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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Martellotto Wines

Passion and international experience on the Central Coast

The odyssey that would become the basis for Martellotto (Mar-tell-o-toe) Cellars first began when owner Greg Martellotto was still a student at Jesuit High School in Dallas. The young man was drawn to cooking and food and even produced dinner parties while still a student. Martellotto had always planned to become a medical doctor and his further education took him to California. At Palo Alto’s renowned Stanford University, he received a biology degree and managed a restaurant. The combination of food and wine was simply too much for him and the graduate took a three year world excursion before finally returning to California. During his hiatus, he managed to taste many of the world’s great wines and sample a number of the planet’s leading cuisines.

He was now 27, and the ten year prospect of medical school seemed implausible. He turned instead to the wine industry and concentrated his efforts in founding a wine entity that covered his varying expertise. One of the resultant companies is Martellotto Cellars, our Gold Medal Wine Club selection of the month. Martellotto Cellars first saw the light of day in 2005 with a limited release of only 2,000 cases. It has since grown to around 6,000 cases with the prospect of becoming a good deal larger in the future.

“I am proudest of having survived the recession,” remarked Greg Martellotto during a recent interview. “The business has been quite difficult of late, and many, many small wineries have had to fold up and quit the business. I was quite fortunate to have other wine interests to stabilize Martellotto Cellars. My export business and some of my imports (Bordeaux and Burgundy) helped me during the really difficult times. I still must work incredibly hard but I feel the really tough times are probably behind me.”

Martellotto Cellars and its incredibly unique label are a story unto itself. The label was designed by none other than Professor John Langdon of Drexel University in Pennsylvania. For you Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, The Lost Symbol and others) readers, the name Professor Robert Langdon should be familiar as the protagonist of these novels. It seems Brown was a student of Langdon’s at Drexel and used some of Langdon’s designs and theories in his works. Martellotto also explained that his back label is basically an ambigram (a symbolic representation when viewed from a different direction, perspective or orientation). “It is intended to mirror the art of science and wine,” added Martellotto.

“It was deeply designed and was intended to be easily distinguished. In other words, we wanted something completely unique, a real jump off visual.” Another important aspect of Martellotto Cellars upcoming advantage will be the opening of a new winery that has just be leased in Buellton, along US HWY 101 as the coastal highway turns northward.

“This acquisition will help us tremendously,” Greg Martellotto theorized. “We will be able to produce our wines under our own roof and that itself will be a big benefit. We will also have a tasting facility for the first time that will give our customers more accessibility. It is a win-win scenario for everyone involved.”

  1. Martellotto
    2013 Chardonnay
    M by Martellotto
    Santa Barbara County


    GMWC Special Selection
    id: 2332
  2. Martellotto
    2012 Cabernet Franc
    M by Martellotto
    Santa Ynez Valley


    GMWC Special Selection
    id: 2331

The winemaking team of Greg Martellotto and Mike Ross

As in many one-man winery operations, Greg Martellotto serves as his company’s winemaker. He also uses consulting winemaker Mike Ross whose resume is legendary along the Central Coast. Ross worked for both Mike Grgich (Grgich Hills Estate) and Nils Venge (Saddleback Cellars) in Napa Valley before heading south to Santa Barbara County more than 10 years ago. His Central Coast experience includes the likes of Demetria Estate Winery (considered among the best wineries in the county), Koehler Winery and a number other quality wineries including Martian Ranch and Vineyard. Ross’s wines have always achieved superior scores and numerous accolades for his efforts. He has recently planted his first vineyards and intends to produce his own label that will be called Lo-Fi when the vines reach production.

Greg Martellotto a true renaissance man

Even at the tender young age of 40, Greg Martellotto fancies himself a something of a true renaissance man. He has managed to travel extensively during his formative years and he has put what he has observed to excellent use in his current business.

“My wine business has many different aspects,” he observed. “I deal in highest quality wines from Europe and California and also with some basic wines that I produce for international customers. It’s all part of this wine business concept that I have developed throughout the years.”

The Dallas native is not at all surprised that his efforts have been successful. “Success in the wine business is relative. Where I live in San Francisco, you can find a number of 30-year-old billionaires. For my part, the wine business has been one long struggle just to survive, and for that I am most thankful. It has taught me a number of life lessons and I won’t forget them.”

He also calls his decision to locate in Santa Barbara County one of the smartest decisions he has ever made. “I had all these wonderful connections in Santa Barbara so I hoped they would be put to good use in making better wines. That’s the secret, making your wines better as you go along.”

Martellotto has always been drawn to the wine and food culture and admits it has had a hand in sculpturing his life. “I’ve always been concerned about exactly what goes into food and wine. I’ve been on the edge of biodynamic farming for some time and I intend to continue in that direction. I want to one day be able to plant a small vineyard of my own to allow me to produce some estate wines. I will then feel I have come the full circle with my dreams.”

Greg Martellotto is also still single, and considers that something of an advantage in the highly competitive wine industry. “Being single gives me more flexibility with my time and allows me to travel whenever I need to. Take this week. I must go to a number of cities and call on numerous shops and restaurants. I will be gone for more than two and one-half weeks. If I was married and had kids, that would be very difficult to do. Being single gives me an advantage over some of my competitors.”

Greg is also the main winemaker for his operation and credits his degrees in biology and chemistry for helping him produce such excellent results in his wines. He is present whenever his grapes are harvested and during any bottling process. “Those times are absolutely critical and I wouldn’t want to miss any of them for any reason. It is too important to our end product to be there in person."

Greg has also maintained the ties with his old Jesuit education. He has become close with Fr. Jeff Dillon, S.J., his old principal at Jesuit High School in Dallas. Dillon is now active in the San Francisco area and has founded a charity Project Learn Belize (, that operates a school (Sacred Heart Elementary School) in Belize’s third largest city of Dangriga. Profits from the sales of some of Martellotto’s wines go directly to the charity, which enablers the school to buy supplies, books and technology. “It’s a great project,” informed Martellotto. “It has practically no overhead so the money goes directly to the school and the children. It has been quite rewarding to have been involved to this point.”

The future seems extremely bright for Greg Martellotto and his portfolio of fine wines. He is enthusiastic about his new winery sire in Buellton and the ability to finally have a tasting facility to be able to showcase his wine portfolio. He has survived the perilous time that accompanied the recession of a few years ago and is planning on his own vineyards for the foreseeable future.

There should be more individuals like Greg Martellotto in the wine business. He brings a unique approach and great vitality to a traditional and time honored business. You will hear more of him in the future.

About The Region

While the greater portion of fruit used in the production of Martellotto Cellars’ wines comes from within the broad confines of Santa Barbara County, Martellotto Cellars also utilizes wines from other wine producing areas of California, including cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain. Happily, numerous varietals can be found in Santa Barbara County, a fact that makes sourcing of grapes and wine a relatively pleasant task. The county contains a number of small climates that differ greatly due to nautical proximity and other contributing factors. Included are colder growing areas and some locales that fall into the hot category. There is also a great variety of soils that abound throughout the county offering a wide variety of accommodating growing spots

Lamb Meatballs & Arugula Salad


1 lb ground lamb
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup green onions, fine dice of whites only
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh mint
Vegetable oil
Fresh Arugula, rinsed
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


In a medium mixing bowl, add egg and whisk well. Add lamb, bread crumbs, feta, green onions, garlic and herbs to the bowl. Use hands to mix well and incorporate meat with herbs into smooth consistency. Use hands to roll 1-inch meatballs. The meatballs should be light and airy. Do not pack the meatball densely or else it will not cook property. Place on a plate.

Prepare two large plates or a cookie sheet and cover with two layers of paper towels. In a large saute pan, cover the bottom of the pan with 1/4 inch vegetable oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add meatballs. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn. Cook for about 8 minutes in total, depending on the thickness and size of the meatball. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

To prepare the salad: In a large salad bowl, toss arugula with extra virgin olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon to coat thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste. Divide the salad among bowls and add the lamb meatballs. Recipe provided by Martellotto Wines.

Crostini Cannellini e Pepperoni Appetizer


1 18-oz. can cannelloni beans
1 large red bell pepper, roasted & peeled
1 large yellow bell pepper,
roasted & peeled
1 whole garlic head
1 roma tomato
Fresh ciabatta bread
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, minced
Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
Sea salt and pepper to taste


Cut top 1/4 inch off of garlic head and place on a piece of aluminum foil. Pour some olive oil on top and a pinch of salt. Wrap up garlic with foil. Slice in half, remove seeds, and veins of bell peppers. Lightly brush with olive oil and salt. Roast in a pan with garlic in foil in the oven for 40 minutes at 375 degrees, until peppers are blistering. Remove pan. Place peppers in a plastic zip-lock bag and let sweat for 10 minutes, until cool to the touch. Peel skin. Remove roasted garlic from skin by squeezing from base of cloves.

Slice ciabatta bread. Lightly brush with olive oil and sea salt. Toast in oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes until lightly toasted and browned. Place beans, roasted peppers, olive oil, garlic to taste, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until a thick but spreadable consistency. Assemble the crostini. Slice the top off of the roma tomato. Rub the tomato onto the toasted bread only to slightly moisten and color the bread. If you love garlic, you can rub the bread with a garlic clove too. Spread the bean and pepper spread onto the bread. Sprinkle minced basil and then Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Recipe provided by Martellotto Wines.