Thanks to the BVI Winemakers Dinners, lots of us lucky folks were able to get to know–and more importantly–sample the wines of two premier winemakers, Regina Martinelli and Michael De Loach. To preface, the BVI Winemakers Dinners were a full-on week extravaganza of food and wine pairings, held in some of the island’s (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Peter Island, in the British Virgin Islands) most prestigious homes and top-of-the-line restaurants.
Regina Martinelli doesn’t just crank out fabulous wines, she is a true pleasure to chat with, over and above wine-talk. She is a real-deal farmer’s daughter (well, actually geat grandfather’s daughter…), growing up as a child, in the vineyards tying vines. Learning all and everything about her family’s vineyards, she stayed on with this track until she headed off to college in San Luis Obispo, California with a major in biology.
Post-college, Regina spent 10+ years in Corporate America pursuing sales and marketing, while obtaining her Masters Degree in Organizational Development. She then brought her knowledge and expertise back to her roots in Sonoma County, where the winery remains family owned and operated. She came aboard full-time at Martinelli Winery in 2008; and has since been promoted to Executive Vice President. Bringing the winery into the 21st century has been at the forefront of her efforts, while keeping up with the ever important sales and marketing. Martinelli Winery’s primary goal has always been to hand-craft top-notch wines, born in the vineyards. Regina is presently and enthusiastically helping to spread the good word–and good wine–to whomever will hold out their glass. My fave experience with this lady? Popping open a fabulous bottle of her Chardonnay with her, on the Peter Island ferry, well before the festivities of the evening even began.
Michael De Loach was born in San Francisco and raised in the wine country of Sonoma County. As principal of Hook & Ladder Winery, De Loach truly grew up in the wine business. He began working in the vineyard at eleven years old, and in the cellar by age fifteen. Post-college years, De Loach worked at fledgling De Loach Vineyards as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, where his [completed] field of study was winemaking at the Napa Valley School of Cellaring, as well as the University of California at Davis Agricultural Extension. He served as president of De Loach Vineyards from 2001 to 2004. Currently, he is president at Hook and Ladder Winery and has been interviewed and had speaking engagements at many well know venues and publications.