story & writing samples

Would you like to hear about Mary Margaret firsthand? You can, by way of podcasts and writing samples that illustrate her perspectives on studying, teaching, and working in wine.

To hear Mary Margaret talk about her journey to become a Master of Wine, and other thoughts, listen to her speak on The Stories Behind Wine, Napa Valley Wine Academy's podcast series here.

Mary Margaret has also published several articles on GuildSomm, including Practical Applications for Blind Tasting and Recollections of a Master of Wine.


Mary Margaret has worked on nearly every side of the wine business, with experience in restaurant, wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer wine sales in key U.S. markets, including New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. These roles have allowed her to develop extensive experience in sales, marketing, teaching, and writing about wine. 

Though well-versed in most of the world's wine regions, Mary Margaret has specialized knowledge and a passion for the wines of France, especially Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne.

In addition to her full-time work representing two of the world's of the world's most prestigious wineries - one in Napa and one in Burgundy - Mary Margaret speaks, judges, teaches, and writes about wine and wine education. Among other work, her experience includes:


  • Bollinger Medal, given by the Madame Bollinger Foundation. Awarded annually to the top-scoring student on the Master of Wine practical examination for outstanding tasting ability.
  • MW Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by the Austrian Wine Board. Awarded each year to the top overall performing student across all three portions of the Master of Wine exam.
  • Wine Australia Scholarship, United States Recipient. Awarded each year to the overall highest-scoring WSET Diploma students in five key markets around the world.

personal background

MM wine glass.jpg

Mary Margaret is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned degrees as both an undergraduate and graduate student. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching. She was also a four-year varsity swimmer.

Her transition into the wine world began in earnest after she moved to New York City in 2008. She cut her teeth working in the wine department at Balthazar, Keith McNally's flagship restaurant in Manhattan. It was here that she fell in love with French wine and was encouraged to pursue the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certifications through New York's International Wine Center. In 2011, she earned the WSET Diploma, and was awarded the Wine Australia Scholarship for achieving the highest overall score in the United States. The scholarship awarded Mary Margaret a trip to Australia and the opportunity to interact with several Australian Masters of Wine. Ultimately, the experience helped her realize that she had the passion, ability, and determination to achieve the credential herself.

Mary Margaret sat the MW examination in 2015 and passed both theory and practical portions on her first attempt. She wrote her MW research paper on Napa Valley grape growing and wine production during U.S. Prohibition, which allowed her to utilize her background in the humanities and academic research. To request to read her research paper, please visit the Institute of Masters of Wine's website, here.

Currently, Mary Margaret and her husband live in the Napa Valley. She feels most at home among the vines, but in her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, and swimming. You'll rarely find her without her most faithful friend and assistant, Mickey, who works (and studied) alongside Mary Margaret in between naps. Evidence that Mickey naps far more than he works is documented below.

For more information on how to reach Mary Margaret, visit her contact page here.