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Garagistes sought for Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
The term "garagiste" originated in Bordeaux, particularly along the Right Bank of the Gironde Rivers (today's fascinating geography lesson) and referred to small-production winemakers who made their juice in small, garage-like facilities. It's no longer considered a term of derision since many of the original garagistes (such as Le Pin) have become quite as popular and nearly as expensive as some of Bordeaux's deluxe First Growths. You might call some of Colorado's non-professional winemakers garagistes since they make their wines in, well, Sal Sassano actually makes his in his walk-out basement, which looks terribly like a garage with carboys. The Colorado Mountain Winefest holds a special competition for what Winefest producers call "amateur winemakers,' a term that refers to the economic result, not the finished wine product. Some of these amateur wines are quite good (others, umm, let's not go there quite yet). If you're interested in how a panel of professional tasters might judge your wines in comparison to those produced by similar winemakers, the entry deadline for this year's Amateur Winemakers Competition is Aug .17. Information is available at