Mark Guillaudeu, MS

Mark is one or our newest Master Sommelier having passed in September of 2023 and is currently pursuing a Master of Wine with the Institute of Masters of Wine. He earned his WSET Diploma in 2016 and in 2019 was named one of Food & Wine Magazine's 'Best New Sommeliers' as he entered the MW program, enjoying competitive successes along the way that culminated in winning the title "Best Sommelier USA" in June of 2022.  In February of 2023 he represented the USA at the Concours Mondiale (World Championship) in Paris, becoming the first American in history to breach the semi-finals of the grueling competition.  He joined the team at the Wrigley Mansion shortly after and earned his Master Sommelier Diploma that September

Get To Know Mark

Mark Guillaudeu began his career in hospitality on the tail end of graduate school studying Tibetan Buddhism and quickly made his way from Washington, DC to San Francisco and the two Michelin-starred Commis.  He also became an avid San Francisco Wine School student and after passing several programs with honors, a well loved and highly respected San Francisco Wine School instructor.  He currently works for Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix Arizona

What is your favorite wine region to visit?

The striking beauty, genuine people, and world class wines of Austria make it my favorite to return to.  The country gets cast as a two-trick pony (Grüner and Riesling), but there is so much more.


What is your favorite class to teach?

Spanish Wine Scholar - Rioja is one of my desert island wines, and beyond that the region as a whole is undergoing a renaissance of style that makes it one of the toughest places in the world to keep up with, but also one of the most enjoyable.


What's your most memorable wine experience?

I guess I would have to go with the moment that started it all for me - drinking high elevation Malbec at 2am with my mentor, learning that something as simple as the orientation of a vine row could make a recognizable impact on the finished flavor of the wine.  That was the moment where I first realized how deep and incredible the world of wine could be, and I have done my best to not lose that wonder since.  There is a lookout post half-way up the Kellerberg in Dürnstein, and I once enjoyed some aged Kellerberg riesling in the Kellerberg with my partner - magical.


Why did you decide to become an instructor?

I think the burden is on each of us to pay it forward to those who taught us and ensure the next generation has it even better.  Beyond that I have also found that one of the best (and most rewarding) ways to learn is to teach and mentor in turn.


What's the biggest challenge in your job?

Staying fresh and up to date in the constantly evolving world of wine remains the biggest challenge.  It feels like the pace of change has quickened over the last decade, and there are constantly new things to master to provide the best learning environment for my students.


What other passions beside wine do you have?

Probably my favorite thing to do when I have the time is to cook for other people.  The most fun I had during the pandemic was preparing a 7-course meal for my partner's birthday  complete with pairings (because restaurants were still closed).  It was about three straight days of cooking, but I loved every minute of it.


Name some recent wine discoveries that you find exciting.

I keep finding old vine wines from high elevation vineyards around Spain that continue to thrill me - whether from cordon trenazado Listan in Tacoronte-Acentejo or 120 year old bush vine garnacha from way up the mountain in Navarra, these wines continue to delight and thrill me for their quality, complexity, and value.  Beyond that I continue to explore the wines of the old Venetian Republic and Ottoman Empire - some people have a sweet tooth, but umami is where it is at for me and these (whether skin-contacted or not) have been some of the most savory and complex wines I have tasted.


What do you think is the most unappreciated wine or region in the world?

I think the old Soviet Block - especially Hungary and Slovenia - are finally having their day in the sun.  The destructive legacy of communism is finally being stamped out as a new generation, better educated and better equipped than ever before, take the reigns at their family estates.  The treasury of native vines and autochthonous styles certainly helps, too! 

Mark's Favorite Blogs