L?Ecole 41 was founded in 1983 by Jean and Baker Ferguson and is now run by their daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Marty Clubb. The schoolhouse after which the winery is named was built in 1915 in Frenchtown, a small community just west of Walla Walla whose own name is derived from the many French-Canadians who settled there in the early 1800?s and planted the original vineyards. The French name of the winery is in recognition of their efforts (the number 41 is the number of the precinct to which the school once belonged).The goal at L?Ecole 41 is to achieve clean, ripe, stylistically expressive and aromatic wines that allow the character of the individual vineyards to shine through. There is the focus we would expect on vineyard management and minimal winemaking: gravity flow, minimal handling, aggressive pruning and green harvesting and sustainable vineyard practices.The crown jewels at L?Ecole 41 are the two single vineyards in Walla Walla which they jointly own with Leonetti Cellar and Pepper Bridge winery. These are the Seven Hills vineyard, which provides something like 35% of the winery?s production, and Pepper Bridge, which was planted in 1991 and now covers around 180 acres. The two vineyards are ten miles apart and have very different characters, Seven Hills on loess soil and Pepper Bridge on alluvial deposits. The remaining 50% of fruit comes from established relationships with proven Columbia Valley vineyards such as Klipsun and Wahluke Slope.
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