The Smart Woman Behind the Wine for Dummies Books (Video): Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW

Our guest this evening is the first woman in America to become a Master of Wine. This title represents the highest level of knowledge and proficiency in the wine trade. Currently, only 380 people worldwide are Masters of Wine, including 51 in the U.S.

She is co-author (with her husband, Ed McCarthy) of “Wine For Dummies” and 7 other wine books, with around two million copies sold and translations into 38 languages. It is one of the best-selling wine books ever.

She was also wine columnist for The Daily News in New York City for more than ten years, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine magazine, The New York Times, The Wine Spectator, Newsday, and Gourmet. She is head of International Wine Center, a New York-based school for wine professionals and anyone aspiring to learn about wine.

And she joins me live now from her home in New York City: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Mary Ewing-Mulligan!

Click on the “Follow” and “Like” buttons on this Facebook page to get notified when we go live.

Click on the arrow above to hear Mary’s story.

Want to know when we go live with our next guest?

Click on “Get Reminder” on the page below:

Click on “Get Notified” at the link above to know when we go live.

You can also click on “Follow” and “Like” buttons to know when we make updates.

Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and to find out who’s coming up next.


Top Fan

Lori Kilmartin44:29 My Repour test found that after 5 days it was like new, 10 days was starting to evolve – and the wine was still drinkable at 15 days!!!

What sparked the idea for the Wine for Dummies book?

Tell us in a nutshell what this book is about?

What was the most surprising insight you discovered while writing this book?

What’s the most interesting thing that someone has said about your book?

What were the consequences or changes, if any, in the wine industry, or for wine consumers?

What was the most difficult aspect of passing the Master of Wine exam?

When it comes to wine education, what is the most important aspect?


Edison Jeton42:07 if I’m a wset level 3 certified, and I already have the introductory sommelier course certification. do you think I will have enough knowledge to pass the certified sommelier from the CMS?



Top Fan

Lise Charest Gagne27:37 Just taking WSET was really tough for me while working a full time job and managing a home plus volunteering in the community

Peter Hellman36:43 I wish I could join you in that glass of wine with Emile Peynaud. His book, ‘Le Gout de Vin,” was the first serious wine book I bought. Expensive but priceless!


Lois Gilbert28:30 As the leaders in the wine industry do you discuss how climate change will effect the wines we love especially California wines?
Lois Gilbert12:47 A what point in your career did you decide to test for the master program and how long did it take you to achieve your goal?



Lois Gilbert22:23 Once you become a master do you ever have to retest and there a goal you are currently working towards in a designation?
Alan Cameron41:13 Every week you increase my ability to appreciate wines more…The landscape of the wine, its terroire. tonight the architecture of the wine ( it’s structure…)…I am so impressed….such a wonderful broadcast of sharing.



Top Fan

Beverly Asleson43:57 Wow I’ve never seen the Recork, I’ll have to get one, I use the aerator.

Top Fan

Lori Kilmartin24:27 I have a friend working on her MW. Do you have any “words of wisdom” for her?



Tom Dean45:50 Joining late, but love the dialogue…. thanks ladies!
Top Fan

Beverly Asleson48:24 Thank you Mary I really enjoyed tonight.



Alan Cameron52:02 Can’t believe you said “…up your wine game…”


Alan Cameron34:22 Awesome interview……You are a great pair !



Mary Ewing26:34 Lori, I hope what I said will help her. For every individual, it’s an individual struggle but the foundation is doing the work gaining the knowledge and developing the perspective. (Taste not-blind a lot, to cement appropriate descriptors.)


Top Fan

Paul E Hollander49:07 Good night, Mary. A delightful evening.




Alan Cameron27:52 Love that quote “…We don’t have wives …”
Alan Cameron48:32 100% excellent !!!!!!



Marie Walsh51:17 Great interview. Thanks
Kathie Braid48:51 Great interview. Thx.



Alan Cameron22:17 See…There IS life after Pepsi !!
Phyllis Cook28:38 I have always wondered about specificity measuring in wine. For instance, if a wine is a Cab, but it’s characteristics are not that of an outstanding Cab, maybe of something else, not sure what, but it tastes good. Should that lower it’s general rating? Don’t know if I’m making myself clear. In other words, could a wine measure well on it’s own, just as a darn good wine… :)



Mary Ewing2:53 Today, it takes about 5 yrs, as it did for me – but today there’s a great support system — not to mention a higher bar to entry into the program in the first place. Starting requirements are the SET Diploma or some international equivalent plus 3-5 years professional wine experience.
Bill Head0:00 Howdy from Austin. I liked what Mary said at the first of the interview about vintage, and wine not being as delicate as people think. When your interview started, I was finishing off a 21 year old Riesling that my wife happened upon in our little cellar. 1997 Ungsteiner Herrenberg Riesling Auslese. It had spent most of its life in pretty good conditions. The colo(u)r was darker. I’m not smart enough to compare it to wet hay, cat pee, and dewberries with a chocolate finish, but it was Damned Tasty! I “paired” it with some crackers I bought at Trader Joe’s.






Mary Ewing4:17 This is THE topic of discussion. Winemakers like Cathy Corison who harvest early for lighter, more refined wines are garnering high praise. But you need to have a terroir where the grapes ripen enough in terms of their tannins so that you can harvest early. This is becoming the dividing line between truly fine wine and just regular wine. Thanks for asking!











Mary Ewing-Mulligan MW
President, International Wine Center

Mary Ewing-Mulligan, president of International Wine Center is the first woman in America to become a Master of Wine. This title represents the highest level of knowledge and proficiency in the wine trade. Currently 369 individuals worldwide are Masters of Wine, including 45 in the U.S.

In addition to heading International Wine Center, Mary is co-author (with her husband, Ed McCarthy) of “Wine For Dummies” and “Wine Style, Using your senses to explore and enjoy wine,” both published by John Wiley & Sons. With more than one million copies sold, translations into 38 languages, and an audio tape, Wine For Dummies is the fastest-selling wine book ever in the U.S. The couple have also authored White Wine For Dummies, Red Wine For Dummies, Wine Buying Companion For Dummies, Italian Wine For Dummies and French Wine For Dummies.

Mary Ewing-Mulligan was wine columnist for The Daily News in New York City for more than ten years, as well as a columnist for trade magazines, “Nation’s Restaurant News” and “Beverage Dynamics.” She also contributed wine articles to several publications in the U.S. and England. She is a past president of the Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) and currently serves as one of its Directors.

Her accomplishments have been featured in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine magazine, The New York Times, The Wine Spectator, Newsday, and Gourmet, and she has made dozens of television appearances. She also frequently judges at major national and international tasting competitions, and lectures to private groups.




Leave a Reply