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Alumni Profile

Martin Clubb

Martin Clubb, SM ’82

Owner, L’Ecole No 41 winery

  • Married to winery co-owner Megan Clubb, SM ’82
  • Director at WineAmerica and Director and President at Washington Wine Institute
  • Prior to MIT Sloan, earned a chemical engineering degree at Texas A&M University

Twenty years ago, Washington state wine was just that: wine from Washington state, enjoyed in Washington state. There were only a few producers in the Columbia Valley and around Walla Walla.

Back in 1989, when Martin and Megan Clubb began running the family winery, L’Ecole No 41, the bottle labels featured a child’s drawing. An eight-year-old in the family had colorfully captured the company’s headquarters, a country schoolhouse built in 1915.

It was a fit, for the time being. Founded in 1983 by Megan’s parents, L’Ecole became a regional favorite wine producer.

“That early kind of colorful, whimsical, fun label worked,” Martin Clubb said, “because it was so Pacific Northwest.”

But L’Ecole has grown up. So the couple has undertaken a rebranding effort to add layers of elegance and tradition to the wine’s image. The schoolhouse is on the label, but now in a more historic sepia-toned and sophisticated illustration.

“Packaging and labeling substantially evolved for lower-tier wines; you went through this period of some kind of animal on the label, Yellow Tail, cats and dogs, that sort of thing, which eventually turned into marketing-spun colorful renditions that tended to drag our label image down,” Martin Clubb said. “And yet, as a winery, we were getting more and more serious about our own estate-grown fruit, the quality of the wine.”

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