Megan McGrath Gates

Megan McGrath Gates

Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards (Director of Winemaking)

Megan Gates grew up in a large family in California, where she learned that she could do anything she set her mind to. She decided to pursue her early interest in agriculture and earned a degree in Soil Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2001. Megan concentrated on soil conservation and developed a deep appreciation for terroir as a result. Her first job after graduation was working for the Cachuma Resource Conservation District, where she was involved in promoting soil conservation for agriculture, including vineyards. This experience was followed by a position at Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the Sonoma Coast as its enologist, crafting Burgundy-style Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. As a soil scientist, she also was an apprentice to Dr. Alfred Cass with Integrated Wine Growing Consortium, a group of consultants who are leaders in the field of vineyard development and management.

Megan later developed an interest in winemaking and completed a Certificate in Winemaking at the University of California, Davis. She is also a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program.

Megan made wines for several years in Sonoma County, one location being Cahill Winery in Sebastopol, where as winemaker she had the opportunity to work with Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa Valley fruit. She managed the winery facility and made wine under the Cahill label as well as for custom-crush clients, specializing in small-lot Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux varietals, and Syrah. Subsequently, in 2007 she was lured from Sonoma to the Central Coast, where she assumed the post of winemaker at Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards. She was promoted to Director of Winemaking in 2014.

Varietals produced under the flagship Lucas & Lewellen brand include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. In addition to these, wines are also produced under the Mandolina and Queen of Hearts labels. As a winemaker, Megan sees her job as allowing the grapes to showcase their natural characteristics. She believes in balanced wines with all components married so that layers of complexity are allowed to unfold.

When she is not managing the state-of-the-art Lucas & Lewellen winery in Solvang, Megan is enjoying time with her son or free-diving in search of abalone along the California coast.