Five Reasons to Love Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
Fran Endicott Miller
From its charming and popular Solvang, California tasting rooms, to the sheer number of delicious varietals it produces, Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards boasts a number of reasons that wine aficionados love the brand. Founded in 1996 by acclaimed viticulturist Louis Lucas and Superior Court Judge Royce Lewellen, the family-owned winery (Royce's son Mike serves as managing partner) grows 24 varietals across 380 estate acres of vineyards situated among three of Santa Barbara County’s most distinctive winegrowing regions: Santa Maria Valley, Los Alamos Valley, and Santa Ynez Valley.
Louis Lucas’ decades of farming experience and meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards yield superior quality grapes from which Lucas & Lewellen winemaker Megan McGrath Gates produces award-winning wines. And while there is no doubt that the wines indeed are the stars of this show, Lucas & Lewellen fans are equally as enamored with the brand’s overall aura – one that is congenial, welcoming, and generous. Here is why wine lovers love Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards:
From Nebbiolo, to Chardonnay, to Brut Sparkling, Lucas & Lewellen, under three distinct labels, produces wines for every palate. The brand’s namesake label Lucas & Lewellen features traditional French varieties from their estate vineyards. Broad market wines include: Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon – Valley View Vineyard, and Hidden Asset, a red blend. Broad Market ‘Icon’ wines include Goodchild ‘High 9’ Pinot Noir, and ‘Cote del Sol’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Limited Production Wines include a Brut Sparkling, Extra Brut Sparkling, Sparkling Wine, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay – Goodchild Vineyard, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Auranja Orange Muscat, Muscat, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec ‘Clone 6,’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Port.
The Toccata label features Italian varieties and blends: Sparkling Rosato, Malvasia Bianca Secco, Pinot Grigio, Malvasia Bianca, Sole Bianco (blend), Muscat Canelli, Moscato Di Santa Barbara, Moscato di Arancia, Late Harvest Moscato, Ramato, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Dolcetto, Classico (blend), Freisa, Nebbiolo, Nebbiolo Barbera, Sangiovese, and Riserva (blend).
The Queen of Hearts label includes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
THE TASTING ROOMS
Lucas & Lewellen boasts two pet and family-friendly tasting rooms in downtown Solvang, located one block from each other. Visitors to the Lucas & Lewellen and the Tuscan-flared Toccata Tasting Rooms experience an unforgettable wine tasting experience where on any given day, owners Royce Lewellen and Louis Lucas can be found behind the bar pouring wine and educating visitors. In addition to more than twenty world class wines, the Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room features a variety of gourmet foods, gifts, and unique wine related items. In the Italian spirit, the Toccata Tasting Room features Italian décor and is also an Old World marketplace featuring gourmet wine friendly foods, original paintings, and unique wine-related items.
THE WINE CLUB
Lucas & Lewellen offers one of the most flexible wine club membership plans in the wine business. No cost to join, with easy opt-outs, members can select their preferences as well as receive complimentary tastings at both Solvang tasting rooms. Each shipment includes a newsletter detailing the wines and the grapes, recipes created or chosen specifically to pair with each selection, and suggested cheese pairings. But more than great deals on wine, it’s the camaraderie enjoyed by Lucas & Lewellen Wine Club members that makes this wine club special. Through varied and spirited member events ranging from winemaker dinners, parties, tastings, tours, and classes, to river cruises throughout the world, such as a 2021 Luxembourg to Nuremberg AmaWaterways River Cruise (open to all), club members bond over their love of Lucas & Lewellen wines and often forge global friendships that last a lifetime.
THE WINEMAKER: MEGAN MCGRATH GATES
Winemaker for Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards since 2007, Megan McGrath Gates is a ninth generation Californian and direct descendant of the historic Olivas family of Ventura. Her winemaking career was launched as an enologist for Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the Sonoma Coast, crafting Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while she earned a Certificate in Winemaking from UC Davis. At Lucas & Lewellen she has enjoyed the opportunity to visit the wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont and Tuscany to broaden her winemaking views. She embraces centuries-old vintners’ practices, yet considers her style of winemaking to be neither Old World nor New World, instead believing in ‘balanced wines with all components married together so that layers of complexity are allowed to unfold.’
Never short on promotions, Lucas & Lewellen tempts with offers such as ‘Toccata Tuscan Three,’ three special wines (Riserva, Sangiovese, Classico) at a special price, or the ‘Quarantine Essentials,’ a six-pack of first class reds for $150 including freight. Currently, their 90-point Wine Enthusiast Editors Choice Pinot Noir (all estate grown; all French oak barrels) is offered to the general public at a wine club price.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/LucasLewellenVineyards/ for more information, and for news on virtual tastings.
Photos courtesy of Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards unless otherwise noted.