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Biographies

Biographies



 
 

JEAN LEDUCQ, FOUNDER

Jean Leducq was born on December 7, 1919. Even as a very young child, he was influenced by his familyís passion for food and wine. His Grandparents founded famed Le Grand CafÈ, Paris and his daily meals as a boy were prepared by the familyís cook, Auguste Escoffier. In 1945, Leducq completed his advanced degree in law and eventually joined the familyís laundry business. His first assignment was in Rouen where he was challenged to restore to full capacity a family factory destroyed by the war. Before long, the factory was churning out nearly 80 tons of clean laundry a week and Leducq was considered a savior among the American soldiers for whom the factory processed blankets and uniforms.  Mr. Leducqís business became the largest family-owned business in France with operations in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain.  As the company grew so did Mr. Leducqís interests outside the laundry business. In 1983 these interest were pursued and he and partner, Norman Martin, started Prince Michel Vineyards in Leon, Virginia. Over 70 acres of vines were planted near the area Thomas Jefferson had planted over 200 years earlier in his own attempt to produce wine. Prince Michel Vineyards now includes over one hundred planted acres, a restaurant, tasting room and wine shop.

 

KEVIN MORRISEY, WINEMAKER

Kevin Morrisey’s approach to winemaking is an extension of his connection to the land and his passion for winegrowing. His greatest joy in the craft lies in creating site-specific, terroir-driven wines of impeccable structure, balance, and complexity. After graduating with a Master of Science degree in Enology from UC Davis, Kevin went to France to intern in Pomerol with the legendary Jean-Claude Berrouet at Château Pétrus. From that experience he returned to the Napa Valley and joined Stags’ Leap Winery in 1998 where he quickly rose through the ranks to become Associate Winemaker, making Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay.  In 2003 he was recruited by a personally important mentor, Tony Soter, to serve as his winemaker for Etude Wines, where he spend two years immersed in exceptional Pinot Noir and more top tier Cabernet Sauvignon. Then in 2005, when Robert Brittan retired from Stags’ Leap, Kevin was asked back to take over the top job as Winemaker and General Manager where he played an instrumental role in further building the reputation of that historic property.

At the end of the 2008 vintage, Kevin accepted the “dream winemaking position” at Ehlers Estate. One of the few Napa Valley certified organic and biodynamic wine estates, with Bordeaux varietals growing on a fine bench-land deposit of Bale and Perkins loam soils, the historic property found its steward.

Kevin and his wife Karin cherish their family life and have been educating their two daughters in Waldorf schools in the Napa Valley since 2002. They are all French/American dual citizens, international at heart, and see life at Ehlers as harmonious with their reverence for the earth, sustainable living, and winemaking excellence.

   

FRANCISCO VEGA, VINEYARD MANAGER AND CELLAR MASTER

Francisco grew up working in the fields of his family farm in Michoacan, Mexico. He left home at 14, and traveled to Los Angeles, where he spent two years learning English. At 16, he visited friends in Calistoga, and quickly decided to join them there. “The terrain reminded me of my home in Mexico,” he explains. Francisco began working on one of his friend’s vineyard crews, learning the business through the daily vineyard work of pruning and picking, experience that would pay off when he took first prize at the annual pruning competition held in Yountville. At 23, after five years of vineyard experience, he was promoted to foreman. He joined Ehlers Estate in 2001, and now manages the vineyard and physical plant of the winery, and assists Kevin with winemaking operations. Francisco says of his work, “It’s part of me, of my life. I grew up in the field picking tomatoes with my dad. For me, it’s almost the same.” Francisco lives on the estate with his family. He has three sons, the eldest of whom aspires to be a winemaker.

 

 

     
 

   
 
 
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