Hospitality Sales Manager

Tom Markakis, Hospitality Sales ManagerI started drinking wine at the age of nine. My parents immigrated from Greece and Italy and so wine was always a part of our dinner – albeit mixed with 7-Up for me and my sisters! We had home cooked suppers in the evening at our kitchen table, and never watched television while eating, which made me feel isolated from my “American friends” as my father would call them and created some hubbub when I was offered packaged food and milk at other households. This laid the foundation for my love of the dining experience and the place that wine, food, music, and conversation play in it. Of course, there is a time and place for everything, so it’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed a pizza and a cheap bottle of Chianti while watching the Simpsons.

I began working off the books as a child in our family-owned diners around the Chicagoland area and when I turned sixteen, I acquired my first paying job at a pizza parlor in the suburbs, which deepened my connection to wine and food, and kindled a passion for service and hospitality. Although I earned a bachelor’s degree in literature and journalism from Columbia College in Chicago, it was the restaurant industry that sustained me as I pursued my artistic passions in several cities, including Seattle, New York, and San Francisco.

I came to the Napa Valley in the summer of 2005 to explore my interest in wine education. My experience at fine establishments such as Morton’s Steakhouse, The Bubble Lounge and The Buckeye Roadhouse, as well as my creative approach to presenting wine education, quickly lead me to leadership and educational roles at Domaine Carneros and then Constellation Brands where I was fortunate to spend several years at Robert Mondavi Winery in an educational and management role.

I have been the Estate Sommelier and Education Manager at St. Supéry Winery in Rutherford and helped launch their tasting lounge in Beverley Hills, which was an industry first. I have contributed my creative and operational talents to Silverado Vineyards in Napa, Vine Dining in Sonoma, Paradise Springs Winery in Santa Barbara, Calcareous Vineyard in Paso Robles and as an adjunct Wine Instructor for The Culinary Institute of America in California.

I have an advanced certification with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET III). I am also a member of the Society of Wine Educators (CSW) and a certified sommelier (CS). I am currently the Hospitality Sales Manager and cellar curator for Michael Mondavi Family Wines, where I continue to create memorable experiences through the power of wine, food, and hospitality.