Martine’s Wines, an importer, changes hands

martine saunier Martine Saunier started a wine import business in 1979 because she “couldn’t find anything exceptional to drink.” As of last week, she sold that company. Unlike another major transaction this month in the wine world, the buyers are identified and there’s a very professional press release.

Saunier, 78, built the business based in Novato, CA to include such venerable estates as Henri Jayer, Chateau Rayas, and Domaine Leroy. She has been hailed as a “rock star of the wine world” and an “importer extraordinaire.” She and many of her producers will be featured in a documentary entitled “A Year in Burgundy,” due out next year on DVD.

The buyers are Gregory Castells and Kate Laughlin. Castells had a career in wine service in restaurants, including as Head Sommelier at the French Laundry but has most recently been at Soutirage, a Napa-based wine retailer while Laughlin was in advertising and operations, most recently at Soutirage. As I said, the press release is very thorough (apparently, she started out in public relations). The company, also a distributor, will continue to be called Martine’s Wines.

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6 Responses to “Martine’s Wines, an importer, changes hands”


  1. Congrats to all involved

    Martine did an event in our store last year, for our clients. A very special woman, and a great portfolio of wines.

    NIce jab on Parker!


  2. Hi Daniel – Glad you have had good interactions with her. I’ve only met her in passing. But, yes, her portfolio is strong (particularly in California). Who is her NY distributor?

    Have you seen “A Year in Burgundy”?


  3. I will never forget a Leroy tasting Martine did at the Waldorf Astoria just over ten years ago. It was beautiful, and her passion for excellence was very clear. A true professional.


  4. Martine’s is self distributed in NY:

    Martine’s Wines, Inc. (via USA Wine Imports)
    New York, NY
    Tel: Toll-Free: 800-344-1801


  5. […] Something about Martine or the article stuck with me and I couldn’t shake it.  The article, Martine’s Wine, an importer, changes hands, discussed Martine Saunier, a woman wine importer who started her import business in 1979.  She is […]


  6. Martine is one of the nicest people in the industry. She is genuine and has real class. I’ve enjoyed the wines she imports for many years and I’m glad to see that her company didn’t go to a mega corp. like Gallo or Constellation.


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