From would-be teacher, to wine educator, to vintner…
Thomas grew up in Concord, CA where he attended De La Salle High School, operated by the Christian Brothers. It was there that Thomas was first introduced to Napa Valley. While attending yearly retreats at the Christian Brothers Retreat Center at Mont La Salle on the slopes of Mt. Veeder in Napa, Thomas learned of the Brothers’ history and traditions in wine. Early visits to the Christian Brothers Winery at Greystone Cellars in St. Helena (now home to the Culinary Institute of America) opened his eyes to the deep-rooted traditions and labor behind the scenes of the famous wine and brandy label. By the time he graduated in 1989, Thomas was on course to follow his early mentors and become a teacher.
Thomas attended college at Sonoma State University, in the heart of Sonoma County’s wine country; the perfect setting to finish his B.A. in English, and Minor in Communications. While an undergrad, Thomas also pledged and became an active member of the national fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Following graduation, he was accepted into the University’s Teacher Credential Program. During his first year in the program, Thomas began working part-time for a tour and limousine operator that happened to specialize in wine tours. By that summer he began working full time to pay down his student loans. Then, in late August of 1996, something magical happened…harvest.
As a tour guide, Thomas quickly made friends with many small producer vintners and was invited to help them with their grape harvest. From cleaning pumps and hoses, to sorting grapes, to punch-downs…it was all very intoxicating for Thomas. This was his epiphany; the moment he realized he was training in the wrong subject matter…he wanted to teach people about wine. More specifically, he wanted to share his love and appreciation for wine and the regions of Napa and Sonoma.
Of course bills had to be paid, and the dream seemed somewhat unattainable. Tourism in Napa Valley and Sonoma was very seasonal at that time, so Thomas looked for another job. It just so happened, a former college fraternity brother from Sonoma State had started a limousine service in nearby Marin County, called Beau Limousine. Thomas got onboard as a chauffeur, then operations manager and trainer, then in sales and marketing, and finally a partner in late 2000. His love for wine and his dream to create a more sophisticated tour company in the region, drove Thomas to eventually buy out his partner and re-brand the fledgling limousine business in 2003.
Thomas moved the new Beau Wine Tours to Sonoma County, became a Certified Wine Educator, and retained some of the top local talent in the hospitality and corporate event industries. Together, with a team of wine savvy chauffeur tour guides, Beau Wine Tours quickly grew to be the premier luxury tour operator of the region. The company moved again in early 2005 to its current headquarters in Carneros; straddling the Napa-Sonoma County line.
In 2007, Thomas married the love of his life, Georgia Buck. After only two short years in the company’s sales and marketing division, Georgia took the helm of operations; allowing Thomas to focus on strategic planning. Together they have grown the company to 50 vehicles and over 80 employees, while still maintaining the cornerstone values and quality the company is known for.
After being an avid collector of California cult wines for 15 years, Thomas began a new venture with Georgia in 2012. Following their passion for fine wine, they have started their own label, sourcing top-tier cabernet fruit from some of Napa Valley’s most exclusive vineyards.
Georgia Buck grew up in the Fresno area of California’s Central Valley, and spent some formidable years as a young adult in Dallas, TX. No stranger to agriculture, Georgia is quite at home living in Napa Valley’s bucolic setting. You might say she has done it all, from breaking horses as a teen, to training chauffeurs only two years after working at Beau Wine Tours. During her early induction into wine, and after meeting her husband Thomas Buck, it was discovered that Georgia also had quite an acute palate. In the world of wine, such people are often referred to as Super Tasters; being able to sort out a wine’s unique characteristics, flavor components, and also its flaws.
Georgia has a background in sales and marketing, and has consulted several wineries in establishing quality DTC (direct-to-consumer) tasting experiences. Georgia is in charge of Beau Wine Tours’ VIP Services and helps oversee the daily operations with her husband Thomas Buck. She is also completing her California real estate license. Georgia and Tom enjoy raising their family in Napa and living the wine country lifestyle.
Rose Kapsner, CTA
Director of Sales
Rose has worked in the hospitality industry for approximately 20 years. At Beau Wine Tours, she handles transportation and destination management support for both the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. She plans customized wine tours and team building events for Individuals, groups, and corporations. Prior to joining Beau Wine Tours, she worked for several large corporations in various management roles (living and traveling throughout the U.S.), and for small boutique wineries. She has completed the Sonoma County Certified Tourism Ambassador program; the Napa Valley Vintners AVA program; and the sales and marketing program at Napa Valley College.
Regional Sales Manager
Craig has more than 30 years of professional experience working in the North Bay Area and a solid knowledge of the wine country. Prior to joining Beau Wine Tours, he worked as the Information Specialist for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau and held positions at the Sonoma County Wine Commission and the Sonoma County Vintners. Craig also gained management and sales experience while working for State Farm Insurance at their former corporate headquarters in Rohnert Park. At Beau Wine Tours, Craig is the Regional Sales Manager for the Sonoma County region, responsible for business development and corporate sales. He assists in the planning of group wine tours and event transportation for businesses, social groups, and weddings. Craig also assists in developing itineraries for GLBT travelers, the travel media, and film crews.
Prior to joining Beau Wine Tours, Nick had worked with the Bechtel Corporation, and then left to be the production manager of a large food company in the Bay Area. Later he became an entrepreneur and opened six donut shops, two bakeries, two catering trucks, one ice cream shop, and an Orange Julius. In 1996 he sold these and took a distribution management job with an oil company.
Nick started driving part-time for Beau Wine Tours in 1998. He became a full-time Tour Guide and Chauffeur in 2001 and was promoted to Operations Manager two years later. Nick has an extensive knowledge and passion for the wine country and has lived in Marin County and San Francisco his entire life. He has been to almost every winery in Napa and Sonoma and has a working knowledge of wineries in Livermore, Monterey, and Santa Barbara as well.
Michelle has been with Beau Wine Tours since 1998. She started part-time to help with general office duties. As the company grew, she also assisted with reservations and then moved into the position of finance administrator. This includes: the daily reconciliation of all reservations, payroll, accounts payable/accounts receivable, and managing company health benefits. Michelle enjoys being part of a company that has grown so much and part of team that has a positive and fun attitude as they plan special trips for customers. Prior to Beau Wine Tours, she worked in the mortgage banking industry for 15 years.