Member Spotlight: L’Ecole No. 41

Member Spotlight: L’Ecole No. 41

By Paul Schlienz


Located in southeastern Washington’s Walla Walla Valley, L’Ecole No. 41 is a third-generation family-owned artisan winery started in 1983. Since then, the accolades have poured in, and the winery is a national and international destination for wine connoisseurs.

“L’Ecole No. 41 was the third winery established in the Walla Walla Valley and was involved in the creation of the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area and Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance,” said Ashley Mahan, chief operating officer of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “To say that it has helped create the Walla Walla Valley’s reputation as an esteemed wine region would be an understatement.”

Martin Clubb, L’Ecole No. 41’s managing winemaker and co-owner, is proud of the accolades.

“We’ve been named by Wine & Spirits magazine as one of its top 100 wineries of the year on 14 different occasions, which puts us on a very short list of around 15 winners that made the list that many times,” said Clubb, who has been with the winery since 1989 and is a board member of the Washington Wine Institute.

Among the many awards and rave reviews L’Ecole No. 41 has received, one that stands out is the trophy its Ferguson Estate Vineyard received for the best Bordeaux blend in the world from the Decanter World Wine Awards.

“That was a big deal for us,” Clubb said.

What is also a big deal for Clubb and an important part of L’Ecole No. 41 operation is sustainable farming.

“Our vineyards are all classified as sustainable and certified salmon-safe,” Clubb said. “We don’t use a lot of herbicides and pesticides and we use mostly organic practices. We do our composting. We try to be as natural as we can be with the idea and goal of allowing our vineyards specificity and individuality to show through in the taste of our wine.”

Another important priority or Clubb and L’Ecole No. 41 is giving back to the community.

“The wine industry, in general, is involved in a lot of charitable activity,” Clubb said. “In the Pacific Northwest, what most people flag as the No. 1 event of the year is the Auction of Washington Wines, held at Chateau Ste. Michelle, in Woodinville, and to which we contribute.”

The primary beneficiary is Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“A handful of years ago, my wife and I were the wine industry chairs of that auction,” Clubb said. “If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit the children’s hospital, it’s a bit of a heartbreaker when you see some of the kids, but it makes you feel good about wanting to support the hospital’s work.”

Additionally, other charities put on events at L’Ecole No. 41’s winery.

“We have a fairly significant charitable contributions program,” Clubb added. “One of our people manages that aspect of what we do as a major chunk of her time.”

Clubb is also proud of his tasting room staff.

“They’re informed,” he added. “We call them ‘wine educators.’”

Thus, even if you know nothing about wine, L’Ecole No. 41 is a perfect place to learn about it amid a beautiful natural environment.

For more information of L’Ecole No. visit

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