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Late last month I attended the third Garagiste North Festival, held this time at the Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna. I arranged to bring my Wine Sales Certificate students to the festival as a field trip, to show them another side of the wine industry in BC. The Garagiste North Festival began last fall, the brainchild of Jennifer Schell and Terry Meyer Stone, to showcase the small producers of BC wine, some of whom are literally producing it in their garages (hence the name), with production ranging from 180 cases to just under 2000 cases. The first festival was hosted by Meyer Family Vineyards in Okanagan Falls, featuring twenty small wineries, and was a resounding success. It lead to a second festival date this past June in Vancouver. This time, back in the Okanagan, 22 garagistes participated in the two-hour tasting event. I try to keep fairly current on new emerging wineries in BC, but this year it has certainly been challenging to do so with several dozen opening around the province and this event introduced me to a few new labels.IMG_2748IMG_2751IMG_2759

This year’s line-up included:

Anarchist Mountain Vineyard, Osoyoos, BC – 250 case production

BC Wine Studio, OK Falls, BC – 900 case production

Bella Wines, Naramata, BC – 342 case productionIMG_2762

Black Cloud Winery, Penticton, BC – 450 case production

Black Market Wine Co., OK Falls, BC – 180 case production

Cana Vines Winery, Oliver, BC – 550 case production

Corcelettes Estate Winery, Keremeos, BC – 738 case production

Daydreamer Wines, Penticton, BC – 1100 case production

Deep Roots Winery, Naramata, BC – 1596 case productionIMG_2766

Giant Head Winery, Summerland, BC – 1055 case production

Kraze Legz Winery, Kaleden, BC – 1991 case production

Lariana Cellars, Osoyoos, BC – 700 case production

Lock & Worth Winery, Penticton, BC – 700 case production

Marichel Vineyard & Winery, Naramata, BC – 1280 case production

Nagging Doubt, Kelowna, BC – 600 case production

Nighthawk Vineyards, OK Falls, BC – 448 case productionIMG_2752

Niche Wine Co., West Kelowna, BC – 460 case production

Phasion Estates Winery, OK Falls, BC – 575 case production

River Stone Estate Winery, Oliver, BC – 1683 case production

Roche Wines, Penticton, BC – 460 case production

Van Westen Vineyards, Naramata, BC – 1837 case production

Vin Perdu Cellars, Oliver, BC – 370 case production

I didn’t have the time to try absolutely everything on offer, so I tried to stick to the wineries whose wines I had never tried before, or those who had new vintages available that I had not yet tried. Some of the standouts for my palate included the 2013 Wildfire Pinot Noir from Anarchist Mountain (making me happy that I already have some bottles in my cellar), The Syndicate 2012 from Black Market Wine Co,IMG_2750 the 2011 Meritage from Corcelettes, the 2013 Amelia from Daydreamer, the 2013 Syrah from Deep Roots, the 2014 Merlot from Lock & Worth, the 2014 Gewürztraminer from Nighthawk Vineyards, the Pinot Noir barrel sample from Roche Wines, and the 2014 Gamay Noir from Vin Perdu Cellars.

The wines produced by the garagistes are truly made with passion and I would recommend seeking them out. The owners/winemakers love what they do (often as a sideline to another job that actually pays the bills) and are happy to speak about their wines and their experiences. Stay tuned to the Events Calendar on the Garagiste North website to get your tickets for upcoming festivals and winemaker dinners.garagiste north

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