Mark Crisler founded Trellis Wine Group in June 2005, with the mission to introduce artisan and family-owned wineries and spirits to national account restaurants and hotel chains.
In the couple of years preceding starting the Trellis Wine Group, while he was traversing the country representing Robert Mondavi Winery to national accounts, Mark was hearing a recurring question: “What (wine) do you have that you are not trying to sell to everyone else?” He began to wonder why this question was being asked. As Mark recalls, “I took 20 nationally-mandated wine lists, from the Ritz-Carlton to Olive Garden and many points in between. I typed them all in the same font and then laid them out on a long table to see them all. Then, using highlighters, I colored in each wine brand that was same in individual colors. Taking a step back, I saw what they were talking about. All the lists were dominated by only a few wine brands. The national account wine lists had become homogenized.” Mark was
also aware that consumers were becoming much more wine savvy, and that they wanted new “discovery” wines when dining out.
So, the light bulb became very bright that day for Mark. Someone needed to bring the artisan, family-owned wine back to national accounts. With 25 years of industry experience behind him, Mark decided it was time to form the Trellis Wine Group, with the mission to help guide and grow artisan wines and spirits into the national restaurant and hotel companies’ wine and spirit programs. Why name it Trellis? Mark explains, “The trellis symbolizes the structure to help guide the artisan in a path that will enable them to grow steadily and to ultimately bear quality fruit.”
Reflecting back over the last decade, Mark has seen the needle shifting to a desire to feature more authentic producers with a true “sense of place.” As he says, “Consumers want to know where their items are coming from and that they came from someone or something authentic. This is especially true with newer millennial consumers, who are having a profound effect on the same desires by their older friends and family.”
Trellis Wine Group is uniquely positioned to find and bring premium artisan producers to the many dynamic national restaurant and hotel groups across the country, providing their customers with more quality, authentic choices.
Mark has two employees, Kelsey and Brandon. Each plays a significant role in the company, helping him reach more customers and expand the availability of artisan producers to national accounts. Living in Sonoma Carneros, Mark and his wife are the empty-nest parents of three young adults. Their son, Brandon, joined the company in 2013, bringing the family element to the company. Mark is a sommelier certified by The Court of Master Sommeliers and is working on other wine accreditations to further his lifelong journey of appreciating wines of the world.