“We’re the largest wine tour company with the smallest size groups,” exclaims the perennially jovial Tyler Tomblin, co-owner of Stagecoach Wine Tours. “I’ve been known for throwing great parties,” he confesses, “so running this wine tour company fits that part of my personality.”
Tyler is a familiar face to so many of us Santa Barbarans. He was the manager of the Isla Vista Surf Shop years ago, then owned The Art Den gallery on Anacapa Street, and, for many years, would do the worm up and down State Street during the Summer Solstice Parade. It was while working at the surf shop in the early 1990s that he met Eric John Reynolds. They forged a friendship eventually spawned Stagecoach, which started in 2003 right as the Sideways phenomenon was about to explode. “The tastings were free,” he remembers of those good old days.
Consistency is key to the success of Stagecoach, whose employees are all trained on Wine and Spirit Education Trust curriculum. “We call ourselves wine experts for we’re out there seven days a week,” says Tyler, who focuses on the educational aspect of the wine tour. “We’re trying to change the perspective from it being a drinking fest. We encourage our pourings to happen at a table instead of standing at a bar. It engages people.”
A happy family man these days, Tyler recently built a treehouse for his kids. “My life is all about my kids now,” he says. “I’m more introspective now.”
Tyler Tomblin answers the Proust Questionnaire.
Who makes you laugh the most?
My business partner, Eric John Reynolds. We talk most days about work, family, and life but we are always looking to get a laugh out of each other because that should be our baseline.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I cannot pick just one. I gravitate towards inventors: Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Nikola Tesla. I love out of the box thinkers.
What do you like most about your job?
I love to entertain and create memorable experiences. I cherish the special moments that we create and the connections we make with people. Plus, what’s better than wine, food, and travel?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Vacationing with my family and filling the moments with exploration, love, and laughter.
What is your greatest fear?
Wasting time. It is so precious and it goes so quickly. I fear not making the most of what I have in the time that I have.
Who do you most admire and why?
I admire my wife, for her commitments and her willingness to always give it her best. She is selfless in many ways. She makes me a better person.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Fine wine. I spend way too much on wine, but it serves a useful purpose in creating cherished moments with friends and family.
What is your current state of mind?
Eager. I cannot wait for what tomorrow brings. Everyday is different and holds new challenges and new adventures.
What is the quality you most like in people?
Niceness. It refreshing when people are nice to others in this crazy world.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Apathy. Especially when it comes to education of their children. It frustrates me when parents don’t get involved in their child’s school or homework. Also, reading to your young child is one of the best things you can do for them.
What do you most value in friends?
Loyalty and honesty. I believe that true friends will always have your back.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Creativity, I love to be able to spontaneously harvest creative energy and try new approaches to things.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing, but I say “I love you!” to family and friends a lot!
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to play multiple instruments. I love to listen and dance to music and interpret others music, but I would love to be able to create it as an expression of myself too.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I am stubborn. Once I have made up my mind that is it. Even it was the wrong decision I choose to live with the consequences.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That would have to be my children. They are my legacy and gift to the world. I instill my best traits in them.
Where would you most like to live?
I have found my place in the world. It is in Santa Barbara. I love to travel but there isn’t anything better than coming home.
What is your most treasured possession?
My wife would tell you it is my iPhone. I tend to always have it in my hand.
What is your motto?
Do your best, but always try to do better next time.
On what occasion do you lie?
When my kids ask about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I wonder when and how they will discover the truth.