About us

Tim Cowley, an ex-professional rugby player from New Zealand made the leap to Europe in 2003. So much for a year abroad. His appetite for travel grew and grew.

After retiring from rugby in 2012 he decided to follow his passion for wine, travel, and the French culture. Bordeaux was the perfect place to capture all of this. Boasting a nearby coastline, amazing wine and 1000’s of vineyards to go with it, great food, and a classic french culture full of history, Tim did the first ever tour in an old car he borrowed from a mate and Rustic Vines was born.

Meet the team

Tim Cowley

Founder & Guide

The expat from New Zealand who fell in love with France and thought it would be a good idea to show other people exactly what he fell in love with. Rustic Vines was born.

Pascaline Hamel

Administration & Marketing

The passionate Normandy girl who has adopted Bordeaux like her own. Has the longest to-do list of any of us.

Holly Simonnet

Wine Tour Guide

St Emilion's only Australian resident, Holly loves Yoga and strolling in the vines. She guides tours in her own back yard and also keeps things running smoothly for our E-Bike Tours

Hélene Louys

Wine Tour Guide & Communication

The former actress whose side talent is baking delicious cookies. Thought it would be a good idea to study Wine Marketing in Bordeaux. Smart move, we all win.

Thomas Dos Santos

Marketing & Guide

The Bordeaux local who at just 26 has an underground cellar of his own. Helps to spread the good word about Rustic Vines.

We look forward to meeting you soon.