As an English teacher, Mark was delighted and amazed when the owner of a wine magazine first contacted him and offered to pay him to write about wine. Getting paid to write, he had been assured in college, was unlikely. Mark’s first full-length publication about wine, The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries: How the Judgment of Paris Put California Wine on the Map, is essentially a history of the Napa Valley and an exploration of how a wine tasting in 1976 changed the world forever. Below is some additional information about Mark’s involvement in the wine industry, through writing as well as other endeavors.LEARN MORE
Bar 25 Reserve
Bar 25 is the Gudgel family brand, the brand associated with the Gudgel Ranch. The inaugural vintage of Bar 25 Reserve was a blend of 95% Cab Sauv sourced from Spring Mountain in Napa, and 5% Petit Verdot from Stag’s Leap. The wine was made my Mark’s friend, Tom Meadowcroft, and features a photograph taken by family friend Pat Wendt at the Gudgel Ranch.
Field Club Series
In partnership with Field Club of Omaha, the country club where Mark occasionally golfs poorly and takes his children to the pool, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc were released under the Gudgel Ranch label. The wines were made by Tom Meadowcroft. The labels feature a stylized image of Field Club and are served as the house wine in the club’s restaurant.
Napa Valley Guide
Early in 2022, Mark read every guidebook he could find to the Napa Valley, and he found that they all had one thing in common: they were bad. Really bad. Some were too short. Some were wildly eccentric. Many were inaccurate. Some were laser-focused on one aspect of the valley and overlooked the complexities and nuance that make Napa amazing. So, Mark decided to write a guide, a good guide, a complete guide, to the Napa Valley.
Mark proposed the project to a large international publisher of guidebooks who offered him a contract. It was the worst contract he’d ever seen (and that’s saying something). So Mark decided to self-publish the guide. His goal is to gather data in 2023, and release it in 2024. The guide will include itineraries, histories, and features. It will also contain every winery, restaurant, lodging, and activity Mark can find.
One of Bella Spurrier’s seven original photographs of the Judgment of Paris
Mark’s current research has him working in Sarajevo, studying the Siege of Sarajevo. While in the area, Mark takes breaks to appreciate Balkan wines–those wines from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Herzegovina, and others. Mark has found that the wines of this region are exceedingly diverse, remarkably affordable, and, most importantly, of excellent quality. Mark is casually making a study of Balkan wines, and would love to talk your ear off about them anytime you like.LEARN MORE
Napa Valley Life Magazine
Mark is a regular contributor to Napa Valley Life Magazine, where his work focuses on the wine industry and he takes pride in supporting boutique producers. Please reach out to the publication if you are interested in having Mark write about your wines or winery for Napa Valley Life.LEARN MORE