L’Ecole N° 41 is a second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.  Founded in 1983, we are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.  We have become one of the most prominent and visible Walla Walla Valley wineries with national and international distribution.

As a traditional brick and mortar winery, we are engaged in growing and making 100% of our wines.  Our focus is on terroir-driven, distinctive, and expressive wines.  This is achieved by our over thirty years of winemaking experience combined with dedicated, long-term relationships with some of the oldest and most proven vineyards in the Walla Walla and Columbia Valleys.

Today we are at the forefront of sustainable farming in the Walla Walla Valley, notably with our Estate Ferguson and Estate Seven Hills vineyards.  All of our Walla Walla Valley wines are made from grapes sourced from vineyards which are certified sustainable and Salmon Safe.

L’Ecole has garnered national and international accolades over the years for producing superior quality wines.  One of which we are most proud, being honored twelve consecutive years by Wine & Spirits Magazine as Winery of the Year, and becoming the second Washington winery inducted into its prestigious Hall of Fame.

Family

Marty Clubb is Managing Winemaker and co-owner of L’Ecole N° 41 with his wife Megan. This second generation, family-owned artisan winery was founded by Megan’s parents, Jean and Baker Ferguson, in 1983.

Marty’s ongoing dedication and commitment to the Washington state wine industry is evident in his many leadership roles. Marty, along with his partners Norm McKibben and Gary Figgins, were early viticulture pioneers in the Walla Walla. In 1997 they began the expansion of the original 20 acre Seven Hills Vineyard to the 230 acres it is now today. Marty is currently President and Director of the Washington Wine Institute and is one of two board members from Washington State for WineAmerica. He was instrumental in the founding of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and served as its president for six years. Marty worked with other industry pioneers in the development of the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture. He earned a chemical engineering degree from Texas A&M University.

Megan Clubb is currently President and CEO of Baker Boyer Bank in Walla Walla which was established in 1869 making it the oldest banking institution in Washington State. Megan graduated with a degree in economics from Whitman College, Walla Walla.  

Megan and Marty met while in graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. After graduating with a M.S. in Management and a wedding in Walla Walla, they began their business careers in San Francisco. Marty was a representative with Bechtel Development Company and Megan with Marakon Management Consulting. During the early winery years, Marty and Megan often returned in the fall to help Jean and Baker with harvest activities. In 1989 they took a leap of faith and moved to Walla Walla permanently, where Marty assumed responsibilities as manager and winemaker of L’Ecole N° 41.

Today Marty and Megan’s adult children, Riley and Rebecca, are involved in winery operations – the third generation of L’Ecole!

Founders, Jean & Baker Ferguson

Baker and Jean Ferguson were respected pioneers of the nascent Washington State wine industry when they founded L’Ecole N°41 in 1983, operating as the third winery in Walla Walla and the 20th commercial winery in the state. Baker and Jean’s shared passion for wine and belief in the Walla Walla Valley drove their decision to establish L’Ecole. Their first vintage of merlot in 1983 won the only Gold Medal issued by the 1986 Pacific Northwest Enological Society.

Jean Ferguson was L’Ecole’s first winemaker. A Washington State University home economics graduate, Jean had a great appreciation for food and wine, art and family. Baker credited Jean with having the distinguished palate saying he believed one learns more by cooking than by tasting food. You might have found Jean in a vineyard negotiating for grapes, in the lab running tests for sugars or inside a stainless steel tank cleaning - whatever the job, she always provided the pulse for the early L’Ecole.  

Baker’s primary winery role was varietal selection and targeting, marketing and sales. He spent countless hours working with Chas Nagel and Walter Clore selecting grape varietals that would perform superbly in the Columbia Valley. He was instrumental in carrying out the effort required to declare the Walla Walla Valley an official Washington State AVA in 1984. Baker entered the wine business late in life and his accomplishments before wine were many. He was a navigator in WWII until he was shot down over Kiel and spent two years in a German prison camp. He spent most of his business career as a banker, following in his family’s footsteps and serving as President of Baker Boyer Bank, the oldest bank in the State of Washington, for 18 years. Baker was the great-grandson of the bank’s founder, Dorsey Syng Baker. Megan has continued that family tradition, now serving as President and CEO of Baker Boyer Bank.

Baker was a lifelong supporter of Whitman College – as a student, faculty member, and longtime governing board member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In recognition of this support, Whitman College’s fitness facility was named the Baker Ferguson Fitness Center in 2005.

The Schoolhouse

The winery is located in the historic Frenchtown School just west of Walla Walla, Washington.  The image of the schoolhouse is the cornerstone of the L’Ecole brand and has been the centerpiece of our wine labels since the winery’s inception in 1983.  The original Frenchtown School was a log cabin built in 1870 along the shore of the Walla Walla River. It was rebuilt in 1915 in at our present location.

Frenchtown derived its name from the many French Canadians who settled in the Walla Walla Valley during the early 1800s.  Legend has it these men of French descent raised grapes and produced wine.  By the 1860s nurseries, vineyards and winemaking had become a part of the valley’s growing economy.  The name – L’Ecole N° 41, French for “the school” located in school district 41 – was chosen to salute these pioneer viticulture efforts.

The  image on our current label is a painting of the Frenchtown Schoolhouse based on a photograph taken in 1915, when it was newly-built.   It features an original painting which is a sepia-tone illustration of the school, capturing the heart and soul of the winery’s heritage and underscoring the winery’s historical roots in the Walla Walla Valley.

This image reflects the strengths of the winery today. L'Ecole is an authentic, hand-crafted artisan Washington brand, built on experience and innovation, and known for reliable, consistent quality wines.  We have adopted this historical rendition of the Schoolhouse for the labels across our entire wine portfolio.

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