by Leanne Holley, Editor, Texas Wine and Trail Magazine
For Clint Thomas, launching his own wine tour company in the heart of Texas wine country was not a new idea, but it required a leap of faith few have the courage to make. Thomas had been a part of the Texas wine industry for several years before recently starting Cellar Rat Wine Tours, but seeing the growth of the industry, and inspired by the success of George Burns with George’s 290 Wine Tours, he felt it was time to strike out on his own.
Thomas started out as a cellar rat for William Chris Vineyards during their up and coming phase in the Texas wine scene. For those who aren’t familiar with the term cellar rat they are the unsung heros of wine making around the world. Wine Business Monthly once published this description by Jake Lorenzo, “Future generations will come to revere cellar rats when they realize who did the actual work. Cellar rats will be recognized as heroes for surviving the freezing cold of winter cellars during cold stabilization, the blazing heat of summer sun during crush and the ear-splitting clank of the bottling line. Cellar rats will be seen as the carriers of joy for the culture and as the real drinkers of the product.” If it sounds like a bloated compliment, standing in for a cellar rat for a few months should change your perspective entirely.
The demand for knowledgeable, hard working men and women is high in any wine region, but Texas especially so because of the tremendous growth it has seen over the past several years. After working at William Chris Vineyards, Clint Thomas found himself freelancing anywhere he was needed.
“I’ve worked for Pedernales Cellars in their vineyard, winery, and tasting room. I have worked at Round Mountain Vineyard. I’ve worked with the guys at Lewis Wines in the winery, and I help bottle whenever and wherever I can. I drove for Randy with Fredericksburg Limo and Wine Tours as a backup driver, and also with Hill Country Wine Tours for Mike Kasberg.”
While doing wine tours for other companies, Thomas not only realized how much enjoyment he found in giving the tours, but how natural it was for him. Putting the Cellar Rat name on his business venture was the perfect choice, all things considered. The variety of positions Thomas had experienced equipped him with the ability to offer his tour guests a true glimpse into the Texas wine making process. As Thomas explained, from cultivation to bottling, and his various connections inside the industry he was confident with his vision for Cellar Rat Wine tours to “grant an experience like no one else could.”
To schedule or customize a Cellar Rat Wine Tour with Clint Thomas, visit www.cellarratwinetours.com for pricing or call 325-374-8921. You can also visit the facebook page for pictures of Cellar Rat Wine Tours on the trail.