Get the Dirt About TOP Winery from owner Elena Martinez

10 Oct

toppeepsMy husband (Stanley Barrios) and I are first generation Latinos in the United States. Our families came from El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico to the United States with very little. They all had the same common goal of opportunity for themselves and their children. Growing up, we lived in different neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and learned first hand that if you work hard you can build a better life for yourself.

We met in high school, dated throughout college, and married in our early twenties. We are proud to say, we will celebrate our 9 year Anniversary on November 10th, right before the Garagiste Festival.

When Stanley and I were dating, he was a beer and cognac dude. Little did I know introducing him to wine was going to change his whole world. We started traveling to different wine regions around the world with a focus on our own back yard – the Central Coast, Sonoma County, and Napa Valley. We started collecting wines and finally Stanley felt he needed to become more involved with wine. He started reading everything he could about wine making and became a bit obsessed about wine, in a good way.

topvineyardIn 2013, we met Nick Elliott of Nicora at a wine event in Los Angeles. We loved his wine, and after a long conversation that night Stanley offered his time to Nick in the cellar, anxious to get his hands dirty. When the 2013 harvest arrived Stanley did just that, but after his first week of cellar work he was so entranced with the process that he dedicated all of his vacation time from work to immerse himself in what became his passion. He would leave Los Angeles every Friday after work and make the 3-4 hour drive to Paso Robles, working Friday night through Sunday evenings learning all that he could. Monday mornings it was back to work in Downtown Los Angeles. Every week was the same routine until the last fermentation was pressed off and barreled.

In 2014 we pulled the trigger to follow our dream and start our own wine program, and so created TOP, specializing in Rhone reds and selected white wines. Our mission is to create wines with minimal intervention using our senses as our guide to craft wines of complexity, power and longevity.

Before and after harvest season we continue to live in Los Angeles, maintaining our full time corporate jobs and commute to Tin City Paso Robles to work in the cellar or check on the six vineyards that graciously provide us fruit from Santa Ynez, Lompoc, Edna Valley, to West side Paso Robles. There are days we travel 6 hours round trip for just for 20 minutes of work. Although hiring help is an option, Stanley is much more comfortable doing the work himself.

13092120_1614030892216120_2557234202854220801_nSeeing his passion grow, during harvest Stanley now receives a two month sabbatical from work to make our wine. Since we are a crew of two, I visit and help Stanley at the winery during the weekends and try to sneak away one more day from work if I can midweek. This is probably one of our biggest sacrifices in following our dream, having some what of a long distance relationship for a short period of time. Essentially we are two people living in two zip codes but with one dream.

We truly love every aspect of this industry. Stanley loves making wine and I love showcasing the amazing wine he has crafted. We are excited to share our first vintage along side our fellow Garagistes.

For more information about TOP Winery, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

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