Mary isn’t your average importer. She's wholly invested in the wine she brings to consumers, because she buys grapes, juice or fermented wines from growers directly, then produces the wines found in her finished bottles.
Winemaker Crush: Mary Taylor of Mary Taylor Wines
by Mary Kong-DeVito
We spoke to Mary Taylor of Mary Taylor Wines about her rare position of being a female importer in the wine industry. But Mary isn’t your average importer. She's wholly invested in the wine she brings to consumers, because she buys grapes, juice or fermented wines from growers directly, then produces the wines found in her finished bottles.
With a passion for Old World-style wines but the realization that Old World labels can be confusing for average consumers, Mary saw an opportunity to do something unique for the U.S. market.
DCanter: You don't see many negociants in the U.S. Why did you decide to become one instead of a traditional importer?
Mary: Technically, I am like any other importer. “Negociant" isn't entirely accurate as I still buy grower wines whose names are on my bottles. I felt that the layperson needed a lot more catering, than to import 20 wines with unique and frankly confusing packaging. People are really confused in the U.S. between place and grape, so I want them to easily identify my brand and let that guide them to try a number of wines they wouldn't normally pick off a shelf. So I flipped the back label to the front and streamlined.
DCanter: What qualities do you look for when working with a producer to make your wines?
Mary: I look for a true sense of place. You can spot people who grew up farming a mile away. I love truly regional people who protect their gastronomic traditions and don't enhance their wines to fit a trend. I love the idea of terroir - Americans can fully understand terroir as it relates to cheese, so why not wine? (Answer: Prohibition!)
DCanter: You started with European wines with a heavy emphasis on French wines. What's next for Mary Taylor Wines?
Mary: So much. I have an IGP series that explores wines of place at the $11.99 retail price point. I have a “Sparkling Around the World” line. I am importing a few other things. I am building women-run distribution companies with partners. Two are currently in full swing.
DCanter: What advice would you give to women hoping to advance their careers in wine or entering the wine industry?
Mary: Stand firm. Troll bullies. Do not pander. Take serious initiative. Focus on the long game where you are a leader. Be proud to be the messy version of yourself. There is no time for perfectionism. Defend other women. Live loudly.
Powerful words from a well-respected veteran in the industry! To taste the result of Mary’s passion and drive for honest, authentic wines with a sense of place, shop Mary Taylor wines at DCanter Wine Boutique. Order online by 3pm and get it delivered tonight!