Bespoke luxury wine experiences around the globe & exclusive tasting and pouring events

About the Virtual Tasting

Rachael Martin, the vintner and co-owner of Oceano Wines, joined John Sporing, the founder of A Life Well Drunk for a virtual tasting on May 21st, 2020.

Did you miss the live tasting? No worries, watch the video here:

Oceano Wines is a boutique winery, producing about 1,000 cases of premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir each year. “Not all winemakers are created equal, every vineyard is different, and no two grapes or harvests are the same,” explains Rachel. “I don’t believe in formula winemaking. By staying small, we have the ability to adjust our plans to capture delicate aroma and flavor compounds. It takes instinct, technical prowess, and experience.”

In our conversation with Rachel, we were guided through three of her wines:

  • Oceano Chardonnay 2017
  • Oceano Chardonnay 2018
  • Oceano Pinot Noir 2018

A Life Well Drunk has been fortunate to try all three of these wines and they are excellent examples of cool-climate wines.  Wines can still be ordered via Oceano Wines website.

Meet the maker

Rachel Martin is the vintner and co-owner of Oceano Wines. For those of you in Virginia, you may know Rachel from her time as the founding Executive Vice President of Winery Operations at Boxwood Estate Winery. Rachel’s job was to oversee all facets of production, sales and marketing of Boxwood’s award-winning whites, rosés and Bordeaux-style red blends. Appreciating the distinctiveness of Middleburg’s terroir, she spearheaded the move toward securing a coveted American Viticultural Area designation from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the federal agency charged with evaluating the merits of all such applications. The petition she authored on behalf of the region was approved in 2012, making Middleburg Virginia the state’s seventh AVA.

Rachel is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International New York and Washington, D.C chapters and was the first woman to be inducted into the District of Columbia chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. A founding board member, she is also closely involved with the beverage/culinary aspects of the annual Middleburg Film Festival.

Rachel, along with her husband Kurt Deutsch (a multi Grammy Award winning music, theater, and film producer),Marbue Marke, their wine maker (who left Sierra Leone to come to the US to become a doctor, but became the first person from Sierra Leone to graduate from UC Davis with a degree in enology), and George Donati (the general manager of the vineyard–Spanish Springs Vineyard) have worked together to bring Oceano Wines to life.

Spanish Springs Vineyard is the sole source of fruit for the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made by Oceano Wines. Located nearly at the southern end of the sprawling Central Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area), Spanish Springs is perfectly situated to grow chardonnay and pinot noir–the vineyard also produces a number of other grapes, both white and red–that epitomize balance and elegance. While the Central Coast-designation is among the largest AVAs in all of North America, stretching practically from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, and from the coast to nearly 50 miles inland, Spanish Springs is a rarity within it because it is closer to the Pacific Ocean than any other vineyard in this “coastal” appellation, not to mention the Golden State itself.

Given the surrounding area’s proximity to the ocean (in a nod to Spanish Springs’ primacy of place) the local winery trade group’s website SLO Coast Wine opens to a sweeping view of the ocean from it, it’s no wonder that grape and winegrowers in the area petitioned to have a more local sub-AVA for their area. The San Luis Obispo County designation has been approved by the federal government and has started to appear on labels.

Follow Oceano on Instagram: @OceanoWines
Follow A Life Well Drunk on Instagram: @ALifeWellDrunk