GUSTO, a wine education and event planning organization here in Texas, is opening up pedi-cab wine and food pairing tours in Austin, Houston, and Dallas this week. Like a roving multi-course meal, the tours take guests to three restaurants and offer three pairings designed by local sommeliers.
I met this week with Daniel Kelada, founder and president of GUSTO, to talk about the organization, and the upcoming tours. Articulate, motivated, and an ever-flowing fountain of ideas, Daniel shared with me his vision for GUSTO.
“What is the GUSTO experience? A community of shared knowledge. It relies on education.” When I first looked at the GUSTO website, I was a little confused about the focus of their organization. Travel and events and tastings and classes? But speaking with Daniel helped clarify the overarching theme: connecting education and educators in a fun and unique way. He said he had been in event planning for five years and started to feel that every wine event ran along the same lines. “There was no connection between what I was hearing, tasting, and what to take away from it. We have the change to connect the dots, and take things they can use in other wine experiences- at events or on their own.” GUSTO works to do this in a variety of different ways, offering events for all levels of wine enthusiasts, from beginners who just want to learn more, to sommeliers looking for opportunities to share their knowledge and gain more experience.
And that connection between educator and wine enthusiasts is certainly a part of the pedicab tours. When a tour is booked, the GUSTO team takes care of all the behind-the-scenes arrangements: making reservations, preparing gift-certificates, and crafting food and wine pairings. At each of the three restaurants, couples receive a gift card for $30 and a proposed pairing sheet for that particular location. The sheets are just a suggestion and guests can order whatever they want within that $30 budget, or they can go over if they like and pay the difference. With three different restaurants, guests get to savor three unique courses and enjoy a break between each with a ride through town on the back of a pedicab. The tours run Tuesday through Sunday and change every day, rotating between restaurants in town.
We joined GUSTO last night on their very first Austin tour. As a cyclist, sommelier, and enthusiastic eater, I was excited for the adventure. We started at Haddingston’s Tavern at 6:30pm, where we enjoyed some wine; rode with Metrocycle Pedicabs to Uncorked Tasting Room Bar, to experience another treat; then caught a ride to Mulberry Wine Bar for our last course. Stay tuned to see what we learned and experienced!
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