A Shropshire winemaker will be one half of the duo heading up the bar team at the county’s 2019 free-from Frestival event.
Thomas Holt, who lives in Belle Vue, Shrewsbury, began making his wine Paso-Primero after more than 10 years in the winemaking industry.
While the wine is made in Spain, Thomas, who works in partnership with his wife Emma, is definitely a Shrewsbury lad.
He grew up in Pontesbury and attended the Mary Webb School in Pontesbury.
He will be stocking the bar at Frestival alongside Darren Tomkins of Gindifferent, the hugely successful gin bar in Shrewsbury’s Market Hall.
“I got my start in the wine industry working for Tanners Wines in Shrewsbury,” said Thomas.
“Spending my days surrounded by their incredible portfolio of wines had a huge impact on me and convinced me that I wanted to travel the world, learning how to make it.”
Tom said he thinks it is vitally important that producers educate their customers as much as possible.
“Not in a patronising way but in a way that helps people make better decisions the next time they are buying wine,” he adds.
“Frestival is a fantastic opportunity to explain to people that not all wines are suitable for vegans but ours are!
“The main 'free-from' aspect to our wine is the fact that it is completely free of animal products and additives derived from dairy.
“These are surprisingly common in wine production and a lot of mass market wines will be using products not suitable for vegans and vegetarians.”
Thomas said he wanted to support Frestival to help provide consumers with more information about the wine they are buying.
He said: “Whether this is dietary advice, environmental advice or simply helping people understand why one product costs more and where that extra money is going.
“I'm discovering the benefits of free-from diets all the time. My wife is utilising a vegetarian, non-dairy diet as the basis for her food choices and I’ve found huge benefits to myself by having an allium free diet.
“These have both been developed through self-diagnosis so it'll be great to be involved in Frestival and uncover more options and answers.”
Tom also said he hopes visitors to Frestival will make sure to visit the bar.
“Hopefully everyone will find wines that above all else are very, very drinkable!
“We try not to complicate the wine making process because we’re using fantastic fruit from the vineyard so all of our wines are fruit focused, soft, round, vibrant and easy going. Definitely the sort of wine that will make you want to have a second glass!”
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