MARTIN BERNAL-HAFNER, VIGNERON and WINEMAKER
Martin, a native of Colombia, was born with an innate passion for craft, agriculture, and nature.
Disenchanted by a career in finance, and 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, and well-balanced wines, from our Estate Vineyard, as well as 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, his goal is to craft truly distinctive and delicious wines.