Oceano Wines is a joint venture between Rachel Martin and Kurt Deutsch. The two randomly met at the Middleburg Film Festival in October, 2014. They happened to be seated across from each other at a dinner prior to the screening of Kurt’s feature film, “The Last Five Years.”
Prior to Oceano and shortly after Rachel’s academic wine education with a degree in Viticulture and Enology from Napa Valley College and a diploma from the prestigious Sensory Evaluation program at the University of Bordeaux School of Enology, she was tasked with jump-starting the winery of her stepfather, John Kent Cooke (former owner of the NFL Washington Redskins football team). As Executive Vice President of Cooke’s Boxwood Estate Winery, Rachel took Boxwood from being a purely local presence in Virginia’s wine country to a 5,000-case, internationally awarded and distributed brand.
Not only did Rachel impact Boxwood’s position in the Virginia wine hierarchy, she spearheaded the effort to gain American Viticultural Area (AVA) recognition for her region. The Middleburg Virginia AVA was approved by the TTB (the federal agency responsible for determining if certain areas merit their own AVA designation) after consideration of Rachel’s petition. Attaining coveted AVA status immediately enhanced the value of all the wines and wineries coming from this part of Virginia. Her efforts have been lauded by internationally recognized wine experts, including Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson (who has praised her “marketing savvy”), Oz Clarke and Stephen Spurrier, among others. Boxwood’s wines have garnered numerous 90+ scores from the most esteemed wine writers both in the United States and abroad.
Grammy Award winner and founder of Sh-K-Boom & Ghostlight Records, Kurt Deutsch is credited with reinventing the musical theater recording landscape by preserving countless shows in high-quality albums through close partnerships with Broadway’s top producers, as well as working hand-in-hand with the new generation of theater artists and composers to merge them with the popular culture at large.
In 2017, Deutsch joined Warner Music Group and is currently Senior VP of Warner Music Entertainment and Theatrical Ventures. At WMG he has been part of the producing team on Broadway and West End of the musicals Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, The Cher Show, Beetlejuice, and David Byrne’s American Utopia. American Utopia was honored with a special Tony Award and the subsequent film directed by Spike Lee, earned Emmy and Grammy nominations. Deutsch is a lead producer of the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of The Notebook.
In 2016, after Rachel’s initial visit to Spanish Springs Vineyard, Rachel and Kurt founded Oceano Wines. “From my first visit to the vineyard, I knew exactly what I could make. I love minerality and the savory qualities of wine. I knew I could produce a wine like I dreamed in my mind”, says Martin. Their collaboration resulted in both their marriage in 2018 and the release their first wine, the 2016 Spanish Springs Vineyard Chardonnay.
Spanish Springs Vineyard is the sole source of fruit for the chardonnay and pinot noir made by Oceano Wines. Located nearly at the western edge of the newly established San Luis Obispo Coast AVA. 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. Spanish Springs is perfectly suited to grow chardonnay and pinot noir – the vineyard also produces a number of other grapes, both white and red – that epitomize balance and elegance.
Not surprisingly, given the unspoiled nature of the place, the vineyard is SIP Certified. This Sustainable In Practice designation is arguably more stringent than what is mandated by the USDA’s Organic program as well as biodynamic practices because it touches on every part of the grape-growing and winemaking process, from planting to the way the finished wine is packaged and shipped. The water used to irrigate the vines is delivered via a natural aquifer.
In Fall 2023 Oceano will launch its first non-alcoholic wines. Oceano Zero was founded on the idea that nonalcoholic wines can be created with the same artistic intention as traditional bottlings. “We want to prove that wine lovers wanting to reduce their consumption of alcohol don’t have to lower their standards when it comes to non-alcoholic wine.”, says Martin.
“I’ve been a part of the wine industry for decades and I saw that there was a white space within the market that was left totally untapped,” said Rachel Martin, Oceano Wines Founder and CEO. “Not wanting to drink alcohol doesn’t mean you don’t want to drink delicious wine or take part in the rituals that come with drinking. That’s why I worked with skilled winemakers to bring Oceano Zero to life and offer consumers a non-alcoholic option that is as luxurious and premium as any of our other fine wines.”
Oceano Wines is a WBENC certified Women-Owned business.
Rachel is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, New York and Washington, D.C. Chapters and was the first woman to be inducted into the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the International Society of Wine & Food. She and her wines have been featured in The Washington Post, The San Francisco Examiner, Forbes, Food & Wine, and Edible, among many others.