London Black Cabs Expand Into California Wine Country

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    Oct 19, 2012
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The Northern Californian winery, Anselmo Vineyards, is adding a touch of British class to its wine tours with two restored black cabs. The winery is partnering with First Class Shuttle to provide unique, chartered wine tours of the Inwood valley Viticultural Area. 29,000 acres in the vicinity of Shingletown, CA have recently joined such noteworthy areas as Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley on the federal list of American Viticultural Areas.

Several wineries are included in the Inwood valley Viticultural Area and will be featured in the First Class Shuttle’s new wine tour service, Anselmo Vineyards and Lassen Peak Winery among them. According to Eric Vickery, who co-owns First Class Shuttle, customers will be able to start their wines tours at whichever vineyard strikes their fancy, ending the tour at Anselmo Vineyards, which also has guest rooms and a restaurant. The London black cabs will join First Class Shuttle’s limousine to transport wine tour customers. The charter service will charge by the hour, with a two-to-three hour minimum booking.

First Class Shuttle started in 2009 with an airport taxi service between Redding, CA and Sacramento International Airport. Since then, the company has expanded to include charter services to American football games in San Francisco and “Black Friday” shopping trips to the Roseville Galleria. Business seems to be going well for First Class Shuttle, which runs three vans per day between Redding and Sacramento. Vickery hopes the partnership with Anselmo Vineyards will be another fruitful venture for First Class Shuttle.

What prompted the purchase of circa-1985 Heathrow Taxis for wine tour services? The owner or Anselmo Vineyards, Reverge Anselmo, explained that when he was beginning his world explorations, he always found traveling in a Heathrow Airport Taxi reassuring. Anselmo wants wine tour customers to enjoy the same feelings of comfort and security he experienced with Heathrow Airport Taxis, as they venture into America’s newest wine country.

The two vintage London cabs were purchased and shipped to America in February. According to Krista Buckel, spokeswoman for Anselmo Vineyards, each taxi cost the winery approximately $50,000. Dan Laughlin Customs did the restoration, including new black paint and the addition of the Anselmo Vineyards logo.

Buckel explained that the cabs will be a great option for small parties of up to four people and that they may also serve for special events such as weddings. First Class Shuttle is basically leasing the refurbished London taxis from Anselmo Vineyards. The two companies are still ironing out the details of their business arrangement and hope to be offering the new service starting in mid-October.

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