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If you like to find the unknown winery, the small production winery or just meet new winemakers, then the Garagiste Festival is for you. Throughout the year, Garagiste Festival takes place in Paso Robles, Solvang, Los Angeles and now Sonoma. For the second time, Garagiste Festival returns to Sonoma on April 13th and I wrote about what you might and why you might want to go in my recent column in the Napa Valley Register which you can read here. Everyone knows the riddle: “How do you make a small fortune in the wine industry? Start with a large one.”
The dream to own a winery and make wine can seem like a fantasy. Land costs in Napa and Sonoma are prohibitive when a vineyard in Napa will cost anywhere from $120,000 to more than $370,000 per acre and a vineyard in Sonoma can cost $70,000 to more than $150,000 per acre.
Even if you do not own a vineyard, buying quality fruit in Napa and Sonoma can be costly. In 2016, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon averaged $6,829 per ton and Sonoma Pinot Noir averaged $3,678 per ton. But, despite these costs, there are small winemakers out there who are striving to make the best wines possible, even without a venture capitalist behind them.

This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. There are about 9,000 wineries in the United States. Almost half of the total (approximately 4,000) of those wineries have limited production...

GARAGISTES -(gar-uh-zhē-stuh) n, Fr. – 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.” Today it is a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world. Syn: Rule-breakers, pioneers, renegades, mavericks, driven by passion. These are small production commercial winemakers who are making under 1200 cases per year. Most of them don't have tasting rooms, nor do they have big marketing budgets to promote their wines. The Garagiste Festival was created to celebrate the artisan winemakers.  
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