Photos of Mark Levine’s wife, discover all the facts here

The wine industry lost a towering figure when Mark Levine passed away from Covid-19 on December 27. For the first time in 30 years, we have gone through a wine season without him. This year, due to travel restrictions, the excitement of having wineries ship their wines to us for tasting was mixed with a deep sense of loss.

Unforgettable first encounter

In my 42 years with K&L, few salespeople have left as indelible an impression on me as Mark Levine. I still remember our first meeting in 1988 vividly. As manager of the San Mateo store, I was getting ready to go out one Friday evening when Mark barged in with four cases of wine on a cart and asked to see me. His enthusiasm was palpable, and even though I was getting ready to leave, he insisted that I taste the wines he had brought. Mark’s insistence, recommended by my boss, Clyde, was a testament to his dedication. This meeting epitomized Mark’s approach: relentless, passionate, and always focused on closing the deal.

Unparalleled work ethic

Marc’s career has been characterized by his extraordinary work ethic. Whether selling clearance wines or established brands such as Lafite Rothschild, his focus and determination remain unwavering. He approaches every sale with the same passion, embodying the challenging reality of the wine industry where selling, not buying, is the true test. Marc’s ability to negotiate and close deals has made him a master in this industry.

Friendship and wine tour

As Mark’s career progressed, he became a key figure in K&L’s sales of fine wines, and our professional relationship blossomed into a cherished friendship. His marriage to Cécile Lecoq of Nantes further enriched our connection, which was strengthened by many wine dinners and a shared love of Bordeaux. Mark had a significant financial responsibility as the company’s Bordeaux buyer. He often sought the advice of experienced tasters like myself and Clyde Beffa, trusting our insights to make wise purchasing decisions.

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Impact on K&L’s direct purchasing strategy

Mark’s influence played a key role in shaping K&L’s direct sourcing strategy. Unlike many retailers who avoid the arduous and expensive process of traveling to Europe to taste wines and build relationships, K&L takes this approach. Mark’s commitment to sourcing wines directly from estates ensures our customers receive exceptional quality and value. His work in the competitive San Francisco Bay Area wine market is legendary, always with a smile and genuine concern for his customers.

Hospitality and friendliness

Mark’s generosity transcended professional boundaries. He warmly welcomed newcomers and salespeople from Europe, often inviting them to his home to enjoy meals prepared by Cecil. These gatherings were filled with joy and camaraderie, creating unforgettable memories for all involved. Mark’s ability to make such connections highlighted his genuine caring, making everyone feel valued and appreciated.

Retire and continue to contribute

Even in retirement, Mark’s dedication to the wine industry remains steadfast. He moved to Florida for the benefit of his family and continues to support our Bordeaux trips behind the scenes. His meticulous attention to detail ensures every aspect of our trips is flawless, from room inspections to ensuring that guests have chilled champagne. Mark’s contributions behind the scenes are essential to the success of our business.

Celebrating Mark’s life and legacy

On May 16, Marc would have turned 74, a day we will remember forever. Celebrations of his life are planned in California and Bordeaux, and tonight’s reception will honor him with Gonet Champagne and Bordeaux wines. Marc’s impact on the wine industry and the lives of those who knew him was profound and lasting. His hard work, passion and genuine concern for others will continue to inspire us.

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Mark Levine was more than just a colleague, he was a dear friend whose spirit and dedication left an indelible mark on our hearts and the wine industry. As we remember and celebrate his life, we inherit the lessons he taught us and the memories we cherish. Mark’s impact will be passed down from generation to generation, a testimony to his fruitful life and a legacy that will never fade.


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