Episode 477 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Mary Ewing-Mulligan, President of International Wine Center and co-author of the book Wine For Dummies.
The secret to communicating with a neophyte audience about wine? Be literal. Use words whose literal meaning is clear, and avoid jargon. That’s what Mary-Ewing Mulligan tells us in this interview, where she describes her approach to writing Wine For Dummies, a book that has sold millions of copies around the world. Mary points out that if you actually read a lot of wine writing for its literal meaning, you often have no idea what it says. Wine people understand what is intended, but those who aren’t familiar with the language of wine writing do not. That lack of clarity is exactly what Mary feels is so frustrating to beginners, who want to know that you are on their side in their desire to understand. Mary explains that a big part of the appeal of the “Dummies” books is that they always take the side of the reader, not the side of the elites. And she explains her own development with wine, moving from wine promotion to teaching about wine, and eventually achieving the Master of Wine credential. How does it feel to reach the heights of wine mastery, but then write a wine book that anyone can understand? Mary explores that dichotomy in this interview, and admits her pride in not being someone who just talks to wine people about wine. She herself went from knowing nothing about wine to being a Master of Wine, and it is clear that she is addressing her writing to those who are at the beginning of their own journey with wine.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine