JZ “The Wine Tour Guy”
John Ziegler – Host and wine tour “Rocket Scientist”
Since 2005 I’ve been actively doing wine tours in SB and SLO Counties, and have done over 2,000 wine tours on the Central Coast. Being a first-call limo driver for high end boutique hotels like Santa Ynez Inn, Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, Hadsten House, Hotel Corque, Four Seasons Biltmore, and Bacara for many years kept my service skills well honed. I’ve done well over 500 wine tours in Santa Barbara County alone. My reputation has developed around planning high end wine tours with savvy, serious about wine clientele, plus my skills at delivering great wine experiences on the fly. Gradually my focus began to shift to small production, high quality boutique wineries. In 2009 I started freelancing my own tours as JZ Wine Tour Guy. This was at the midpoint of a 10-year staff writing gig with Pacific Coast Sportfishing Magazine, Newport Beach CA. Technical writing at a manufacturing company in Paso Robles brought me to North San Luis Obispo County in 2012. I immediately fell back into the limo thing after running into a winemaker friend who recommended me to a local transportation company.
I’ve been on the Central Coast since the early ’70’s. Attended Alan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria, and Cal Poly. Back then I was living in Avila Beach (my folks thought I would never leave). At the end of my college career I went to work for a Hollywood movie filming in Avila- California Dreaming. I ended up as Second Assistant Director, had a fair amount of screen time surfing, plus a nice wad of cash to go traveling. After the movie wrapped I found a ride to Tahiti, and cruised the South Pacific with sailing icon Ernie Minnie. A corporate period followed working as a rep for mega office product manufacturers Fellowes (Bankers Box), and what has now become Avery Label, to make enough money to buy a boat that could take me to the Channel Islands for multi-day surfing, fishing and diving adventures. My love of the ocean eventually brought me round to building boats at a well-known boatyard in Santa Barbara, where I grew up, and writing about boat-related topics. Being on the water surfing, fishing or diving at a distant secluded island remains my other passion besides doing great wine tours.
Fast forward through life, and here I am in Paso, lovin’ doing my wine tour thing- 17 years now. My main source of leisure outside of BBQ-in’ and enjoying wine is playing in a studio band down in SLO every Tuesday with a bunch of guys who’ve been playing together for over 10 years- some since college. I had the Harley for a few years- the photo’s still up because I like it. Reminds me why I live here. My home is just east of Creston in manzanita and digger pine-dotted high desert. I love living in North County.
JZ shares stories of his many years driving notables, who lived on or visited the Central Coast: Tales of a Central Coast Limo Driver