Enchanted by the many family trips through Baja, the Magnussen family purchased the land that would become Lechuza in 2003. Determined to cultivate the land, Ray and Patty Magnussen tirelessly planted the cuttings that would yield some of Baja’s most premiere wines. Supported and assisted by local grape growers and winemakers, Ray and Patty deepened their appreciation for the Valle and committed to grow by example through sustainable management practices. In 2013, with five vintages complete, Lechuza expanded its operations due to its annual production increases. Currently overseeing the daily vineyard management and maintenance and tasting room operations, are Ray and Patty’s daughter Kristin Shute, and son-in-law Adam Shute. These additions have allowed Lechuza to further grow their offerings and share them throughout Mexico and into the United States.
Complex, expressive and balanced wines crafted to showcase Valle de Guadalupe’s capacity to produce world class grapes and compliment the region’s food bounty, reflect a harmony of distinct characteristics that make Lechuza wines memorable. Founded in 2003 by Ray and Patty Magnussen, Lechuza Vineyards endeavors to consistently produce top tier wines while promoting sustainability and regional stewardship. Lechuza’s wines strive to reveal the story of its grapes, under the meticulous care of the Magnussen family. Every season brings opportunities to put to practice lessons learned in seasons past, continually encouraging advancements in grape growing and wine making alike. From its inaugural vintage of 50 cases in 2007, Lechuza presents seven offerings in its 2015 release including new vintages of its heralded 2013 Stainless Steel Chardonnay and 2011 Nebbiolo (92 pts., Rodolfo Gerschman). Lechuza’s origin stems from the Valle’s verdancy soil and culture. The desire to share the Valle’s remarkable abundance and warmth is the driving principle behind Lechuza’s winemaking philosophy. As each grape inherits this ripe heritage, Lechuza aims to contribute to the future legacy of the Valle in every bottle of wine.
Q: What kinds of varietals are grown at Lechuza? A: Our Estate fruit is Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet & Nebbiolo
Q: What have been some of your best vintages? A: Our wine continues to improve with each vintage. Being a fairly young winery, we are looking forward to waiting a few more years and opening up some of our library wines. Thus far, our 2011 Nebbiolo & 2012 Cab are my favorites.
Q: What is your average yield of harvest grapes per acre? A: This really ranges on the year. Water and temperature affects our yield. There are many times we drop fruit to ensure that what we produce is the very best. We traditionally produce between eight & nine tons for our hectare (2.2 acres)
Q: Which wines are aged in barrels? How long are the wines aged before being bottled? A: All of our reds are aged for 24 months in barrel. We do a combination of American and French Oak. In addition, we have a very small production of Chardonnay aged in French Oak.
Q: What is Lechuza Vineyard’s volume of production? A: Last year we bottled our 2012 Reds, 2013 Oaked Chardonnay, and 2014 Stainless Steel Chardonnay – totaling just over 1,000 cases. Each year, we are adding approximately 200 cases to our production. It is important for us to grow accordingly.
Q: What’s next for Lechuza? Any exciting new practices you are looking to try out? A: Our family is so thrilled with the overwhelming support of our customers. We are listening! In addition to our current line up of wines, we are going to add a delicious rose.
Q: When is your next harvest season? A: Harvest will be here before we know it. Last year we harvested our Chardonnay on July 30 & 31st. I do believe we are just a couple of weeks out. Rather than scheduling a harvest date, we are letting the grapes tell us when they are ready. With that, we are testing weekly and charting the maturation. We are lucky to have that flexibility.
Q: For those of us who have not experienced the Valle de Guadalupe, describe what the wine culture and life is like down in Mexico. A: Valle de Guadalupe is a little slice of heaven. We are blessed to have so many different cultures and styles represented. Our neighbors unite to support each other. When the fires devastated the valley in 2014, the community stopped what they were doing, packed up and headed up the mountain. The sunrises are peaceful, sunsets are captivating, and the most magical set of stars to be seen. The pureness that Valle de Guadalupe encompasses is captivating. And of course, the wines are spectacular!
Q: Where do you sell your wines? A: Our list is always evolving. For our American customers, you can always find us at www.lmawines.com. Currently, Lechuza Wines are offered at the following restaurants and stores in the United States: Patio at Goldfinch, Bonita Farmers Market, Romesco, Comun Kitchen, Wine Bank, Bine & Vine bottle shop, Indigo Grill, Kitchen 4140, The Front Porch, Bodega Wine & Spirits, The Wine Vault, Bracero, Krisp Market.
Q: How can we contact Lechuza Vineyards to set up a tasting? A: Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: When is your next upcoming event? A: That is a great question! We are hoping to have a Harvest wrap up event in October this year, but do not have details in stone yet. Follow us on Facebook (Lechuza Vineyard) for the most update announcements!
Somm’s List: sommslist.com/raymagnussen