Every month, we feature a member of our SippingTHIS community (aka Sipper) who is doing awesome things in wine and for the world. This Sipper is so awesome, she gets two months.
Marti is long-time sipper and close friend, who works in the wine biz! She has graciously volunteered to help me host wine tastings at my past pop-ups and continues to share the SippingTHIS love with everyone she meets.
Marti makes learning about wine more approachable and more fun with her awesome wine and music pairing videos. And like me, she loves a good rap song. We're so excited to feature her this November and December.
Read on to learn more about Marti.
Laura (SippingTHIS Founder): How did you get into wine industry and what you do?
Marti: Long story...I studied anthropology at Notre Dame, and focused on language and food anthropology. It was when I was doing ethnographical research in Alto Adige that I really started to understand how wine and culture are connected. I studied for my MA in Applied Linguistics and TESL and taught English for a few years, but quickly moved to Italian travel, where I worked as the Director of the Food and Wine department at Select Italy Travel. I then dabbled for a year in wine marketing, before moving to the import/distribution side of things, where I now and the Italian Portfolio Manager for Massanois Imports.
Laura: What challenges have you faced being a women in wine?
Marti: I think this is a two-fold answer. There are the obvious sexual harrasmsent issues that every woman or near every woman in wine faces. These are ugly and terrible and crippling when they inevitably happen. However, there is also the day to day struggle of having to be twice as loud as the men around you in order to be taken seriously. Management in my side of the industry is mostly men, and throughout my career I have had to really fight for a seat at the table.
Laura: What impact do you want to make in the wine world?
Marti: My interests has always lied in promoting conversation and understanding between cultures. Language and food/wine are two very real pieces of identity for different cultural groups. If you learn a language, you start to understand the point of view of the other and they therefore become less threatening. If you eat a meal or learn the story of a wine from another group, it is similar. I don't think that teaching each other about wine can save the world, but I do think it is a lense through which we can see and learn about each other. I have the priveledge of teaching an undergraduate NYU class, as well, and I try to focus on teaching not only wine, but how to use wine to experience the people and places that it comes from.
Laura: You post such fun wine tasting videos paired with music on Instagram (@martimm85) and the most dance-tastic videos on TikTok (@martimullen). Tell us more about what inspired you and why wine lovers should tune in.
Marti: I began the wine videos during our shutdown because I was used to doing these tastings daily and then BOOM...didn't. It was an outlet for me to continue to share what I love and to provide permanent tasting notes/information for my distributors, our reps, and our clients. I started pairing it with music because wine is art, just like music is an art - both are expressions of people and where they come from. I also just love music and dancing (I danced for two years in college and was a gymnast for 8 years growing up), so naturally, when I found an entire app dedicated to dancing I was all over it.
Laura: What wine and music pairing would you recommend for the holidays?
Marti: Lots of options! If you want to go super classic, something like a Bordeaux or Napa Cabernet with Nat King Cole. I'd pair some Michael Buble' with bubbles, obviously. Mariah Carey with Amarone or another powerful red. The pairing I'll probably go for, however is a Sicilian red from Lipari - Nero Ossidiana - made from Corinto Nero and Nero d'Avola with Lil Nas X "Holiday." Both are relatively new to the scene, fresh, and impressive.
Laura: What is your favorite type of wine and why?
Marti: I like high acid, earthy, juicy reds at home - this includes Beaujolais, Etna, volcanic reds, and Barbera - and French and Sonoma Pinot Noir. I can totally appreciate all of the high body, high tannin, smack you in your face reds, but after working in wine and tasting wine every day, the kind of wine I want to drink is a high quality, lower alcohol, drinkable wine that pairs with foods.
Laura: Tell us about your experience hosting a wine tasting at a SippingTHIS pop-up (and the #whorewine you poured).
Marti: Oh my gosh we had so much fun and made made so many friends! I love SippingTHIS and all of Laura's creative sayings, and it was so fun to meet customers who were having the experience for the first time. The coaster and other merchandise really do bring people a lot of joy. We poured Lucchetti Rose', which is a Charmant method Lacrima from Paolo Lucchetti, and is unique, just like Laura and SippingTHIS. I also remember seeing Laura in action, where a saying would just pop into her head and she'd workshop it on a piece of paper on a clipboard - that was my favorite part.
Laura: What is your favorite SippingTHIS saying?
Marti: "F*** it, open the wine." Story of my life. Also story of my life "Namaste in and drink wine." I actually usually prefer to just hang out at home...and go to bed at 9pm.