Topel Winery


Topel Winery and Estate Vineyard

At 1,400 feet of elevation, on the southern edge of Mendocino County’s Sanel Valley, Topel Winery and Estate sits above the Russian ​River and its fog lines. Duncan Peak is to the west of the estate, and is flanked by the Yorkville Highlands and Alexander Valley ​appellations, both to the south.

In the late 1980’s, the Topel family discovered our old sheep farm, perched on the hills west of Hopland. They quickly recognized the ​potential for grape growing on this ideal parcel of land and discovered that it has perfect growing conditions for Bordeaux varieties.

Today, the Topel Winery Estate has a total of 160-acres, with only 15 prime vineyard acres planted to Vitis vinifera (wine grapes). The rest ​of this pristine land is left to nature; oaks, manzanitas, coyotes, hawks, and rattlesnakes add to its characteristic grandeur. Our varieties ​include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot.

This site is made very special by the Maymen-Etsel-Snook complex soils, hosting our vines. The Maymen-Etsel-Snook complex soil type ​is mostly composed of weathered shale and sandstone. This contributes to excessive drainage and tough growing conditions; yet, it’s ​perfect for premium grape growing. The battle for water, nutrients, and minerals result in small concentrated berries, with phenomenal ​color and flavors. Furthermore, our 4 x 5-foot planting ensures that all work in our sloping vineyard is done by hand – no tractors or ​machines. This slow and strenuous way of farming allows our vineyard team to learn its every contour and every vine. As vignerons, we ​use this knowledge during harvest to fillet the vineyard row-by-row, or vine-by-vine, to select the perfectly ripe clusters, at the exact ​right time.

When harvest time arrives, we accept, with humility, that the quality of our fruit has been set by nature and our helping hands in the ​vineyard. Grapes are fermented in small batches of about one ton. This allows us to keep each pick separate, and then to learn what ​each has to offer.



Martin was born with an innate passion for craft, agriculture, and nature.

Persuaded by a 2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite and a 2007 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Les Greffieux, he traveled to the Rhône Valley for a ​winery apprenticeship, at the iconic M. Chapoutier – the producer of legendary Hermitage wines. Martin immersed himself in the art of terroir-​driven winemaking, under then Directeur Technique Guillaume Pouthier. The daily ritual of hard, manual labor in the cellar, team lunches, and the ​closing of long days with incredible meals perfectly paired with classic wines, convinced Martin that this is his craft and lifelong journey.

Eager to continue exploring the wine world, he traveled to Mendoza – the world’s Malbec mecca. There, he joined the Viña Cobos team for harvest – ​marking the beginning of his seven-year tutelage, under world-renowned Winemaker Paul Hobbs. After harvest, enthralled by Paul’s knowledge ​and passion for viticulture and winemaking, Martin followed Hobbs back to his flagship winery in Sebastopol, California. At Paul Hobbs Winery, ​Martin served various roles from cellar worker to head of the enology department.

Now, after Mark Topel’s retirement, Martin is at the helm of Topel’s winemaking – crafting elegantly complex, well-balanced wines from the Estate ​Vineyard and other unique sites. His philosophy is born from respect for the land – allowing each site to speak for itself, taking a minimalist ​approach in the cellar, and focusing on the vineyard. As a vigneron, Martin’s goal is to capture the essence of the terroir; as a winemaker, he aims to ​craft truly distinctive and delicious wines.

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PO Box 550, Hopland, CA 95449

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