The Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure debuts July 12 at Union Station

On July 12, Union Station hosts the first-ever Los Angeles Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure.

So once you’ve made it through the Fourth of July weekend intact, your burgers done to perfection, your ribs a masterpiece, the dishes all done, on the following weekend, why not hang up that apron and chill. You can go far, but why not stay near, the better to enjoy our very own city.

Here’s what you can do. On July 12, the historic Ticket Concourse at Union Station will be the site of the first-ever Los Angeles Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure -- or the foresight -- to attend the original Paso Robles Garagiste Festival or its offshoot Southern Exposure in Solvang, this is the chance to see what garagistes are all about. More than 40 winemakers and winery owners who produce fewer than 1,500 cases a year will be pouring the latest vintages. Between sips, you can nibble on bread, cheese and charcuterie from Wood & Vine.

Most of these small-scale artisan vintners have day jobs -- some at other wineries, some in pursuits completely unrelated to wine. But they’re all passionate -- maybe even crazy -- enough to give winemaking a try. A number of the wine producers at this tasting are based in the greater Los Angeles area, so it should be interesting to hear their stories and experience their wines.

(According to the website promoting the festival,, garagistes 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.”)

Because the participating wineries’ productions are so small, these bottles rarely show up on retail shelves. Instead, they’re poured at restaurants and at tasting rooms, though only 60% of these wineries even have a tasting room. At Urban Exposure, you’ll not only be able to taste, but also to buy bottles hardly anyone else has.

Garagiste Festival: Urban Exposure is July 12 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Union Station. Tickets for the event can be purchased online for $65. Premium tickets, which allow ticket holders to sneak into the tasting an hour early to taste and meet the winemakers, are $80. Designated driver tickets are $10. No one under 21 will be admitted.

The nonprofit event benefits Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s wine and viticulture program and Mending Kids International.

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