It had been nearly four months since our group of wine tasting friends had assembled. Caution with fears of the pandemic caused us to put our get-togethers on hold. This week, we decided to test the waters. Ken and Taryn graciously invited us to their home to safely return to one of our passions.
Today, I have the pleasure of exploring one of their wineries, which also has vineyards: Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards. I received a great sampling of their wines; and, through these flavors, I can now begin to understand Santa Barbara’s American Viticultural Area (AVA) a bit more. Remember Sideways?
Among other things, it takes a good winemaker to make a good Pinot Noir. Megan McGrath Gates has been the winemaker for Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards since 2007. 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.
When Megan McGrath Gates was a little girl, she would listen to the stories of her grandparents. A ninth-generation Californian, Gates was raised in Riverside. But, her ancestors were ranchers and she is a direct descendant of the historic Olivas family in Ventura, California.
Despite her ancestors, Gates was a typical suburban kid. Her dad is a lawyer and her mom is a teacher. She is one of six children and has a twin sister. With all of the romantic stories about her family, she dreamed about being a rancher and living a bucolic life.