About Me

Me, training for the Advanced Sommelier exam.

Hi, my name is Mark Law.

How did I get into the wine industry?

It’s a question I’ve been asked often, and I’ve answered so many times it’s almost become a script, and yet it makes me happy to tell my story each time because it reminds me of how fortunate I have been in life.

Let’s go back to my graduation from university (though there are some interesting details, no one really cares about high school or anything further back). I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology). What the heck kind of job can anyone get with that?

After six months job searching, I landed a call center customer service role with “Australia’s oldest wine club”. I was technically competent with the phones and computer systems, and showed pragmatic effectiveness in customer service, but more importantly, this was where my interest in wine was sparked. Every Friday the tasting panel convened to try samples sent to them to decide which wines to stock and sell, and in the afternoon they would send an email inviting everyone to take any leftover sample bottles home. I remember being particularly taken by the distinct petrol/kerosene aroma of aged Riesling.

During my time here I undertook the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits, and quickly progressed to Level 3 (both with Distinction). Around this time I no longer felt content sitting in front of a computer and taking phone calls, and I was wooed by the idea of becoming a sommelier.

Where most restaurants demanded 2-3 years experience before they would even look at your résumé, I was given my first chance as a sommelier at the one-hatted Glass Brasserie at The Hilton Hotel, Sydney. During this time I received the Certified Sommelier certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and, proudly, the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits after two years of study. I remain thankful to my Head Sommelier, Mauro, for giving me the time and flexibility to pursue these studies to broaden and deepen my wine knowledge.

After four years at Glass, I spent another two years at the iconic two-hatted Aria restaurant, overlooking both the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I continued to pursue my studies, aiming for the Advanced Sommelier certification with the CMS. I had attempted the exams twice, each time just missing one part of Theory, Tasting and Service.

Then COVID-19 happened. Restaurants were shut down. I no longer had a job.

Fortunately just six months later I landed a role as a Wine Merchant with Dan Murphy’s, Australia’s largest liquor retailer. As restrictions slowly eased, I flourished in my role, offering excellent customer service and advice, training team members, and running tasting events in store for customers. I was also fortunate to win a scholarship to undertake the Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC) with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).

In just a few paragraphs, more than 10 years have passed. I look back on my career with great appreciation, some of it due to my own actions and decisions, but also seemingly unfolding with a strange inevitability.

Now I look forward to what the future brings.

P.S. – If you would ever like to meet me in person check out my Calendar, you might just catch me at one of Sydney’s many tasting events!