A Peek Inside the Barrel

Posted in Farming on Monday, June 06, 2022

A Peek Inside the Barrel

Grapes, Soil and Sun

Second in the nation, only just behind Napa Valley, Walla Walla has become the go-to destination for vintners and connoisseurs alike. With 120 wineries and more than 2,900 acres of grapes in the area, this spot has become a haven for wine enthusiasts around the world. Walla Walla’s vineyards produce some of the most sought-after grapes, and L’Ecole N° 41 is one of the premiere vineyards and wineries in the area. 

Marty Clubb is managing winemaker and co-owner of the winery with his wife, Megan, and children, Riley and Rebecca. This family-owned artisan winery was founded by Megan’s parents, Jean and Baker Ferguson, in 1983. “This building was part of the Walla Walla School District, and it was school district number 41,” Clubb explained to Washington Grown’s host, Kristi Gorenson, regarding their location. “L’Ecole, of course, means ‘the school’ in French. We’re trying to tie the history of the school with it being a winery now.”

Washington really is a wonderful place for growing grapes. “Our latitude means that during the summer, we have more sunshine,” said Clubb. “Of course, sunshine is what drives photosynthesis and plant growth and feeds the sugar into the grapes. While it might be wet in Seattle, it’s dry here in Eastern Washington. We can really control our vine vigor and control the berry weight growth. It’s a combination of all these factors that really plays into the perfect climate for wine. People often say Washington wines are new world fruit but old world structure in terms of balance and elegance.”

The L’Ecole barrel room contains roughly 2,500 barrels, and a barrel holds about 25 cases of wine on average.

“We’ve got quite a bit of experience in terms of field know-how in terms of cultivating the vines to really produce the best fruit, because the best fruit ultimately leads to the best wine,” said Clubb. “Our wines are very popular in Seattle, and they are growing in popularity in Spokane and Portland. We have now grown to a point where we distribute our wines throughout the country. You can actually find L’Ecole in virtually every state.”

L’Ecole is one of many favorite spots in Washington for wine enthusiasts.