Rachel Martin, Executive Vice President of Boxwood Winery, manages all aspects of THE BOXWOOD WINERY in Middleburg, Virginia. The daughter of owners Rita and John Kent Cooke, Martin was appointed to the position in 2005, the year Boxwood Winery was completed. Martin is devoted to producing fine wines at Boxwood in the Bordeaux tradition with their own Virginia expression and pursues her commitment with a passion. In fact, Martin, who is a native Virginian, takes “great pride in having an influential role in elevating the Virginia wine industry to national recognition.”
Q: How did you get in to the business of wine and ultimately become the EVP of Boxwood Winery?
A: My parents, Rita and John Kent Cooke purchased Boxwood Farm in Middleburg, Virginia. After recognizing the growth and potential of Virginia as a premium wine region, we went on to plant a vineyard and build a winery on the property.
I accepted the position as EVP once we were established in 2005. In preparation to do so, I went to Napa Valley to study viticulture and enology at Napa Valley College for one year and then to Bordeaux France to study sensory evaluation of wine at the University of Bordeaux the next.
Q: We understand the big news for Boxwood Winery right now is the 2010 Merlot Harvest that starts in Sept. & release the of your 2008 Vintage! Please tell us about them.
A: Harvest this year is just right around the corner. 2010 is promising to be a great vintage for Virginia. Specifically in our vineyard we are noticing our vines maturing enabling them to sustain more fruit and develop a greater complexity in the grapes. The clusters are full with small berries and uniform throughout the vineyard.
Both our Boxwood 2008 and Topiary 2008 will be released in just a few weeks. However, we have had prerelease dinners and three wines were very well received.
Q: You just hosted an amazing event this past Friday called Outstanding in the Field, with award winning Chef R.J. Cooper. What was involved and when is the next one?
A: Yes, RJ approached me to be involved in the dinner. He had heard great things about our wines and wanted a local approach. The event was held at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville Virginia by Outstanding in the Field. The dinner was held on top of a hill on a farm which raises organic humanely raised meats and vegetables.
Our next dinner is this Friday at The Ashby Inn in Paris Virginia. The Chef is Tarver King and the setting is magnificent. Tarver will be pairing dishes with our wines one of which will be a the Topiary 2008 Vintage.
Q: In addition to your vineyard in Middleburg, Va. (which offers tours by appointment only) you have two wine bars in the Washington, DC area called the Tasting Room (one in Reston, VA & one in Chevy Chase, MD). We hear you have live music some nights. What kind of experience can your patrons expect?
A: The Tasting Room Wine Bar’s are a sophisticated environment with a relaxed atmosphere. There is live jazz music Wednesdays and Saturdays and in Chevy Case and guest performances Wednesdays and Saturdays in Reston.
Q: You mentioned that you will be hosting a wine dinner at the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford, England Oct. 19th. How often do you host European events and where primarily?
A: We are just beginning to do events outside the USA. Our first will be withThe Oxford Times Wine Club "A Virginia Dinner Tasting" at the Cherwell Boathouse in England.
Q: You will be featured in an upcoming PBS piece on winethat will air Oct. 5th & 7th on prime time television. How exciting! What is it about and how did that come about?
A: The feature is on the wine region of Virginia, most notably in the Charlottesville area. Boxwood Winery will be part of that story.
Q: What is your ultimate goal for Boxwood Winery?
A: The Goal for Boxwood Winery is to attain an international reputation as a premium wine.
Q: What's your favorite thing to do in Middleburg horse country?
A: Watching Saturday Twilight Polo matches at THE GREAT MEADOW in The Plains and any afternoon polo match at Banbury Cross in Middleburg.
Q: What music are you listening to right now?