It is agreed by those in the know - that the original garage wine was Château Le Pin, with its grapes grown on a tiny 2 hectare plot in Pomerol, which is near Saint Emilion in Bordeaux - France. The first vintage produced in 1981, was so astonishingly good - that other local winemakers soon followed suit to create their own 'boutique wines' - (as small batch wines were originally called).
Since these operations were housed in relatively modest accommodations - the Le Pin wine cellar was at the back of an old farmhouse. The limited production of Château Le Pin ranges from 500-600 cases per year. It was the French writers Nicholas Baby and Michel Bettane that came up with the term 'vins de garage' and called the vintners 'garagistes'.


This is wine 'Haute Couture', said Michel Rolland - internationally acclaimed wine consultant and advocate of garage wines, who orchestrated their expansion into the global market.
The first wine to become famous under the name garage wine was Château Valandraud from St. Emilion (1.5ha). The name is explained by the fact that because of a lack of a dedicated cellar and the microscopic volume, the wine was made in a garage.
Usually the operation involves a tiny plot, seldom in excess of 2-4ha. With this scale, the vintner works like a gardener, sometimes taking care of vines as if they were pot plants. Low yields, about 20hl from a hectare instead of the standard 50hl. A straightforward recipe; it does however, require backbreaking labour and almost surgical precision. Vineyard work starts as early as July, bringing in a green crop, with three-quarters of the bunches removed; following this, they cut the leaves first from the eastern side and then, prior to harvest, all the remaining leaves to achieve maximum exposure to the sun. The harvesting is done by hand, in a very short space of time (one day) and in only the best weather.
Vinification in a garage, or micro-winemaking, high-precision, intricate work which produces highly concentrated, sophisticated, amazing wines, which so far have only a short history..., and their future development hard to predict.