Santa Barbara Wine Country Pioneer Is Driving Force Behind Lucas & Lewellen Winery
In 1970, when Louis Lucas left his table grape-growing family in California’s hot Central Valley to try his hand at wine grapes in comparably cool Santa Barbara County, the 28-year-old Notre Dame graduate found himself staring at a blank canvas.
“So, how did you get in the wine business, Judge?”
That’s a question I’m often asked. Here’s the story: I first met Louis Lucas shortly after I moved from Solvang to Santa Maria in 1975. We were both members of the Santa Maria Wine & Food Society and the Rotary Club of Santa Maria. Louis was growing wine grapes in the Santa Maria Valley and selling them primarily to wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties, where wines made from his grapes won high honors. Louis and I became friends, especially enjoying the Wine and Food Society events together. In 1989, as a Superior Court Judge, I performed the ceremony when Louis and Jill were married.
Louis Lucas, a third generation grape grower, and Superior Court Judge Royce Lewellen met in 1975 through the Santa Maria Wine & Food Society. Louis was a well respected grower who had been supplying premium wine grapes for reputable Napa and Sonoma wineries for decades. Royce Lewellen was a passionate wine enthusiast with a vision for the future of the Santa Barbara County wine industry.