Mark Kaigas’ career changed direction when he gave up a job as a senior-level financial analyst to enroll in Fresno State University’s Enology program. The California native was working at Sony Electronics Inc. at the company’s U.S. headquarters in San Diego, and though he enjoyed his job, a burgeoning interest in wine occupied more and more of his time and enthusiasm. It wasn’t long before he thought about becoming a winemaker. “I’d always been interested in agriculture, and I felt like I wanted to do something more hands-on.” When winemaking friends urged Mark to go for it, he and his wife, Kathe, sold their house, packed up their things and moved to Fresno.
It was a fortuitous move. At Fresno State, Mark and Kathe – who also enrolled in the enology program – took their studies seriously, becoming active in the student wine tasting club, doing summer internships and getting to know their professors on a first name basis. When Mark graduated in 2008, he landed a harvest internship position at the prestigious Colgin Cellars in Napa Valley. After subsequent internships at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles and New Zealand’s Delegat’s Wine Estates, he returned to Colgin in 2009 and was offered a full-time position as production assistant. He was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2011 and associate winemaker in 2018. During Mark’s long tenure at Colgin, the winery earned fifteen 100-point scores across a variety of publications including Wine Advocate and JebDunnuck.com.
In 2022, Mark joined Quilceda Creek as winemaker, where he works closely with President and Director of Winemaking Paul Golitzin and Vineyard Manager Dan Nickolaus. Having always admired the wines of Quilceda Creek, it was a transition he embraced wholeheartedly. “The attention to detail in winemaking and viticulture at Quilceda Creek resonates with me, as well as the teamwork and personalities. I’m grateful for my many years at Colgin and look forward to my next chapter collaborating with Paul Golitzin.”
Mark graduated from U.C. Davis in 1996 with a degree in Managerial Economics and earned his Enology degree from Fresno State University in 2008. His many interests include golf, gardening, cooking, snorkeling and providing foster care for dogs and cats.