As I approach year 25th year in the wine business I’m still trying to come up with a simple, on point description as to what I do in the wine industry (my mother still wants to know). Well, here it goes… We’re brokers, merchants, negotiates, promoters & pioneers to small farm artisan winemakers in Napa Valley, Sonoma, & the Northwest Oregon/Washington winegrowing regions. In what order would depend on the day.
Who are our customers? We provide a seamless service from producer to customer. We sell directly to our private referral based client list, “Madison Group”, and to restaurants, café bistros, specialty markets, and wine shops.
Who are our producers? This list constantly evolves. Every tin shed we spot on a wine country back road could be the home of the next “best wine you never heard of…yet.” We’re not wine critics but rather promoters, so 95% of everything we taste won’t make our list only the “must have” wines are delivered via email to your inbox. Our freelance style lends us the ability to keep the hunt going, while reporting back to “the group” with our latest finds. We don’t sit on warehouses of inventory we that we need to sell to survive; but rather tell the story of the latest finds, offer the group a pre-negotiated off market case price, and take delivery of exactly what our group orders & forwards each client their requested order.
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Mark, Susie and Madison
Mark Ellis: Proprietor
I was recruited from the wholesale meat and produce business to wine distribution by a family member in 1994. I started in the deep end of wine, dove in head first selling rare and collectable Bordeaux. When I dipped my nose into that glass of 1986 Mouton Rothschild, I was hooked. Since I worked and lived in Northern California, it was natural to include wines from our backyard in the portfolio. The birth of cult wines and rising star winemakers becoming celebrities in Napa Valley was emerging. Again, it was a wine; Araujo Cabernet 1994 that hooked me! Wine Spectator printed a cover story about the emerging cult wines of Napa Valley and, BOOM! Like a cannon the business took off. It was not just elite cults, but veteran boutique houses i.e. Caymus, Shafer, Joseph Phelps, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, and Chateau Montelena that were releasing absolute stellar wines at comparable quality to value prices. Most importantly, drinkable rather young. Our business evolved with the technology of internet and email- our niche became personal sommelier service to a closed client list (Madison black book), introducing them to the "next best wine you never heard of". We're pushing twenty five years and we're just getting started!
Susie Ellis: Proprietor
Wife of Mark, has owned her own bookkeeping business, Balance Bookkeeping since 1998. She takes care of every bookkeeping detail that has to do with Madison Wine Company. She and Mark just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary in April. Susie's most celebrated accomplishment by far is the namesake of the company and her and Mark's daughter, Madison Ellis.
Madison graduated from Cal Poly of San Luis Obispo, with her Bachelors in Wine and Viticulture . She currently working at Duckhorn Wine Co in Napa Valley, as their Trade & Events Coordinator. She enjoys spending family time in the kitchen, while eating her dad's culinary creations and pairing them with different wine samples.