Lucas & Lewellen Promotes Winemaker Megan McGrath Gates
Megan McGrath Gates, a certified professional soil scientist and producer of distinctive small-lot wines of character, is named director of winemaking at Santa Barbara County’s Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards. Owners Royce Lewellen and Louis Lucas promoted McGrath Gates and expanded her scope of operations effective immediately. McGrath Gates, who is in her seventh year as Lucas & Lewellen’s winemaker, while continuing to manage the award winning winemaking program.
“I am extremely gratified and feel so fortunate to be a part of the Lucas & Lewellen team. It defines the best of Santa Barbara County wine grape growing and winemaking. The qualities that our wines are frequently recognized for begin in the vineyard with Louis Lucas, are nurtured by our excellent winemaking staff, and then made available to wine lovers all over the world with the support and business guidance of Royce Lewellen. I’m particularly happy to continue to be the hands-on winemaker, while getting the chance to explore additional aspects of our business,” she said.
Megan McGrath-Gates is a Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo soils sciences graduate, who earned her Certificate in Winemaking from UC Davis. Beyond her winemaking skills, McGrath Gates is an expert in geographic information systems and soil survey. As wines are increasingly singled out for terroir or unique sense-of-place, Megan stands out in the field as a “grounds” up winemaker. She works closely with Lucas & Lewellen co-owner and acclaimed viticulturist, Louis Lucas, who chooses the right wine variety to suit the appropriate soil, micro-climate, and unique management requirements of the vineyard to produce wines of complexity and balance.
“I think we’ve reached a point at Lucas & Lewellen, with the number of wines we make and the work that it all entails, that it takes more than a winemaker to accomplish our goals. At a winery of our size, we all have to do a little bit of everything and Megan does it all well,” says Lucas.
Owner and president Royce Lewellen says McGrath-Gates will excel in her new role, further securing the quality that Lucas & Lewellen Wines are becoming known for, “Megan is a perfectionist. She won’t tolerate anything less than her best. She is naturally endowed with a very sensitive pallet, smell, and taste. All this, combined with her background in chemistry; makes for a real quality winemaker. We consider her an enormous asset to Lucas & Lewellen. Her creativity in winemaking is energizing our winery and management team. We are very fortunate to have a person of her caliber with us, and are continually impressed by her contributions.”
The success of the wine team continues to be recognized by experts at premier wine competitions. Recently, nearly two-dozen medals were awarded to Lucas and Lewellen wines in 2013 and 2014 competitions that featured thousands of wines. The Lucas & Lewellen awards include three Gold Medals and a highly coveted “Best of Class”:
• San Francisco International Wine Competition, Gold Medal – Lucas & Lewellen 2008 “Clone 6” Cabernet Sauvignon
• Central Coast Wine Competition, Gold Medal - 94, and “Best of Class” – Lucas & Lewellen 2010 Malbec
• Orange County Commercial Wine Competition, Gold Medal – Lucas & Lewellen 2007 Petit Verdot.
Lucas & Lewellen wines are available nationwide and in select foreign markets.
About the Vineyards
Lucas and Lewellen Vineyards include 400 acres planted with 25 varietals in three Santa Barbara County microclimates: the Santa Maria Valley, the Los Alamos Valley, and the Santa Ynez Valley.