It's that time of year. The third Garagiste Festival in Paso Robles will be held this weekend at Windfall Farms. If you've never attended one, this is the place to discover wines from Paso's artisan winemakers.
To bring you up to speed, the term garagistes is French for small-lot winemakers, often working in their garages and likely not to follow the rules. Or at least, that's the way the Garagiste Festival tells it. I'll go with its synonyms: rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks. Expect unique wines from winemakers passionate about what they do.
Tickets are on sale for the weekend events. I like the sound of "Opening Round," 4-7 p.m. Friday when 17 wineries will be pouring at the Pavilion on the Lake in Atascadero ($35).
Ah, but then there's the "Winemaker Mixer" at 7:30 the same night (also $35) where you can mingle with off-the-grid winemakers and taste 25 unreleased barrel samples and pre-release wines along with some wine country appetizers.
"The Main Event at Windfall Farms" is Saturday and includes winemaker panels and seminars (only with the all-day VIP pass, $135) and the afternoon "Grand Tasting" ($60) with 49 winemakers pouring more than 100 wines and 20 varietals.
For a schedule of events, take a look at the Garagiste Festival site.