Tom Wark began his career as a wine marketer and publicist in 1990. In 1994 he opened his own consultancy, Wark Communications, which serves small and medium-sized wineries and wine-related companies with media, communications and marketing services.
A native of Northern California and transplant to Oregon, Wark’s initial foray into wine began in 1970 when he, in a curious mood, pulled a jug of Sebastiani Red off the top shelf of his mother’s pantry and accidentally deposited the contents on to her recently waxed kitchen floor. Despite the negative impact this first foray had on the floor and his mental state, his interest in wine never waned. Upon graduating with a Masters in Diplomatic history 20 years later, he entered the wine industry.
Over the years, Wark has tried to be a forceful advocate for wine consumers’ rights as well as the rights of wineries and retailers to legally access a marketplace overrun by special interest and protectionist legislation that barred legitimate reforms to an alcohol distribution system he and others see as archaic and unfair. His involvement in these issues led Mike Steinberger of Slate Magazine to describe him as the wine world’s first wine muckraker. In his role as an advocate, Tom has also served as Executive Director of the National Association of Wine Retailers since 2007.
Some of that work of advocating for change in the wine industry has been done through his writing at FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog, where he has been publishing daily on issues of wine politics, the wine industry, the wine media, wine marketing and the culture of wine since 2004. An advocate of wine blogging, Wark founded the Wine Blog Awards in 2007 and helped launch the first Wine Bloggers Conference in 2008. In 2011 FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog won Best Overall Blog and Best Industry/Business Blog at the Wine Blog Awards, which was followed by the award for Best Industry/Business Blog in 2014. Wark has also been invited to speak at numerous wine industry events across the country and moderated numerous panel discussion on issues of wine marketing, media relations, wine blogging, writing and regulatory affairs. In 2019 Wine Industry Advisor named Wark one of the Wine Industry’s Most Inspiring People. In 2020, Wine Business Monthly named Wark one of the Wine Industry Leaders, Changemakers and Influencers.
Tom Wark lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with his wife, Kathy Berez, their son Henry George and their Italian Greyhound Louis B. Shrimperton III.