Throughout his childhood in Louisiana, Fertel was surrounded by fine wines and exquisite cuisine. He earned his degree in Chemistry at Louisiana State University, as his paternal grandmother had done before him, but it was this lifelong appreciation for the world of food and wine that then led him to California.
There he worked as a harvest intern for renowned wineries such as Peachy Canyon Winery and Frank Family Vineyards, all while pursuing his masters in Crop Science and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
With multiple vintages under his belt, including harvest, cellar and vineyard work in both California and Burgundy, France, Fertel took a position as an Enologist at Frank Family Vineyards of Napa Valley in Calistoga where he focused on the production of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
After four years there he moved on to work as Harvest Winemaker for Wildhorse Vineyards in Templeton.
In February 2017, Thomas joined Turn Key Wine Brands as the Blending Winemaker bringing experience in both the science and the application of winemaking to the team.