President of the Board of Directors of the Leducq Foundation
Brought up among the vineyards and olive groves of La Mancha, Martín was introduced to the singular power of food and wine early on. From childhood to present day, two key constants have remained in his life: a close connection to the Leducq family and a deep respect for hard work. “I don’t remember not knowing Jean and Sylviane Leducq, they’ve always been part of my life. My commitment to them is forever,” Martín says.
An avid sportsman, Martin’s father started a hunting business in Spain in the 1960s. The Leducq family would frequent their grounds annually, shooting for partridge, playing with the resident dogs and exploring the scenic terrain. They were so enamored by the area that they purchased a property nearby.
Martín earned the trust of the Leducq’s as a teenager, playing roles typically reserved for somebody twice his age. At first, he helped them manage their property in Spain. He went on to study at university before a yearlong banking stint in London. Around that time, the Leducqs were creating their foundation and needed a dependable person with a certain financial aptitude. They thought of Martín.
Always treated as part of the family, Martín inherited the Leducq’s genuine notion of entrepreneurship—a meticulous and ever-generous approach that champions motivation and dedication over money. While selling his enormously successful company of some 15,000 employees, Jean hired a mid-twenty-something Martín to help with the next chapter of the Leducq legacy. “It was very moving and very demanding,” Martín recalls. “I couldn’t sleep for a week when I was given that responsibility. But you gain experience and become more comfortable with time.”
Still young and eager to help, Martin admired the way the Leducqs so tirelessly engaged in their work. He learned to just how vital it was to approach a business with care, humility and a humane outlook. “There was absolutely no room for procrastination,” he says.
For Martín, Ehlers Estate represents not only a familiar glimpse into his countryside Spanish upbringing, but a natural extension of the Leducq’s lifestyle. Built around fiercely dedicated people as much as outstanding wines, the St. Helena estate preserves a legacy born generations ago in Europe. “I felt an emotional connection with Ehlers Estate immediately,” Martín says.
Like David Tancredi, Martin sees a lot of the Leducq character in the label, especially its talented vintner. “The dedication that Laura has is total,” he says. “Not just in terms of the quality of the wine, but in her wholehearted commitment to the estate itself and the careful cultivation of the vineyard”.
It’s easy for Martín to imagine Jean and Sylviane enjoying some of the estate Cabernet Sauvignon and conversing in the picturesque grounds of Ehlers, as they did countless times after dinners or during gatherings. “It was a part of their culture from day one—enjoying wine and appreciating the lifestyle that goes around it,” he says. “It was integral to their personalities.”
Clearly, the Leducq’s saw something special in Ehlers when they finalized the re-unification of the original estate in 2001, a process that began in 1988. The family’s good fortune enabled them to acquire just about any winery in the world, but they chose Ehlers. Like the first stewards of the Napa estate back in 1886, the Leducq’s recognized genuine potential at Ehlers Estate and an invitation to establish an unrivaled yet approachable operation.
Martín is President of the Leducq organization’s Board of Directors. He’s been with the foundation Trust since 1996 and continues to guide it with the same self-effacing spirit of dedication and excellence that earned the Leducq family so many friends and so much success.
“It is a privilege,” Martín says. “Every day, when I wake up, I count myself lucky to be part of the work that we’re doing”.