“Stay the course. Don’t let setbacks discourage you. Keep your eye on the prize”. This is one idea that has changed the life of Rachel Martin, a celebrated wine producer who not only makes the finest wines but also empowers women in the food and wine industry. After running the Boxwood Estate Winery in Virginia for 15 long years, Rachel started her own label of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2016. She is a Vintner and Wine Producer at Oceano Wines, a boutique winery at Napa Valley. With her entrepreneurial spirit and love for winemaking, she started the venture with her husband, Kurt Deutsch.
Growing up, Rachel and her family travelled a lot. Her father was an Economics professor and by the time she was 6, they had already moved into 6 different cities. The travel bug also bit Rachel and since then she is always on the move. In 2002, she started working and living at her step-father’s wineries along with her immediate family and a few employees. “This is not uncommon for a family-owned winery”, she says. She was in charge of all aspects of the business operations, grape growing, winemaking, branding, packaging, distribution, sales, marketing, etc. They imported wine to the US and Canada and wholesaled it in the 10 states and therefore she got to travel. While working here, she realized her love for wines and is henceforth making the best wine in the country.
Rachel has an artist’s eye for beauty and a talent for appealing to the senses with her wine. Every wine of hers is an attempt to create beauty and joy. She is a storyteller and strongly believes that every wine has a story to tell. She majored in photography and studio art from the School of Museum of the Fine Arts at Tufts University. She later attended the University of Bordeaux to get a diploma in Wine-Tasting Expertise.
The diploma program was in French, and Rachel was only starting to learn the language. She struggled to comprehend the lectures as her classmates did. She used to take her notes in French, translate them into English, and then to English again. It was very challenging for her, but she never lost hope. Deep inside, she knew that she’d grow in a way that would give her a unique advantage over her peers. 15 years down the line, Rachel is the owner of one of the best Wine boutique in California. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International New York and Washington, D.C chapters. She was the first woman to be inducted into the District of Columbia chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment and acts as a leading force for women who wish to enter the wine industry.
Talking more about her company, she says, “We specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast. Our fruit is sourced from the closest vineyard to the ocean in California. The elements of terroir combined with our approach result in distinctive wines, unlike wines you typically find from California”. Rachel feels that wine brings people together and enhances lives. Through their corporate memberships and sponsorships, Oceano Wines supports the organizations that empower women in the field of fine wine, spirits, food, and hospitality.
The consumers and trade response has been positive and supportive of the wines. Oceano Wines has won several awards and has been applauded by many reputed wine critics. They have been featured in lifestyle magazines and trade publications. She is also planning to connect with the customers virtually and serve them better.
Addressing all the fellow and budding women entrepreneurs, she says-“Eliminate negative thinking. Find your zone of genius and spend as much time there as possible. Let go of the things you cannot change. Focus on actions that you can take to create a life full of riches. Set goals that benefit you and others, it gives luck a reason to visit”.