About Mark Phillips

WineTasting.org was founded by Mark Phillips, a Professional Wine Swallower. Way back in 1993, he realized that the way wine was taught was incorrect and misguided. Wine book authors, sommeliers and wine critics had it all wrong. All wine books and sommelier certification programs were based on the misguided Traditional Approach that is basically the experts setting the rules about wine.

So he created a new approach to wine called the Progressive Approach; the first alternative approach in the history of wine. The Progressive Approach is consumer-centric and practical making wine fun and less intimidating.


A PBS Executive discovered his Progressive Approach and asked him to do a show for PBS that ended up airing for six years and became the most watched wine show ever. 

He's taught tens of thousands of people about wine over the last 25 years, over 4000 people in Phoenix in just two years. He is the author of Swallow This that hit #1 on Amazon and now the second edition is out with updated and new information.

Mark is happy to speak to your group about wine. His fun and engaging presentations are always a big hit. Here are a couple of clips from his PBS show. Clip 1  Clip 2  His speaking fee ranges from $500 - $7000 depending on the time involved and any travel fees are extra. Below are some of the more popular options and some references from past clients.

Feature Presentation - Overview of Wine
Mark presents his Progressive Approach to lay bare the “truths” about wine, debunking what other wine experts have taught who adhere to the Traditional Approach to wine. The talk is both eye-opening and entertaining and is the basis for Mark’s PBS show. Topics covered are: the benefits of microwaving wine, freezing wine, putting wine in Tupperware, the proper serving temperature, proper wine storage and much more. Whether the audience is made up of novices or wine experts, the information will be interesting and valuable to both. No wine is necessary but it’s always more fun with wine. The talk can be 30-120 minutes depending on your needs.

Blind Tasting Competition
This option is best for groups that want more interaction between the guests. It contains less general wine information. Instead the focus is on tasting wine. This option has a shorter talk, maybe 20 - 30 minutes that people could actually stand through followed by a reception-style blind tasting. Two wines are tasted during the lecture. The blind tasting has 8 wines. The wines are poured into numbered pitchers. The guests get a handout with the names of the wines along with tasting notes to help them guess the wine. The goal is to match the wines in the pitchers to the list on their handout. Guests work in teams and prizes can be awarded. Everyone has a great time mingling and working together to guess the wines. Participants are surprised how well they do and how much they learn just from tasting wine. Following the tasting, the answers will be given and then Mark will share a few helpful tips on wine. 10 bottles of wine are needed for each multiple of 20 people. Typically takes 60-120 minutes.

Tasting Wine Like a Pro
What is more intimidating than describing wine? Are you supposed to use all those crazy adjectives used by wine writers? This presentation will focus on how to taste wine like the pros. The guests will learn the different styles or wine, how to describe it, how to communicate to a wine shop salesperson and much more. Once the guests finish this class, they’ll have the confidence on how to describe wine, how to order wine off of a restaurant wine list and the knowledge to buy wine they like. 6-10 wines are needed for every multiple of 15 people. 90 or 120 minute versions.

Informal Wine Tasting
If the wine tasting is not the main reason people are coming to the event, often this works best. Mark stands at a table and pour a selection of wines, six typically. Guests can ask questions about wine if they desire. This way, non-wine folks don’t have to sit through a wine program and can visit with others. The competitive aspect can be incorporated into this option by have the attendees guess the prices of the wines or complete a fun wine quiz that Mark provides. Wines tbd. 30. 60, 90 or 120 minute versions.

Sommelier Services Package
Add a whole new dimension to your next reception or dinner event! Mark will bring his inimitable combination of education and entertainment to your event to create a memorable experience for your guests. Typically, Mark will work with the planner or client directly to select wines from the specific venue's wine list that fulfill the budgetary requirements and pair beautifully with the selected food items. Mark also provides custom table top signage and interacts with guests for the duration of the event. 60, 90 or 120 minute versions.



Just a Few Comments from Clients


For the past few years, Mark Phillips has done one of his wine tasting programs for the attorneys in my office.  I can say, without a doubt, that this is the most well attended event year after year.  He is charismatic, engaging, and really knows how to read the crowd so that he is able to get everyone involved.  Even the attorneys who have participated year after year still ask when "the wine guy" is coming back.
Jennifer King - Cooley, Godward, Kronish

Mark Phillips brings wine education and enjoyment to a whole new level with excitement and humor for all. He entertained and educated our new and renewing top donors at a fabulous, elegant gourmet dinner and then followed it up the next day with a blind wine tasting event in our TV studio for a casual group of new and current members. Attendees raved about the light-hearted, information rich presentations and totally enjoyed the delightful and witty humor that he mixes in. Mark is easy to work with and gave it his all from our first conversation. We reached a new audience with his events and have new members to prove it.”
Christine A. Hause - WGCU PBS TV

We had the opportunity to host our client, a major international telecommunications company, back in September for a dinner and wine tasting with the purpose of solidifying our relationship with this client and furthering discussions around multiple consulting opportunities. We engaged Mark Phillips as our keynote speaker and were truly delighted with his presentation and easygoing style for such an intimidating subject. He took ownership of the event's success before the night began: he met with the catering staff of the hotel to ensure the presentation and wines were carefully handled. He did not leave anything to chance and his professionalism and dedication to our event's success was realized. What we most enjoyed was Mark’s colorful descriptions of wine tasting and the affect in can have on people; He made it fun and we'd do it all over again using him as our speaker.
Christina Vipond, IBM

 Thank you letters:

The client appreciation event was a huge hit because you are such an engaging and entertaining speaker.  You took the snob aspect out of tasting wine and made it fun.  This was the reason that I searched for you after seeing your show on PBS. Our clients still talk about how much they enjoyed your presentation.
Lisa R. Featherngill - Heritage Wealth Advisors

Your wine tasting program was a big hit.  In fact, many of our lawyers are still talking about it! The talk was informative and very entertaining.  Everyone in attendance raved about the event.  An audience of lawyers can be intimidating but you read the group and adjusted your presentation to fit the mood and the crowd.  I enjoyed working with you and we intend to invite you back to the firm for future events. You get a perfect score of 10 from me.  
Tom Rodriguez – Spriggs & Hollingsworth

Thank you so much for joining us and leading the blind tasting.  It was a total blast and everyone enjoyed it very much.  I have gotten so many thanks from my colleagues, who really had a great time.  So thank you. Thank you!
Peggy Henderson – International Finance Corporation

Besides the fact that I was already sold on your performance BEFORE your arrival, the fact that my boss (co-owner of the vineyard) had the "best time ever drinking wine" is the end all.
Julia Zimmerman – White Fences Vineyards

Thanks for such a fantastic event - we truly enjoyed every part of your discussion and are still talking about such things as the "nose", wine in a microwave etc. You were so right about having the right speaker - it made all the difference. You got rated an overwhelming 5 on a scale of 1-5 and everyone, bar none, gave you a high-5!  Congratulations and thanks again for a wonderful session.

Arun Sardana – Morgan Stanley

I received so many great compliments about you and your presentation.  I really appreciate your taking time to stay around to talk with us. You and your presentation were exactly as I had hoped!!!  It was awesome!
Beth Adeson – ITT

I just wanted to let you know how well I thought the tasting went on Saturday night. We received numerous compliments on the format for the evening and your presentation in particular.  We will not hesitate to recommend you to our partner companies and others.
Linda Grote – Tiger Team Consulting

Thank you very much for putting on such a fun and presentation last Saturday night. I still continue to receive compliments on how professional, informative and light hearted the night was. Again, thank you for helping make it such a success. You can chalk me up as another individual who will personally push your services.
Matt Pettinelli – CapGrow Partners

After my husband and I stumbled across your program on PBS, we became huge fans!  Completely amused and educated all at once!  I came to work raving about your show and how we were entertained by your unique way of teaching us common folk about wine. So it was such a thrill to have you come and speak to our team. You’re even better in person and you were a huge hit!
Karen McGlamery – Capital One

Thanks so much for your presentation. You were very engaging and made learning about wine fun and entertaining.  I learned many helpful skills in the art of tasting wine that I'll remember forever. I've been to wine tastings before, but this was the first time I have not been intimidated by the experience. We really appreciated your relaxed, down-to-earth style.
Gerry Stanton, Director of Meetings, Capital One

I would like to take the opportunity to extend a very heartfelt thank you for your participation and presentation at this year’s Michigan Wine Expo.  As you know this was our first year event and it was an outstanding success.  Much of this success was the result of your presentations and the attendees’ familiarity with you from you PBS Special. We did have a chance to talk to quite a few attendees who came specifically to hear your witty and educational seminar.  Post show comments continue to resonate and we have already been asked to make sure that you come back next year for the event.  Mark your knowledge of wine, combined with the wit and easy-going style, make you one of the most popular speakers we’ve worked with in our 17 years of promoting shows.
Todd Smith, President, Show Promotions, Inc.