A Black Owned Wine Tasting Experience Near Atlanta – Free Press of Jacksonville
Now, along with her husband Chuck, Eiland hopes to inspire a new generation of wine lovers through Pop The Cork Wine Tours. It is described as a ‘memorable wine tasting experience‘which allows guests to leisurely explore the countryside vineyards just outside of the Metro Atlanta area. The tour is an extension of a concept the Eilands first developed across the country in an area 15 minutes from the Temecula wine region in California.
“We used to have a neighborhood wine club and we would invite one of the vineyard owners. They were doing blind tastings on different wines. He started to grow. You bring in people. And so we always took them to wine country. One day, I say, I’m going to go on a tour. I went to work with the cellar owners and rented a 50 passenger bus. I told friends and family that we were doing this wine tour, and it was sold right away.
Its number doubled and tripled over the next two years. She realized that she had a case on her hands. They continued for 11 years before Eiland received an offer to move to Atlanta for work. There was a moment of hesitation as she was close to retirement but with their grown-up children the couple decided to move south for at least two years with the intention of returning to the West Coast.
But Eiland saw the possibility of a new venture when she discovered the North Georgia wine scene.
“I found out they had this huge wine country that not many people in Atlanta knew about. So we started our business in 2015. It started very small. We were the only travel agency coming from Atlanta, taking people 90 minutes to the North Georgia wine country. From there, he just kept growing and growing and growing.
A booking with Pop The Cork Wine Tours rewards clients with an immersive one-day experience. It starts with a 9:30 am pick-up for a 90-minute ride to the first vineyard. There the wine begins to flow with tastings followed by lunch. A caterer delivers meals based on what customers have pre-ordered, and the day continues at several other wineries in the area. Even the wineries are selected based on the unique tastes of the group, whether they prefer semi-sweet or drier wines.
On weekend tours, guests are treated to live music on site. The day ends around 7:00 p.m.
“We’re giving wine education so it’s not just fun but they’ll go off as what I call wine snobs because now you know how to hold your glass, you know how to sip your wine properly and maximize the taste of it.
Eiland estimates that 60% of their visitors are from the Georgia area, but they also get a lot of traffic from neighboring states like Louisiana, Florida, the Carolinas, Alabama, and around the world. They host bachelorette parties, birthdays, anniversaries, conference attendees or moms who just want to hang out alone for the day.
The couple bring complementary skills to the business – La Tanya’s career has been in advertising and Chuck is a retired military and computer network engineer who speaks five languages.
They disagree on expansion – “He keeps saying, ‘When are we going to retire?’ And I keep saying, ‘We’re retired,’ ”laughs Eiland, but I have plans for small-group international wine tastings in Italy, France, Germany or maybe closer to home in Napa Valley or Southern California.
Whatever the future, what is certain is the growth of the wine industry in Georgia.
“I kind of see this area exploding like the growth of the Temecula area,” Eiland predicted. “When we first started doing wine tours in California, there were 13 wineries. I think now it’s over 70 years old. Here in the state of Georgia, there’s about 40 to 50 of them, and they’re just coming in at a rapid pace now.
Find out more about Pop the Cork tours, including their ‘See, Whirl, Smell, Sip and Savor’ experience on their www.popthecorkwinetours.com