Mec (now Michelin starred), plus Petit Trois and Ludo Bird — will partner with his friend, mentor and fellow A-list French chef Gilles Epié to transform the former home to Georgie at Montage Beverly Hills into the Summer of Ludo & Gilles.

The South of France-inspired pop-up restaurant will serve lunch and dinner beginning July 10 and running for three months.

“It’s a beautiful hotel and I always wanted to do a South of France concept,” which doesn’t exist in L.A., Lefebvre explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “Gilles Epié from Paris will be with me — it’s like two friends together on vacation, cooking colorful food from the South of France with California produce.”

Classic South of France favorites will be served, including grilled fish options, fish soup provençal, niçoise salad, steak tartare, a big crudités salad, escargot, house-made pastas and a prix fixe three-course lunch menu ($29). “People don’t want to spend a fortune for lunch,” he said of the prix fixe concept. “Fast and not too expensive.”

The menu item Lefebvre is looking most forward to? The table-side mezze cart, where guests can choose from four to five vegetarian salads from a wide selection — to pay homage to the beloved restaurants of Nice and Cannes.

For a more hearty lunch, Lefebvre’s famous fried chicken sandwich and “The Original” buttermilk provençal — first served by Lefebvre’s famous Ludo Truck — will be available from the chef’s counter.

“I spent a lot of time in the South of France — I’d go there for a month every year for eight years,” Lefebvre added, noting that the best memories came from the food in the region. “Really the concept of the South of France is simple dishes, sharing and good, fresh ingredients … nothing too complicated. It’s really the food — I want to cook the food that people like.”

Adding to the atmosphere, the indoor/outdoor venue will play French beats, and the cocktail list will feature a separate rosé menu to transport guests from Beverly Hills to the French Riviera.

Source: Chef Ludo Lefebvre Launches Montage Beverly Hills Pop-Up Restaurant (Exclusive)

Cheers to the Garagistes!

It’s a little known secret, our fascination with the garagiste wine movement.  What are the garagistes you ask?

In short, the garagistes refers to a group of winemakers in the Bordeaux region, producing “vins de garage”, “garage wine”. A group emerged in the mid-1990s in reaction to the traditional style of red Bordeaux wine, which is highly tannic and requires long ageing in the bottle to become drinkable. The garagistes developed a style more consistent with perceived international wine tastes.

Present day, here in California, some of the garagistes we’ve come to know and respect are primarily based out of Paso Robles.  Four times a year they gather for the public at the Garagiste Festival, a traveling wine-tasting festival covering Northern, Southern and Central California.  The festival was co-founded by Stewart McLennan and Douglas back in 2011 to give fellow small production wine-makers an added marketplace for their wines.

We attended the latest event, the 6th ANNUAL URBAN EXPOSURE: LOS ANGELES, in Glendale this past weekend.  We were thrilled to speak to so many talented winemakers, discover their technics and praise their passion.  We look forward to future events both in LA and elsewhere!  Check out www.garagistefestival.com