Martin reyes

Cellar Chats

Martin Reyes Perfects His Red Blend with Coravin Screw Caps

February 04, 2021

Written By Coravin

Martin Reyes has made a big impact on the wine world over the past decade (arguable more) as a buyer, importer, educator, and most recently as a winemaker. As a first-generation American and the first Master of Wine of Mexican descent, Martin is committed to bringing more diversity to the wine world by providing opportunities for underserved and underrepresented minorities. “The tone of wine is older and paler than it should be,” Martin shares. This mindset has inspired his co-founding of  Wine Unify and work with Chilean winemaker Rodrigo Moletto of Morandé, and Spottswoode Estate on climate action and sustainability initiatives.

It’d also be very remiss of us not to mention that Martin is a dad jokes extraordinaire (read some here) and some of his PUN-demic jokes really had us giggling. For example, “My family did, in fact, run out of toilet paper in May. We had to use newspaper instead. Man, the Times were rough.” Go ahead and check them out for yourself.

It starts in Chile

Coravin’s relationship with Martin starts in Chile at Morandé where Martin teamed up with winemaker Rodrigo Moletto to create a wine for the Latin and Latinx communities. Named Origen Sur and coming summer 2021, this red blend took months of refinement which was made possible by Coravin screw caps. But before we get into how this small, unassuming device brought Origen Sur to life, let’s back up.

martin reyes

It’s 2019 and Martin is just starting to work with Rodrigo. Morandé’s vision was to use grapes from Chile’s Maule region to create the perfect red blend to pair with classic Latin dishes. Martin, living in California at the time, planned frequent trips to Chile to check in on the project but then the year 2020 graced us all with her presence.

During the refinement process, travel was nearly impossible but Martin wanted to find a way to taste and, more importantly, pair the few samples of wine he had with as many people and dishes as possible. In comes the Coravin Screw Cap.

If you aren’t familiar, Coravin’s screw cap allows wine lovers to pour their favorite screw cap wines using a Coravin Timeless system (i.e. any system with a needle) and then preserve them for up to three months. The caps are made using a self-sealing silicone and can be used for up to 50 insertions – something that is very handy if you’re creating a red blend like Martin. The small device, paired with Martin’s Model Six, allowed him to iteratively pair the blended wine with different Latin cuisines to guarantee it fulfilled their vision.

A process that usually takes a month without a pandemic ended up taking 7-8 months – but it was well worth it. Origen Sur will be available soon in the US and Mexico, and pairs best with the vibrant flavors of Hispanic culture.

martin reyes with orgin sur wine red

Turning the wine industry good

Martin’s story doesn’t end here with Chilean wine. Outside of winemaking, Martin busies himself with different do-good efforts like his work with Wine Unify and different climate action initiatives.

When it comes to Wine Unify, Martin is quick to acknowledge that co-founder Alicia Towns Franken is the brains and muscle behind the operation. With their third founder, DLynn Proctor (we talked to him here), the trio is committed to increasing access to wine education for minorities. Their mission states, “While we have come a long way over the years promoting a more ethnically and racially diverse profession, there is much work to be done in terms of welcoming, elevating, and amplifying the voices of underrepresented minorities.”

As a team, Wine Unify recognizes that education is the cornerstone of progress in any field, but obstacles to education like funding, mentorship, and a general feeling of exclusion are barriers for minority groups.

Wine and the climate

To bring Martin's story full-circle: Without a healthy environment, we can't have delicious wines produced by diverse winemakers. And, if there’s anything we learned from the recent California fires, it’s that our environment is delicate and these climate events – while we might note experience them directly – have an impactful trickle-down effect on the wine industry. If you like wine and want to keep drinking wine, rising temperatures and irregular rain patterns should be a top concern.

Martin has worked closely with Spottswoode Estate, the first Napa Valley winery to become a certified B Corporation, to find new ways to mitigate the level of heat stress on their grapevines. An increase in temperature causes the grapes’ internal temperature to rise, risking the collapse of the ripening and maturation process – something winemakers (and wine-drinkers) care a lot about. In 2017, Spottswoode’s vineyard entered a period of stasis – chemical inactivity where nothing was happening. Together with Martin, they needed to find a way to ensure the longevity of their vineyard despite the huge pressure of climate change.

The team decided to add mesh coverings throughout the vineyard to decrease the intensity of the sun which, in turn, helped reduce the need for watering and prevented the grapes from overheating. These small changes can make a big difference when it comes to adapting to the environment and improving the quality of the wine – allowing winemakers from any background to thrive in their field.

We hope Martin’s story inspires you to go out and do some good. If you know of any winemakers doing amazing social justice, environmental, or mentorship work, we want to know. Send us a message on Instagram or Facebook. To learn more about Martin and his amazing work, visit his website or follow along on social media.