Where I work: Cottonwood Wine Tours

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It’s a beautiful morning and I’m taking the Cottonwood Wine Tours van. The van was prepared by my colleague Adam, who keeps the vans in top condition. Today, I pick up my guests at home. I have planned a personally prepared wine tour for them, based on their interests and tastes in wine. My guests today are a group of soldiers who are going to be transferred to other bases. They wanted to spend a fun and special day together before their final goodbye.

My favorite thing about this job is that I spend the day with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I have all types of groups such as wedding parties, people celebrating birthdays or anniversaries and visitors to our city.

I had the good fortune to work for Matt and Brandy Garcia, owners of Cottonwood Wine Tours and Texian Tours, for three years. The small staff is tight and the Garcias always support us. We really feel like family.

Cottonwood Wine Tours co-founder Matthew Garcia explains Sunday how the wine storage process works at Sister Creek Vineyards. Credit: Bria Woods/San Antonio Report

The Garcias have known each other since childhood. They grew up on the far West Side, went to the same high school, then to the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating and returning to San Antonio, their friendship turned into love and they got married.

Matt went to work as a Segway tour guide and found he loved leading tours. During their trips to Napa and Sonoma to visit family, the couple learned a lot about wines and winemaking. Looking at the Napa tour model, they found that no San Antonio tour company would pick up guests from their homes or hotels to take them on Hill Country wine tours. They decided to combine their knowledge and love of wine and create such a tour.

Without any business or marketing experience, and while they were both working full time, they started building the business, working on social media and doing hotel outreach to get referrals. business. In 2013, their first tour left for the Hill Country. Their first review was a 5 star review, and they knew then they had made the right decision.

Cottonwood Wine Tours now offers several packages, including Wines & Vines 101 for beginners who want to learn more about wine, the popular Taste of Fredericksburg and Alamo City Ale for customers who prefer beer. We have established great relationships with the staff and owners at every stage of our tour, and I am so proud to represent a company that has earned such respect from area wineries.

My goal is to provide a fabulous time for my guests on their special day. Sometimes we have different bands together on a tour. The guests don’t know each other when we leave, but from the first stop the van is full of lively conversations and new friends. I’ve even had guests on my tours keep in touch with me and come back for more tours.

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Sister Creek Vineyards Wine Club Manager Leticia Hernandez shares information about one of their eight wines with a touring group with Cottonwood Wine Tours on Sunday. Credit: Bria Woods/San Antonio Report

In 2018, the Garcias added Texian Tours. I gladly take visitors to visit our missions at World Heritage sites. I share the 300 year journey to become the San Antonio they visit today. We also offer a walking tour of downtown San Antonio. By taking this tour, I can show our city and highlight what makes us unique, share interesting stories, and showcase the historic buildings we have preserved.

After working in the veterans health field for over three decades and trying a few jobs after retirement, I have found being a professional tour guide to be my favorite job. The job is to make people happy, and this positive energy that we create is really special. I also learned a lot about Texas and our city. Living here for 48 years, I have seen our city grow and change, but we must never forget how this city was founded. Working for Cottonwood Wine Tours and Texian Tours, I am fortunate to be able to honor the legacy of people who came here 300 years ago with dreams and hard work. These people of yesterday and those who have come since have contributed to creating a city like no other.

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