Mark Bowery: A Brief Biography
Mark Bowery's passion for wine manifested itself early. Tutored by an enthusiastic uncle, he experienced his first blind tasting at the tender age of 14. By his 19th birthday, he had started his own cellar (in his dorm room closet!) and showed all the symptoms of what he now calls “Vino Enthusia Rapturosis."
In 1979, after graduating from California State University, Sonoma with degrees in Business and Psychology, he went to work as a cellarman at Simi Winery in Healdsburg. Under the supervision of wine industry heavyweights Andre Tchelistcheff and Zelma Long, he learned--quite literally--the ins & outs and ups & downs of winemaking.
After a year of working in every aspect of production, he vowed to transform his love of wine into a way of life and set out to become a copywriter specializing in wine. With this goal in mind, he received a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon, where he became enmeshed in that state's newborn wine trade. Bowery escorted author Leon D. Adams through the Oregon wine country as he revised his landmark book, “The Wines of America.”
Then Bowery returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and spent the next three years learning about wine marketing, sales and distribution at McKesson Wine & Spirits. In 1984, he was invited to join Masa's restaurant in San Francisco as its first sommelier. During his four-year tenure, Bowery, described as “engaging and unpretentious” by Gourmet magazine, established an internationally acclaimed wine list that the Wine Spectator called “extraordinary” and “one of the best in the world.”
In 1989, after a 14-month sabbatical and traveling alone throughout Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, Bowery moved to Mendocino and started a modest but successful wine and spirits consulting firm. In addition to maintaining Albion River Inn's award-winning beverage program, he currently appraises private cellars, assists wineries in putting together their final blends, is on a tasting panel that selects products for several of the country's largest and most highly regarded wine clubs, and does the writing for The New York Times Wine Club. He is also proud to be one of a handful of experts from around the world to serve as a judge at the renowned San Francisco International Wine Competition, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, as well as the London-based International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Bowery still loves the ever-humbling sport of blind tasting and is a regular participant at the annual California Wine Tasting Championships. Consistently finishing at the top and described by event organizers as a “perennial champion,” he has won the competition eight times.