Wine lovers rave about small producers wine festival in Penticton

Renee Stewart and her husband Chris Stewart try some of Niche Wine Company's wine, at the Garagiste North festival Sunday afternoon, Aug. 27, 2017.

PENTICTON - Crowds of wine lovers were like kids in a candy shop at the fifth annual Garagiste North small producers wine festival in Penticton this past weekend.

With 27 wineries represented at the fifth annual event on Sunday, Aug. 28, in Penticton’s Canadian Tire parking lot, festival goers had to focus in order to try it all the offerings.

Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, garagiste (pronounced: gar-ah-jeest) refers to a group of winemakers producing ‘garage wine’. Now, it most commonly is associated with small batch wineries. The Garagiste North festival brings together wineries that produce under 2,000 cases annually.

“We’ve been to a few garagiste festivals before and we love this one - it’s definitely our favourite,” said Renee Stewart. Stewart is the co-founder of Wine Glass Writer, a marker you can use to write on your wine glass to make sure it doesn’t end up in the hands of someone else.

“You really get intimate with the winemakers because they have other jobs and this is a passion of theirs, that they want to share and it really comes through at the event,” said Stewart.

Garagiste North gives the winemakers an opportunity to showcase their product to the public and to connect with other small batch wineries.

“We’ve been a part of this event for the past three years and it’s one of our favourites,” said Joanna Schlosser, co-owner of Niche Wine Company, located in West Kelowna. “It’s really nice for us to be rubbing shoulders with people in the same production zone with us, plus we’re not open to the public so this is a great chance for people to try our wines.”

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