A History of My Life (with drinks attached)

Birthdays are good occasions to self assess and to look back, as well as forward. In this case, it is an abbreviated look back.

On the occasion of my 47th birthday…

A Short History of My Life (with drinks)

February 20th, 1963: Born in Marin County, California at roughly 2am and immediately handed over to my parents George & Alverna (Began my association with baby formula)

September 1968: Begins formal education at Lu Sutton Elementary School in Novato, California. Begins what will be 20 years of education. First confirmation by experts that I "work well with others". (Discovers boxed milk and begins to appreciate the importance of serving drinks at the right temperature)

June 1971: Embarks on a 3 month vacation across U.S. in family station wagon and learns there is more to the world than California (Begins a three month love affair with Shasta-Brand root beer taken cold and frosty from the cooler)

May 1972: Enters Little League and immediately discovers that the curve ball my father taught me to throw completely dazzles opposing 10 year-olds, which in turn makes me a coveted prospect among Babe Ruth League coaches. (Introduced to Lime Snack Shack Slushes, which become my go-to drink after baseball games)

May 1977: Has first brush with law when I am discovered to be the ring leader of a band of boys who planted smoke bombs at various locations throughout the Sinaloa Middle School—suspension ensues when fellow gang member rats me out to principle and Novato Fire Chief (Leads to the discovery of alcohol to dull the pain of being caught, which in turn leads to an ugly episode involving vodka, a wheel chair, Cheerios cereal, a corn patch and being sent to my room—will never happily drink vodka again.)

October 1979: Father Dies of colon cancer (Cheap rum and coke consumed from half emptied coke can becomes drink of choice)

April 1983: Finally moves out of house into own apartment after landing first real job as a door to door Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesman. (Immediately begins to collect various cheap wine and spirits to have on hand for guests at new apartment and finds I like to appropriately arrange bottles of alcohol)

September 1985: Moves into the dorms at Humboldt State University and begins studying History, to my great delight (Makes first move into beverage alcohol marketing by finding cheap beer at local discount store, buying multiple cases for the weekend and reselling to underage students in dorm. The profit is satisfying)

July 1989: Marries Valerie Monnier in Belfort, France. (Embarks on month-long honeymoon in which I am exposed to various local wines and spirits in France, Italy and Greece—thereby heightening an already burgeoning academic and personal interest in wines and spirits)

September 1990: After graduating from San Francisco State University with Masters in Diplomatic History, lands first job in the wine industry as an associate at Gracelyn Associates wine PR Firm in Sonoma County where I immediately begin working on the Foppiano Vineyards and Matanzas Creek accounts (Discovers and cultivates an interest in Wine Politics)

January 1994: Leaves Gracelyn Associates to found Wark Communications, a wine PR consultancy run out of a second bedroom in Tiburon Condominium (Begins to seriously collect wine and builds a substantial cache of wines and tasting notes as a result of committing to trying a new bottle of wine every night.)

June 1997: Divorces Valerie and moves to Glen Ellen in Sonoma County (Founds the "Glen Ellen Croquet & Cricket Club", a private social club devoted to annual croquet tournaments and drinking Dry Rose among club members)

September 2000: Marries Ginny Westcott (Begins to appreciate and seek out wines of lower alcohol content because too much 15% cabernet annoys me.)

November 2004: Begins FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog (Takes an interest in well aged California Sauvignon Blanc that leads to an intensive search for and investigation of the aging ability of CA SB and lots of bottles of wine being emptied into the sink)

August 2008: Divorces Ginny Westcott (Begins an intense interest and appreciation of bourbon and spirits in general that will lead to an ongoing interest in mixed drinks, great cocktail lounges and the history of the cocktail)


16 Responses

  1. Jim Caudill - February 19, 2010

    You and Tiger baring your soul on the same day…but in any case, yours is far more interesting, and I wish you the best on your birthday. I will drink an Old Forester Birthday Bourbon in your honor, while listening to a little Chet Baker, maybe some Stan Getz. After the bourbon, if the Sun makes an appearance in Bennett Valley, maybe some Walter Wanderly or Jimmy Smith. All the Best.

  2. Tom Wark - February 19, 2010

    You’re killing me, Jim. I like your plan for my birthday a lot. I’ll think of that Old Forester tomorrow when I make myself a drink to celebrate 47.

  3. Scott - February 19, 2010

    Ah, my birthday tomorrow as well. You have a few years on me in age and drinking wine, but I’m doing what I can to catch up. Anyway, wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed your blog since I discovered it and hope tomorrow is a great day.

  4. Marcia - February 19, 2010

    Happy pre-Birthday, Tom! Croquet – good. Bourbon – good. Less than 15%ABV (more often than not) – good. More FERMENTATION – good. …You are ahead of the game!

  5. Samantha - February 19, 2010

    Well I already did this on facebook, (freaking social media) but, Happy Birthday Tom!! I think Bourbon is yucky so I will NOT be toasting you tomorrow with that but I would be willing to sacrifice my liver for a tipple of Pastis in your honor. The best to you kid.

  6. Kate - February 19, 2010

    I admire your openness – your “15% cabernet annoys me” seals the deal!
    Happy Birthday!!

  7. Beth Scott - February 20, 2010

    Nice blog. You seems to be a great lover of wine. Enjoyed your blog very much. I love to dine with wine. colonialgifts.co.uk

  8. Château du Petit Thouars - February 20, 2010

    I think a nice bottle is in order for your 47th! Have a happy birthday and continue the great blogging!

  9. Charlie Olken - February 21, 2010

    I think Jim Caudill has it.
    Great bourbon and classic jazz.
    Happy birthday. And don’t forget the bubbly. But do not go near that Pastis stuff that Sam loves. How a wonderful person like Sam can drink that vile stuff is just beyond me.

  10. Samantha - February 21, 2010

    This is the first, (and maybe the last) time you will hear me say this, “Do not listen to Charlie”. Tom you and I share a love of that cloudy, “vile stuff”…drink away amigo. Okay, we can all back to listening to Charlie now.

  11. fredfric koeppel - February 22, 2010

    Happy B’day to a man who has experienced life to its fullest. a great post, which we could probably all duplicate in our own autobiographical ways. vodka was also my first taste of alcohol, and the rum and coke thing carries a definite nostalgic tinge.

  12. JohnLopresti - February 22, 2010

    “uncool” probably was said of me, though I had cool friends. After college I spent time in still dictator ruled Spain, where ordering a “Cuba Libre” often was quite a known mixed drink (rum and Coca Cola); however, there were usually eyebrows raised, that somehow it was inappropriate to consume a politically named blended beverage, at least downtown in the capital. I ain’t a white wine person, prefer red distinctive varietals. I can appreciate the disappointment you have reported at 15% cab sauvs. I understand you to mean contemporary CA northcoast cab sauvs., as hotness is a local predilection. Even though when a youthful 21 in MA I learned lots from the various Medocs, and still recognize balance, which they nobly maintained, I continue with unabashed liking for modern CA hots be they reds or whites. In fact, a hot sauv blanc is more efficacious than a balanced one. This is why I skipped sommelier school, studied medieval barter systems, and worked at a prime producer of…sauv blanc on the northcoast, transitorily, and memorably. Happy birthday.

  13. Cheap beer koozies - February 23, 2010

    So great moments ! Happy birthday!

  14. Alice Feiring - March 7, 2010

    Glad I caught up with the drinking and the divorcing and terribly sorry I blanked out on wishing you a very happy birthday.

  15. dental care - April 30, 2010

    That information about drinks attached helps me a lot. do you have more issues abou this theme ?

  16. Dokemion - June 11, 2011

    it’s good to see this information in your post, i was looking the same but there was not any proper resource, thanx now i have the link which i was looking for my research.
    Kind Regards,

Leave a Reply