Mark Roomian and his loud shirts (I like to call him Marky Mark and the Funky Shirts) have been a fixture here at the winery for many years – since May of 1997. If you’ve ever visited the property, you’ve probably heard him. His booming voice and roaring laughter can be heard all throughout the tasting room. Working up front, I remember no matter where you were working, you could always pick Mark’s voice out of the din, ringing clearly through the tasting room.
What you might not know about Mark is that he is an avid Zin lover, master BBQer, and father to two beautiful girls, Tori and Bianca. I talked with him about the secret to great BBQ and his proudest moments as a father.
Oriana LaForte: What do you think is the most important thing people should know about V. Sattui?
Mark Roomian: That this is a privately-owned business. Still small-family owned and based on old traditions. I still remember when Dario would be here on a Saturday, and he would do the job of the stockers – taking the dirty glasses from behind the bar and washing them in the back and bringing them back out on the floor. He is like that, you know. When you see the guy you work for mopping the floor next to you at the end of the day, that’s the place I want to work.
OL: What is your favorite wine?
MR: Zinfandel. I just love the variety you can have. Look you can line up 7 different Pinots and know it’s a Pinot Noir. Same thing with Cab – and dont get me wrong, I love Cab. But Zin – some Zins can be light, some heavy, you can have jammy, or earthy or fruit-forward or peppery – it is just so unique!
OL: And your favorite V. Sattui wine?
MR: Black Sears Zinfandel – that pepper aroma just reminds me of a juicy pepper-crusted ribeye coming right off the grill.
OL: And it goes great with BBQ. You do some BBQ work on the side, right?
MR: I love cooking BBQ. David [of Double D’s BBQ] and I go to the Rib Cook-off [in Reno] almost every year. We should be there this year, too. Labor Day weekend.
OL: What is your favorite BBQ?
MR: Whole hog, or brisket. They take longer, but it’s worth it! I helped David do the hog for the employee picnic last year. We watched it for three or four days and man was it good.
OL: Oh yea, I remember that. That was beautiful – juicy and tender and fatty and flavorful – and you know I’m from the South! Any tips or tricks about BBQing?
MR: The rub is more important than the sauce.
OL: Tell me about your girls.
MR: Tori just graduated from Syracuse with a Bachelor’s degree – she double majored in Political Science and Anthropolgy. Bianca finished up her freshman year at Alabama and is back for the summer. Tori is actually driving back with a friend; since she graduated, she has to bring everything back home.
Bianca (right) at her high school graduation with Tori (left) and their cousin, Audrey
OL: So they’ll be able to spend Father’s Day with you! Do you guys have any special plans?
MR: I think we’ll go to my dad’s, and have a nice family dinner.
OL: A multi-generational Father’s Day celebration, I love it! So what is the best thing about fatherhood?
MR: Seeing how they have the best traits of Suzanne [their mother] and I. They love sports and they are outgoing. That’s definitely from me.
OL: They worked here at one time, right?
MR: Yeah. Tori worked in the gift department and Bianca worked the salad case [deli and marketplace].
OL: What would you say is your proudest moment as a father?
MR: I’ve had a lot – and you know how people always tell you how you’re going to be proud when your daughter is born, when she rides a bike for the first time, when she graduates – and you know you will – but when those moments actually happen – man, it’s better. It’s just better than anyone ever said. I think one of the proudest moments was when Tori got her acceptance letter from Syracuse. Because we didn’t really expect it to happen, but when it did – I mean, wow. That was big.