La Garagista

United States – Vermont – Champlain Valley

An Unlikely Vineyard stewarded by Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber

Written by Madison Sabol, Bourget Imports Sales Rep based in Duluth, MN. Madison worked at La Garagista in 2017 and 2018 after reading Deirdre’s book, An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir. During Madison’s time at La Garagista, she loved Deirdre and Caleb’s commitment to the land and their community, especially the state’s growing list of vignerons. Of course, she was also enamored with their wines!!! Madison hopes that you adore these Vermont gems as much as she does.

Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber of La Garagista Farm and Winery steward several different vineyard sites throughout the verdant valleys and mountains of Vermont. Each vineyard has its own personality, shaped by soil, microclimate, and flora. La Garagista practices biodynamic and regenerative agriculture, building soil health and the relationship between the vines and their growing environment.

The home farm, atop Mount Hunger and in the Piedmont-esque hills of Barnard, Vermont, features the winery, two vineyards {les bonnes femmes and les forestières}, fruit trees, flower and vegetable gardens, and an enchanting barn space for hosting pop-up wine bars. The soils here are volcanic schist at an elevation of over 1200 feet.

Here in Minnesota, you can find La Garagista’s pétillant naturel field blend House Music as well as Native Love, which is the sister to House Music and still. Both wines are made with fruit from the Mount Hunger vineyards. All of La Garagista’s grape wines feature hybrid grapes like marquette, st. croix, la crescent, frontenac blanc, gris, and noir.

In the Champlain Valley, there are two more sites under La Garagista’s love and care, {les carouges and i selvatici}, one in Vergennes and the other, West Addison, Vermont. Here, soils are more clay and limestone rich with elevations between zero to roughly 100 ft.

In Minnesota, you can find Ci Confondé Rosé from les carouges and Vinu Jancu from i selvatici.

Below are descriptions of these terroir-driven wines. Production is extremely limited. Please check with your Bourget Sales Rep for current availability.

House Music // A dry sparkling red wine made as an homage to Italian Lambrusco.

Bright and effervescent with foam the color of raspberry cream, this wine is a co-fermented field blend of 6 different varieties that we grow here in the two mountain vineyards at the homefarm. The three red and three white varieties: Marquette, Frontenac Noir, St. Croix with Frontenac Blanc, Frontenac Gris, and La Crescent. Dark as night, earthy, fruity, and smooth, this little charmer is delicious on its own as an aperitif, but also plays beautifully at the table.

Delicious with:
Pasta dishes (everything from Bolognese to pasta alla Norma)
Roast turkey
Roast pork
Roast vegetables
Duck confit

Native Love // A red co-fermented field blend.

It’s a red co-fermented field blend of six different grapes, three red and three white, from the home farm vineyards in the mountains. It is the sister wine to House Music, and both are love letters to this magical land. Made from Marquette, Frontenac Noir, St. Croix on the red side, and La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc, and Frontenac Gris on the white. Its gemlike color and silky brightness make this an exciting and exhilarating wine. Fruity with vibrant acidity, it is perfect to pair with holiday meals that need a little lift.

We love this wine with:
Cured meats
Pureed vegetable soups
Sauteed mushrooms and herbs
Chicken or duck liver pate
Any kind of pate really!
Crispy roasted brussels sprouts
Roast pork
Pan-grilled duck breast with rosemary and peppercorns
Salt roasted salmon with capers

Ci Confondé Rosé // Aa calling card for Garagista.

We’ve been making this wine since 2013, and it, like its two siblings, has become one of our most popular bottles. Grown in the Vergennes vineyard on clay and limestone, this Frontenac Gris is a bit of a moonstone when it comes to varieties; some years the rosé is dark fuschia, other years the bubbles are pale salmon. It all depends on the season, when we have rain and when we have sun. In 2020, we had a hot dry sun all season long, a drought in fact, which resulted in a beautiful pink with just a tinge of orange, like a sunset over water. This wine is bright with acidity, a fine beaded necklace of bubbles, and floral like the best alpine strawberries. Very limited.

We like this wine with:
Shrimp cocktail
Cured salmon with fresh lemon and capers
Smoked bluefish
Fried red or white fish
Onion rings
Chicken roasted with olives and rosemary


Vinu Jancu // A flagship wine

A reserve wine, it’s grown in the West Addison vineyard, on clay and limestone, on the edge of Lake Champlain, and is defined by the explosion of wild flora that grows beneath the vines, goldenrod, purple aster, daisy fleabane, and wild mint. This is a sun-kissed vineyard with lake breezes, perfect for a skin-fermented more oxidative style of wine. The grapes ferment in open vats and starting in the 2018 vintage, the wine cycled through an amphora made from local Champlain Sea clays, the same clays the vines are rooted in, an amphora crafted by a ceramicist in Montreal.

We love this wine with:
Fresh oysters
Anything Middle Eastern
Indian food
The aforementioned duck legs roasted with dried apricots
Ligurian rabbit fricassee with olives and rosemary
Rabbit pate, or any kind of pate, and if you were feeling fancy, foie gras