Mary Gorman-McAdams is a Master of Wine, wine educator, wine judge, and wine business strategist. Since May 2019 she is the Director at International Wine Center, New York City, the first WSET School in the Americas. Before joining the team as Director, Mary has been a WSET instructor at IWC since 2002.
Between 2014 and 2019, she was the North American Market Adviser for the Bordeaux Wine Council, where she led its marketing and educational programs focused on growing the market for Bordeaux wines. During her tenure, the United States moved from being the fourth most important market by value to the second most important market by value at the end of 2018, where volumes imported were back to the highest in 35 years. Prior to entering the wine industry, Mary had 15 years international business and management spanning multinational corporations, semi-state bodies, and start-ups.
Since 2012, Mary has served on the Institute of Masters of Wine Global Education team and was elected to the IMW Council in September 2020. Mary is also a member of the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and has served on the Advisory Board of Women in Wine leadership Symposium since its inception. As a connector and networker, Mary has served as a mentor to wine students for over 10 years – MW students and WSET students striving to prepare for exams as well as young wine industry professionals building their career paths.
When not talking and tasting wine, Mary can be found on the sidelines of a soccer field with husband Joe McAdams, cheering on their 17-year-old son Luca.
1. How did you get into the wine business?
I made a career change to get into the wine industry. I was originally in international marketing and business development in the tech industry based in Dublin and Paris for over 15 years. While not in the industry, I was a foodie and wine geek and vacations often involved visiting wine regions.
When I moved back to Ireland from Paris in 1997, I discovered the WSET and started taking their courses – with no real plan to change careers, Then, in January 2002, my husband was transferred to New York and I was about to start WSET Diploma – so that was the moment I decided to change – new city, new opportunity, and new career. I enrolled in the Diploma program at the International Wine Center and met Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW and Linda Lawry, who basically took me under their wing, encouraged me to not just do Diploma but to study for MW. Studying at IWC gave me a wonderful overview of the industry and network of fantastic people – so many have become lifelong friends. As I had dabbled in academia, contemplating a PhD, I took to teaching and have been a wine educator at IWC since 2002.
While studying for MW and raising our son (now a 17 year old 6’6” high school senior), I set up my own consulting company, working on various business and education projects as well as freelance writing.
Once I had my MW in the bag, I wanted to do something with more of a business slant and started to work with Bordeaux wines, as their North American Consultant managing their education and marketing budget and programs across the US. It was a fabulous experience and I did this for 5+ years when I got the opportunity to join forces with Mary Ewing-Mulligan, at IWC to work with her and the team as Director and help grow the business. This was May 2019. So now I am teaching a lot and that is something I truly love to do.
2. What are the most frustrating and rewarding parts of your job?
3. What is your most memorable wine experience?
Most memorable event was in Vintners Hall in November 2011 being inducted into the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Most memorable wine trips are visiting the Stellenbosch and Paarl winelands in 1999 on our honeymoon and then in 2006 winning a study trip to Australia and spending two whole weeks visiting many of its fabulous wine regions. I have had so many wonderful, priceless wine trips. When you visit a wine region, it gets into your heart and stays there forever.
4. What is an upcoming trend you see in wine?
A return to balance and elegance – wines with soul at all price points.
5. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
My mother said to me once when I was dithering over a decision, “Do it, the regret of doing something will never be as bad as the regret of not doing something.”
She really felt that, otherwise you get stuck in a rut, afraid of taking chances, trying new things/ Be adventurous, and most important be confident and believe in yourself.
6. What is one tip you have for someone just getting into wine?
Be curious, be honest, trust your palate, and go forth. It is a most wonderful industry, with most wonderful people, who can so wonderfully agree to differ.
Master of Wine, Wine Educator,
Wine Judge, Wine Business Strategist
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