Sunday, March 1, 2009

Luis E. Reyneri,
Majestic Fine Wines

Born in Havana, Cuba – Luis’ family emigrated in 1968 to NY and then in 1976 to Florida. Luis is a Boston University graduate and completed a semester abroad in Belgium where he caught the wine bug in Europe. During a 9-month sabbatical in 2004 with his wife, Jen (a photographer), and their 9 month old son, they jaunted through the vineyards of Europe recording their inspiration along the way. Luis worked harvest in Germany and in Burgundy (France). The Reyneri’s have two sons: Makani Kai 5, years old, and Luke Ezra, 1 year old.

He loved his experience working with the House of Blues – Las Vegas. “So much fun,” he said. In 2001 he heard about the Court of Master Sommeliers and began his journey towards the Master Sommelier diploma for which he is a candidate in 2009. Luis is the East Coast Prestige Account Manager for Jackson Family Wines.

1. What are your inspirations? Having been born in Cuba, I am very appreciative of the hospitality industry’s opportunities that exist. I enjoy traveling with my family when I can. The food and wine culture and community really are exciting– I try to teach my sons how to appreciate life.

2. How did you get started in the wine industry? During my semester abroad in Brussels, I worked at the Sheraton as a busser. We had a culinary class and tasted a ’45 Cheval Blanc. It was that epiphany moment. Later I had a candlelit dinner at the cellar at Mumm in Champagne and I knew this was the industry for me.

3. What expressions or words do you exclaim most often? Come on! (Said with a blended New York/Florida accent). All the Best!

4. How do you gauge happiness? For me, it’s very familial. My two boys – every day that I can see them and be with them is a lucky day.

5. How do you prepare yourself for tastings? Well preparing for blind exams – I ask the good lord to give me the sense of sight and taste.

6. If you could only pick one extravagance to take with you on the proverbial desert island what would you pick? An abundance of shrimp and champagne. I love shrimp. I’m a scuba diver.

7. What is your greatest love? In addition to My Wife, spending time with my boys on the water. I live near the beach in North Palm Beach, FL.

8. What is the most important issue that just doesn’t get the attention it deserves? Common Sense – if I could bottle common sense, I’d be a rich man. People have just lost track of politeness and traditional values. Please and thank you, hold the door open, let people in, in traffic. Hospitality teaches you to be graceful and respectful.

9. How has the world of wine changed since you started? The Internet, {gives} more accessible education means to empower the consumer that puts a greater emphasis on winemakers to create better and better wines.

10. How do you think you’ll know when you’ve achieved enough? The road to perfection is always under construction. I was brought up to continue to strive. Success is a journey not a destination. “There is no joy in smooth sailing”

11. What tickles your fancy? To one day own a place in Cuba, go fishing and diving with my family and enjoy a fine Cuban cigar.

12. Which celebrity, past or present, do you most identify with? Bono – he’s doing great things.

13. Last meal on earth would be…? A typical Cuban meal cooked by my mother. Every day is a celebration. Why deal with bad people, bad food, and bad wine.

14. What is the next stepping-stone for you? To achieve the Master Sommelier diploma, I’d like to be the first Cuban Master Sommelier and one day is able to help the Cuban people in our industry...

Luis Reyneri can be contacted at


Heather said...

great interview!

Le Meems said...

He is one of the kindest, sweetest -- most motivating people to have the pleasure of speaking with and joking with ;)