Thomas grew up in Concord, CA where he graduated from 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. This experience motivated him to become a tour guide in college, and eventually a wine educator. In 2001, Thomas took over the company Beau Wine Tours; where he is still President and CEO today. After being an avid collector of California cult wines for over 15 years, Thomas began a new venture in 2012; Sire Estate.
Georgia Nichols 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 at Beau Wine Tours. During her early induction into wine, 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 enjoys raising her two daughters in Napa Valley, and enjoying the wine country lifestyle.
Julien Fayard gained his knowledge and defined his core winemaking style from working at some of the top first-growth chateaus in France, such as Lafite Rothschild and Smith Haut Lafitte. In Napa Valley, he’s worked alongside renowned winemaker Philippe Melka for several years. During his tenure with Melka, he had come to be a Napa Valley veteran, working with some of the most highly acclaimed and sought after wines from Napa Valley; including Lail Vineyards, Gemstone, Dalla Valle, and more. His philosophy is to produce wines that express pure, terroir-driven specificities and characteristics. He believes that as a winemaker, one doesn’t control the wine but rather wine style is the result of a combination of soil, climate and vineyard management. Wine style is a combined expression of the fruit, soil, vines and climate.
“As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of it’s place, it’s history and it’s uniqueness. That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity. “
Julien is an entrepreneur with an acute business savvy of the wine industry. He’s is completing his MBA from top ranking Davis University in Entrepreneurship and Business. He brings a dynamic background of quality wine production, business management, winery development and infrastructure.
Julien met his wife Elan in France while she was studying abroad in the Loire Valley. They moved to Napa Valley after marrying in Provence in 2005. Julien is also the owner/winemaker of Azur, Empreinte & Covert Estate.