July 3, 2020
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Local business owner Doug Minnick is the co-founder of Hoi Polloi Winery, co-owner of the Double Trouble Tasting Room in downtown Newhall and co-founder and festival director of the annual Garagiste Wine Festival in Paso Robles. His philosophy is that wine should be accessible to everyone. With Minnick and his crowd, there are “no snobs allowed.” Basically, he lives, breathes and especially drinks wine.

Minnick first started the Garagiste Festival in 2011 when he saw a need to showcase California’s small wineries.  He wanted to make sure people knew about these talented producers that most wine drinkers would never encounter because their small operations didn’t have tasting rooms and couldn’t get onto market shelves. This was the wine Minnick and his friends loved to drink, and he knew that other wine drinkers would love them too. The term “garagiste” first originated in the 1990s as a negative way to describe small wine producers from Bordeaux, France who often operated out of their garages. Minnick chose to reclaim this term in a positive way to describe California’s smallest wineries, and the California garagiste movement has only grown from there.

Over the past eight years, the festival has showcased hundreds of wineries from all over California, each producing under 1500 cases a year.  Attendees can sample over 200 wines, try food from small, local vendors, and purchase their own bottles to take home. One of the best parts is that all proceeds from the festival go to a scholarship fund to benefit promising students in the wine and viticulture program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which Minnick described as “one of the top three wine and viticulture schools in the country.”

After a few years of running the Garaigiste Festival, Minnick and a few friends decided that they needed a year-round way to drink wine and call it work.  This lead to the birth of the Hoi Polloi Winery in 2014. For anyone wondering, Minnick defines “Hoi Polloi” as a Greek word meaning “the common people, the riff-raff, and the plebeians.”  Again, with Minnick, there are no snobs allowed. Hoi Polloi wines can be sampled at the Double Trouble Tasting Room in Downtown Newhall, which also pours wines from the Pagter Brothers Winery, who co-own Double Trouble.

Minnick encourages wine experts and wine newbies alike to come to the Garagiste Festival and Double Trouble to talk to producers and fall in love with a new bottle (or bottles) of wine.

This year’s Garagiste Festival is next weekend from November 9th-11th.  Tickets are going fast but the last few can be found here.

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Brianna Bricker

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