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Meet the grapestompers Gang

"Crazy" Tom Burgiss

Tom Burgiss -'Crazy' Tom - hard at work"Crazy" Tom didn't originally plan to be a winemaker, but his training and 40-year career as a pharmacist certainly helped prepare him for his current position as "Doctor Wine" of both grapestompers and Thistle Meadow Winery. Tom's skills as a wine mixologist are legendary in the hills of North Carolina.

Tom first began making wine in 1996 after a visit to Victoria, British Columbia where he discovered the art of making wine at home in small quantities. Over the years, Tom has made hundreds of batches of wine, and he's an expert at tweaking a wine to fit the most discriminating palate. His favorite wine to drink is Beaujolais, because he says it's good for the heart. Tom lives just up the road from the grapestompers warehouse and adjoining winery in Laurel Springs with his wife Nancy. Tom has converted his old family farmhouse (circa 1899) to a mountaintop bed and breakfast.


(left to right) - Mitchell Wyatt and James Hines Our warehouse is run by James Hines, the hard-working packer and shipper that get your orders out to you.

Mitchell lives in Sparta, NC and has been with grapestompers since 2009. He also helps out with wine tastings at Thistle Meadow Winery and works lots of the wine festivals as well.

James also lives in Sparta with his wife Joy. James came on board with grapestompers in 2007, and knows our inventory like the back of his hand.


Pam WyattPam Wyatt has been with grapestompers since 2005 and says it's the best job she's ever had. Pam tries her best to keep Tom in line but it doesn't always work... that would be a full time job by itself!

She answers the phone, takes orders, creates free personalized wine labels for our customers, publishes our monthly winemaking newsletter called "The Stomper" and orders items for our gift shop.

Pam lives in Mouth of Wilson, VA with husband Paul and sons Cory and Adam.


Don MabeThistle Meadow Winery's new winemaker is Don Mabe. Don is a lifelong resident of Laurel Springs. Don has been a member of the Laurel Springs Volunteer Fire department for 6 years and is also a Medical Responder.

Don has one son, Brian, who is a police officer in Alleghany County.



Ginny and Karen

Ginny and Karen (left to right)"The Wine Girls" as we call them are Ginny Absher and Karen Vinski. They run the tasting room at Thistle Meadow Winery and also help out at grapestompers when things get crazy.

Ginny lives in Laurel Springs. Karen also lives in Laurel Springs with her husband Joe.




Tom and Rosie, the winery dogLast, but not least, our "gang" would not be complete without Rosie, our rescue winery dog. Rosie has been living with Tom and Nancy since 2008 and spends a lot of time in the grapestompers gift shop office right by Tom's side. She especially hates rainy days but loves Tom and dog treats!

Her favorite pastime is racing Tom home after work each day. She runs up the meadow while Tom drives along Elk Knob Road.

The grapestompers gang

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you for many years to come.