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Luc helping his father with the plowing in Aÿ-Champagne, France.
 

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Wine has always been a way of life for Luc Morlet. Born in Epernay, France to a fifth-generation winegrower family, Luc grew up working on his family’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay domaine, Pierre Morlet & Fils, in Avenay-Val-d’Or, Champagne. As a child, he enjoyed learning about the practical and technical aspects of vineyard farming and winemaking.

A Masters graduate of Œnology from Université des Sciences de Reims, France, Luc also holds a Viticulture degree from Ecole Viticole de Champagne, as well as an MBA in Wine Business from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Dijon, Burgundy. His professional viticultural and winemaking experience began in 1988 with a variety of internships in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Southwest of France. These included Maison Chanson Père et Fils in Beaune and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Bordeaux. Luc’s knowledge was furthered by technical tours of the European wine regions of Italy, Spain, Germany and the French areas of Alsace, Cognac, Rhône and Loire Valley.

Upon completion of graduate school, Luc became the Assistant Winemaker for the Val d’Or Champagne Cellars. In 1993, he replaced the Winemaker at a French subsidiary in St Helena, allowing him to discover Napa Valley and Sonoma County’s unique viticultural conditions. The following year, Luc became the ‘Régisseur’ at Château Dauzac, a classified Margaux growth, and perfected his skills making Bordeaux style wines, under the guidance of consultant Jacques Boissenot.

Luc returned to the Napa Valley in 1996 to marry his American sweetheart, Jodie Hauser, and was hired as the Director of Œnology at Newton Vineyard, replacing John Kongsgaard (with whom Luc worked through the first vintage). While there, Luc crafted the well-regarded ‘Chardonnay Unfiltered’ from 1996 through 2000. Working with consultant Michel Rolland, he also enhanced Newton’s Bordeaux varietal estate on Spring Mountain and created its first ever Bordeaux blend, the 1999 ‘Le Grand Vin.’

In the spring of 2001, Luc became the winemaker for Peter Michael Winery. His expertise in the Bordeaux and Burgundy styles of viticulture and winemaking lent itself well to the winery’s mission of handcrafting classical wines. Continuing Helen Turley’s legacy, Luc’s technical leadership helped Peter Michael Winery improve its already acclaimed wines during the 2001 through 2005 vintages. (In order to ensure the continuity of style, Luc still remains involved with Peter Michael Winery as Consulting Winemaker, advising his brother Nicolas Morlet who succeeded him as Winemaker in January of 2006.)

As part of his continuous effort to achieve the highest quality of wines, Luc designed and developed, in the summer of 2003 and in collaboration with manufacturing company P&L Specialties, a unique premium-sorting device (named ‘LE TRIEUR’ ™), currently under US Patent protection.

In 2006, Luc and his wife Jodie began crafting wines, in limited quantities, from unique vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma County, under the Morlet Family Vineyards label. In 2010, the couple restored a pre-Prohibition winery located in the beautiful St. Helena appellation, as their family’s winery. With over 20 vintages under his belt, and with his own zest for innovation, Luc uses century old principles and classic Burgundy and Bordeaux methods adapted to California’s natural conditions. Passionate for both the expression of terroir, as well as for the continuous pursuit of ultimate quality, Luc calls his winemaking philosophy ‘neo-classic laissez-faire without compromise.’

Luc lives in St. Helena with Jodie and their two children. His interests include French literature, gardening and cooking. He and Jodie, a former elementary school teacher, also participate in a number of community organizations.