The vineyards of of Lucas & Lewellen have fast become legendary for lovers of distinctive premium wines from Santa Barbara County. The wines have their beginning in 400 acres of land planted to 25 unique varieties in the county’s three principal growing regions. These regions feature microclimates ranging from cool Santa Maria Valley, to moderate Los Alamos Valley, to warm Santa Ynez Valley.
From these distinctive vineyards come the grapes that create a marvelous portfolio of full-flavored reds including Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Port; and white wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, and Chardonnay. A méthode champenoise Sparkling wine (a rarity in the region), rounds out the Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards portfolio.
The winery was co-founded in 1996 by Louis Lucas, who has been growing grapes in Santa Barbara County since the early 1970s, and his longtime friend and retired Superior Court Judge Royce Lewellen. Louis is a consummate farmer who practices the simple philosophy of handpicking select grapes to make quality wines at a reasonable price. The wines are all crafted by Megan McGrath Gates, who started with the winery in 2007. "We make many decisions during the growing, fermenting, and aging stages, but ultimately the grape really expresses itself," Megan says.
Lucas & Lewellen also produces a line of wines under the Toccata showcasing estate-grown Italian varietals, including Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Moscato, Sangiovese, and Super-Tuscan blends of Italian and Bordeaux varietals.
Visitors to Santa Ynez Valley’s quaint village of Solvang are delighted to discover two tasting rooms that pour Lucas & Lewellen wines within one block of each other. The Toccata tasting room is reminiscent of Tuscany, featuring Toccata wines, gourmet foods, and wine-related gift items. The Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room, voted The Best Tasting Room in Santa Ynez Valley by locals, provides a choice of tasting options, gourmet foods, and a gift shop. Families are welcome. In fact, wine tasting is made easy for parents, with an activity table for children. And canine friends are welcome, too.