Garagiste North has to be one of the more intriguing wine festivals on the calendar.
I regularly meet people disappointed in being not able track down wines from smaller wineries, whose wines aren’t widely available.
Garagiste northA few years back, a forward thinking group in the Okanagan sought to change that—and concocted a showcase specifically for those smaller players.
At Garagiste North: “The Small Guys” Wine Festival, you’ll find only wineries making under 2,000 cases a year. The name “garagiste” alludes to a small group of Bordeaux winemakers who—tired of being hampered by DOC regulations—took their winemaking ‘underground’, often as not in their own garage.
This ‘little festival that could’, which was first held in 2014, has turned into a hot ticket. The 2016 edition takes flight at the WISE Hall, April 17th, 2-4.30 p.m. (Some trivia: in case you don’t know, the WISE Hall started life in 1958, as the Welsh, Irish, Scottish & English club, a succinct reflection of the times.)
Move quickly if you want to go…
Even though that first festival happened only a couple of years ago, the grapevine has been doing its job: last summer the UK’s Financial Times named Garagiste North among “Five of the best: wine festivals”—held around the world.


The list of ‘rebels’ is longer than you might think. Some—such as BC Wine Studio, Black Cloud, Niche or River Stone—you may well have heard of. But chances are you don’t know Nighthawk, Anarchist Mountain—or most of those participating. Also on hand: ‘barrel’ (actually tank) samples of the first wine (white) made by Les Dames d’Escoffier.


What makes it so special? When you think about it, it was people like this who got the whole BC wine thing started, in its earliest days, when the only wineries on the landscape were a few commercial juice giants. That’s what makes this particular festival so unique.


If you want to taste; and hear it like it is from the folks who happily get their hands dirty at every stage, book in quick for this truly taste-worthy afternoon, which includes bites from Chicha Restaurant and music by Chicken Like Birds.


Tickets are $49 available on Eventbrite, with more info at
(Partial proceeds benefit Garagiste North Wine Study Scholarship at Okanagan College, which helps people in the community get involved in the industry.)

Garagiste 'rebels' Andrew Stone (l) and Bradley 'Black Cloud' Cooper

Garagiste participants Andrew Stone of Anarchist Mountain Vineyards (l) and Bradley ‘Black Cloud’ Cooper

Garagiste North participants

Anarchist Mountain Vineyard
Anthony Buchanen
BC Wine Studio
Bella Wines *
Black Cloud
Black Market Wine Co.
Cana Vines
Corcelettes Winery *
Forbidden Fruit
Kitsch Wines
Les Dames Wine
Marichel Vineyard
Nagging Doubt
Niche Wine Co
Nighthawk Vineyards Phasion Estate Winery
River Stone
Seven Directions

*Pouring only at Penticton (Sept 17th, 2016)