Napa, CA – We are honored to announce the appointment of Chef Aaron Meneghelli as Executive Chef for both Louis M. Martini Winery and J Vineyards & Winery. Born and raised in the Napa Valley, he has an inherent understanding of the local food and wine industry and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will allow our wines to shine alongside innovative food offerings.
Chef Aaron Meneghelli was introduced to the importance of delicious, well-made dishes through his close-knit Italian family. “My grandparents were natural entertainers,” he says. “Everything we would do was centered around a meal. The community that happens around a table, that’s what started to drive my passion for food. It isn’t just about being able to cook something, it is focusing on the entire experience someone will have at my table.”
At Louis M. Martini Winery, Chef Meneghelli will enhance the wineries progressive Californian cuisine with traditions of Northern Italy, a place near and dear to both the Meneghelli and Martini families. Over the coming months, he plans work closely with the winemakers and the rest of the Martini team to dive into the customs of winemaking and food to create new offerings of endless possibilities. For his debut, he has planned a sumptuous, multi-course menu for the winery’s Celebration of Cabernet, an intimate dinner for club members to celebrate the full Crown Cabernet Collection, a group of Cabernets that embody our most coveted mountain vineyards.
His arrival to J marks an exciting new chapter for the winery. The Bubble Room reopened on September 24th with an elegant and inspired pairing menu that emphasizes fresh, local products and exquisite technique. In developing his menus, Chef Meneghelli begins with the wines, building flavors and textures within his dishes that showcase the nuances and structure of each wine pairing. “I don’t want to build a menu and then figure out what wines go best with the dish, I want to lead with the wine and have the flavors of the food highlight what’s in the glass,” he says.
Becoming Executive Chef for Louis M. Martini and J Vineyards & Winery is “destiny manifested,” says Chef Meneghelli. “I’ve been working toward this kind of a challenge. This opportunity came to me and it became the perfect ‘wow’ moment in my career. I’m excited to be part of the culinary and winemaking history at these properties. This feels so right — there are so many aspects/details to explore.” Prior to joining the Louis Martini and J teams, he worked under Chef Sarah Scott at Robert Mondavi Winery and with Chef Richard Reddington at his Yountville restaurants before joining Ange`le in 2008 as Executive Chef, helping the latter earn its first Michelin Bib Gourmand. Following that, he had stints at The Carneros Inn in Sonoma as Executive Sous Chef and Calistoga Ranch as Executive Chef. In 2015, he joined Napa’s Carneros Resort and Spa, rising in 2018 to Director of Food & Beverage for the estate’s three restaurants, FARM at Carneros, Boon Fly Cafe´ and the Hilltop Dining Room, as well as overseeing the resort’s culinary gardens.
“Chef Aaron’s diversity in his ability to bring flavors to the table — whether they’re bold and rich or elegant and sophisticated — matches the portfolio of wines on each of our estates,” says Lindsey Auchter, Director of Consumer Experience. “His connection to wine country is invaluable. His childhood memories, having grown up with his hands in the local soils and the relationships he has with farmers and producers makes him the ideal Chef to lead our culinary team as we continue to strive forexcellence,” she adds.