Meet Marnie Old
Sommelier and author Marnie Old is a breath of fresh air in the wine world. An engaging performer and gifted teacher, she is refreshingly direct and down-to-earth. Marnie's focus on matters of real-world relevance to consumers, not winemakers or brewers, puts her in demand as an expert speaker on wine and beer around the country, most notably as a featured seminar presenter at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. She is also the founder and organizer of Philly Bierfest, an annual festival celebrating Pennsylvania's German brewing heritage.
Teaching is Marnie's passion. Formerly Director of Wine Studies for Manhattan's renowned French Culinary Institute, she served as the founding education chair for the American Sommelier Association4and has taught for New York's Astor Center and Philadelphia's Temple University. A pioneer of online video, Marnie designed "Wine Online", a long-distance learning program for the University of Delaware's department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. Best known for her innovative presentations on wine, she also lectures on wine marketing, beer, hospitality and service.
Marnie is best known as an author, and her most recent publication is the culmination of a decade's work. Wine: A Tasting Course [DK 2014] is the first wine basics book to harness the power of images to explain complex wine concepts. Like all of DK's books, it is vibrantly colorful, fully-illustrated and beautifully designed. Like all of Marnie's books, it is engaging, easy to read and packed with 'aha!' insights. Her first book was the acclaimed He Said Beer, She Said Wine [DK 2008], a lively and entertaining debate on food pairing with co-author Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Marnie's second book Wine Secrets [Quirk 2009], is a collection of down-to-earth wine advice from 40 international wine experts. In 2012, she launched her first interactive digital book Wine Simplified [Inkling 2012], later honored with a Publishing Innovation Award by Digital Book World as the "Best Non-Fiction App" of the year.
In addition to writing books, Marnie pens a humorous wine column for the Philadelphia Daily News called 'Cheap Buzz' documenting hypothetical conversations between the sophisticated sommelier and her penny-pinching blue-collar neighbor Buzz. Marnie is a familiar face in Philadelphia as the former host, writer and co-producer of over 100 webisodes of Philly Uncorked, Philly.com's weekly online video series. She previously served as Philadelphia Magazine's beverage columnist and as a contributing editor for Sommelier Journal magazine. She is recognized internationally as an expert wine commentator, most recently by the Wall St. Journal, MSNBC, Real Simple magazine, Salon.com, Time Out New York and the UK's Fine Wine Press. Features on Marnie have run in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Jersey Courier-Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and her events have been highlighted in USA Today and the New York Times.
Marnie first earned national recognition as sommelier for Philadelphia's leading seafood restaurant, Striped Bass and as Executive Beverage Director for its premier restaurant group. After five years with the company, she launched her independent consulting venture, Old Wines LLC, in 2001, serving restaurants, consumers and corporate clients. She has advised world class organizations, like ResidenSea's opulent ship The World, as well as independent start-ups and nonprofits. Since 2010, she has provided consulting services for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, one of the world's largest purchasers and retailers of wine and spirits.
Marnie has consulted on beverage programs ranging from New York's Morimoto to Fort Lauderdale's Steak 954. In Philadelphia, Marnie has designed dynamic wine programs from the ground up for 16 restaurants, from Rittenhouse Square's iconic bistros Parc and Rouge, to the edgy Spanish tapas lounge Bar Ferdinand in Northern Liberties. Among the many distinctions earned by her creative wine lists, Food & Wine magazine has twice honored her wine programs as ranking among the country's "Ten Best New Wine Lists", first for a cutting edge all-Italian wine list at Avenue B in 2001 and again in 2005 for an innovative seafood-oriented wine list at Striped Bass.
Marnie has earned expert-level credentials from internationally-recognized organizations, having passed the rigorous Level III Advanced Sommelier exams given by the Court of Master Sommeliers and holding the respected Advanced Certificate from the London-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust. A native of Winnipeg in Canada, she has made Philadelphia her home for over 25 years.