Mark Davis grew up in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. (not exactly wine country). As the son of an engineer, he had a propensity for science. This eventually led him to study chemical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. While there, he began experimenting with home brewing beer as well as home winemaking. This sparked an interest in fermentation science that, unbeknownst at the time, would lead him to his future career path.
Upon graduating, Mark began a career as a chemical engineer working for the Department of Defense at the Adelphi Army Research Laboratory outside Washington, D.C. However, not long after starting work at the Army Research Lab, it became apparent that this was not the career path he longed for, or was passionate about. During a random internet search, he discovered you could intern at wineries and that you could even get you degree in winemaking. After months with no responses, one winery in California invited Mark to work a harvest. Mark gave his two weeks notice , packed his car, and headed west.
Upon completion of his first harvest at the aforementioned small winery in the Central Valley, Mark returned to Maryland, decided to pursue his winemaking dream further, and applied to the prestigious viticulture and enology program at UC Davis. Mark was ultimately accepted and after a few months of night classes to complete prerequisites and working back at the Army research lab (he was invited back until school began), Mark headed back across the country to the town of Davis, California to begin school once more.
After two years of schooling, Mark graduated with high honors from UC Davis and received the department citation for outstanding achievement in viticulture and enology. UC Davis provided Mark with a scientific background and understanding of the intricacies of winemaking and viticulture. It was now time to apply that knowledge and learn from experiences with winemakers out the field.
Upon graduating, Mark worked several harvests throughout northern California, including harvests at Saintsbury, Franciscan, and Twomey. He also worked a harvest in Australia at the renowned Balnaves of Coonawarra winery (learning from winemaker Pete Bissell) as well as a harvest in the famous Stellenbosch growing region of South Africa. This diversity of harvests provided exposure to a broad range of winemaking techniques, which Mark now includes in his own winemaking process.
As well as handling every aspect for the Cobden Wini label, Mark is also the winemaker at O’Brien Estate Winery in Napa. There he works alongside consulting winemaker, David Yorgensen, helping to produce stellar wines under the O’Brien label. Mark continues to learn everyday and strives to make the best wines possible while still making sure to have fun every step along the way.