About Us

Our passion for wine is something that we are excited to share with every guest. We look forward to joining you on your wine education and experiences.

Tom Ward - Your ATL Vineyard Express Concierge

ATL Vineyard Express is an idea that was brought to life after 25 years in the wine industry, and visiting wineries, by Tom, after a trip to Napa with his friends. It was like a light bulb went off after he had planned the trip, and afterwards hearing that “in the 25 years that I’ve been coming to Napa, this is the best trip I’ve ever had.” That type of feedback started the ball rolling and gave birth to ATL Vineyard Express.

Tom was first bit by the wine bug when he was working at Crown in South Florida. While he was there he was exposed to fine wines while at work. He took an immediate interest in wine, and visited Napa several times through his 20’s and 30’s. He shot a pilot for a wine and food show at Peju in his mid-30’s, and began networking in the wine industry, as well as pouring at tastings for a friend of his that owned a wine shop here in Atlanta. At that point, he started honing his pallet and wine knowledge.

It wasn’t until he started working at Total Wine and More that he had an “ah-ha” moment while he was helping a customer select the perfect wine for his Christmas meal. The customer looked at Tom and said, “So your career is in wine.” That was the deciding moment, and, at that point, Tom decided to learn as much as he could about wine, believing that if he prepared himself and expended his knowledge and professional network, his opportunity for something bigger would occur. He was certified as a Bordeaux expert during this time and passed his certification with a 98% score. Then a friend of his that was a representative for a German winery was leaving his position and recommended Tom to take his place in that role. While Tom was not a huge Riesling fan, he would not let this opportunity pass him up, and was open to what awaited him.

He went to Germany and picked grapes in legendary vineyards in historic Mosel River Valley. He was the National Sales Manager for the Pauly family. They’ve been operating a family winery for several hundred years. They make several labels: Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler; Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler; Peter Nicolay, and many more. While spending time in the Mosel, he fell in love with Riesling and it’s many different styles. It was an eye-opening education, and experience, as he traveled to Germany several times, as well as all over the U.S., selling what was arguably the hardest wine to sell.

After three years on the road, and beginning to plant roots at home, Tom needed a change. Continuing with his wine education, Tom received his level 2 WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) certification, with distinction, the highest merit one could achieve. He thought about what his next step was going to be for a long time, when the idea for ATL Vineyard Express was born.

Tom’s life, knowledge, and passion for wine is something that he is excited to share with every guest that he comes in contact with and looks forward to joining them on their wine education and experiences.

Recent News & Events

Spring Is Here! Now, What Wine Should I Drink?

Spring is upon us and this means more activity, whether it’s time on the water and beach, sidewalk shopping, dining al fresco, or digging in the yard and getting that never ending “to do list” whittled down. With winter coming to an end I tend to shift my pallet to lighter, more crisp wines. Seeing…

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 Getting the best quality wine in an unclear market

After 25 years of working in the wine industry, you’d think that I would pretty much know and have heard everything. You would be wrong. One of the things that I love about wine is that there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new. Which brings me to the point…

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Celebrate with Bubbles

Bubbles are typically what we celebrate with at New Year’s. Some people celebrate with them for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Some other people celebrate days that end with the letter “Y” with bubbles. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of all that. If I am starting an evening, or outing, with someone…

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Dahlonega Plateau AVA – What does this mean?

Dahlonega Plateau AVA – What does it mean The Dahlonega Plateau AVA was created on November 22, 2016 by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). This is great, but what does it mean? I mean, an AVA, so what? Well, I plan to explain it as briefly as possible. I’ll discuss what…

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The Cottage – 2014 Viognier Reserve – Wine Review

The Cottage Wine Tasting – date 2/3/2018 So today was a Saturday, and while I thought about taking the wine shuttle up to the North Georgia wineries, (like Frogtown, Chateau Elan, Three Sisters, Montaluce, The Cottage and/or Wolf Mountain,) I opted to have a few friends over and taste some wine at my house, so…

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Wolf Mountain – Coupage III – Wine Review

Wolf Mountain Wine Tasting – date 2/3/2018 This Wolf Mountain wine was the second wine on our Saturday wine tasting of North Georgia wines. I chose this to taste and review because it was a Bordeaux style blend. Bordeaux is one of my favorite regions and the wines from there have some very distinct characteristics.…

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Frogtown Cellars – ’11 Audacity – Wine Review

Tasting Frogtown Wine – date 2/3/2018 For our third wine on our wine flight I chose something from another benchmark North Georgia winery. Frogtown Cellars is the most awarded winery in the country located outside of California. They and Wolf Mountain are part of the Georgia Fine Wine Alliance. Their wines are almost always “Grown,…

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Jacob Franklin – ’11 Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon – Wine Review

Wine tasting date 2/3/2018 The last wine that I chose for our Saturday tasting was a bonus wine for the group. While we provide wine tours, and personalized North Georgia wine experiences for our guests, we are not doing California tours yet. Stay tuned though. I have been a wine club member with Jacob Franklin…

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