About Martellotto Winery
Martellotto Winery produces unique and exciting wines designed to surprise and ignite discerning palates of wine lovers everywhere. Inspired by his family's winemaking roots in Italy (Nonno made wine in his basement in New York during Prohibition), our blends are a reflection of distinctly original techniques developed, refined, and perfected by wine-making expert and connoisseur Greg Martellotto.
Martellotto Winery specializes in award-winning Bordeaux varietal wines from Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. Martellotto also produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills.
The story of Martellotto (which means big hammer in Italian) begins in Alberobello in Puglia, Italy, where Greg’s grandfather left the old country in 1918 to find a new, better life for himself and his progeny.
“When my life is challenging, I try to remember how difficult it must have been for nonno to pass through Ellis Island with little education, money or wherewithal. My grandparents successfully raised four children who all attended graduate school. Given that my nonno produced wine in his basement for the local Italian community in the Bronx during Prohibition, it’s possible that my destiny in wine is genetically encoded.” ~ Greg Martellotto
Winemaking wasn’t Greg’s initial career trajectory; with a degree in Human Biology from Stanford and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Texas, he intended to become a doctor. However, the allure and enticements of the vine were too strong to resist. There was no turning back once he set his mind to it, and against the advice of logical, rational mentors and friends, Greg ventured into winemaking, sales and distribution.
“In 2004, I worked harvests in Baja California, Mexico and Santa Barbara. My first mentors were Clay Brock at Zaca Mesa, Mike Sinor at Ancient Peaks, and Mike Roth at Demetria Estate.”
Since 2014, Martellotto Winery has shared a production warehouse in Buellton with Paolo Barbieri, MS and Lo-Fi wines. Paolo makes Rhone varietal wines to sell through his tasting room. Mike is producing some of the best “natural” wines in California. Martellotto’s focus is on Bordeaux varietals from Happy Canyon.
About Greg Martellotto
Greg Martellotto has led a multifocal life. From age 5 to 22, he played soccer and expected to be a pro. At 19 he franchised a house painting company in Palo Alto, CA. He attended Stanford University on a soccer scholarship but studied biology with the thought of going to medical school. After graduation with a bachelor’s degree and the end of soccer dreams, he took off for three years and traveled to 55 countries. When Greg returned, his wine business took shape, made out of threads from his past, a love for cooking and wine, and for entertaining.
Greg has been making wine since 2005. His peripatetic path has led him to winemaking experience in Mexico, Italy, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara. He holds a degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and a Masters degree from the University of Texas. His global wine experience has provided opportunities to travel to most of the major winemaking regions of the world as both a buyer and a consumer, which informs his style. Equally important and unique among most winemakers, Greg's experience as an importer and wine buyer provides insider's access to the greatest wines and wineries in the world. In this capacity, he regularly tastes more than 400 wines per month and he knows great wine.
One of the most important influences on Greg’s winemaking is his diverse background in the wine business. Most folks in the wine biz fall into one of three tiers; they work for a winery (production), a distributor (wholesale), or they work for a retailer/hospitality (restaurants/service). Greg has worked and continues to work in all of these tiers. As a result, he regularly tastes about 4000 wines per year. He has had the privilege to taste many of the great wines at wineries throughout France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, California, New York, Texas, among other wine growing regions. While Greg’s heart and genetic code may lie in Italy, his taste preferences lean toward Bordeaux. This is the reason Greg focuses on Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals in Santa Barbara.
Greg’s Philosophy on Wine
“In a world awash in wine with abounding new wine brands amid increased distributor consolidation, I’m constantly looking for wines that jump out of the glass and surprise me. I’m not easily surprised. Balanced alcohol, oak tannins, and zippy acidity that make my lips smack are qualities of wines I find appealing. I believe great wine complements life. Wine is shared at peak moments and becomes a tool to make memories and experiences more vibrant. Wine brings levity and joy. Personally, I’m fastidious about what I ingest and attentive to every meal. For this reason, I’ve begun providing full disclosure with all technical information available on the rear wine label. I would rather have a wine that represents a vintage and shows variety, than a wine that is uniform, bland or painted by numbers. Wine is art and science, romantic and intimate, and it’s also fermented grapes.” ~ Greg Martellotto
Articles & Interviews
- Interview with Martellotto Winery
- Get to Know Greg Martellotto Of Santa Barbara's Martellotto Wines
- A remarkable new winery on California's Central Coast
- Martellotto Cellars – California Winery of the Month April 2014