L’Ecole Team

The talented faces behind the L’Ecole brand.

Martin Clubb photo - Co-owner and Managing Winemaker

Martin Clubb

Co-owner & Managing Winemaker

Marty is Managing Winemaker and Co-owner of L’Ecole N° 41 with his wife, Megan, and children, Riley and Rebecca.  Marty assumed the operation of the winery from Megan’s parents, Jean and Baker Ferguson, in 1989, six years after the winery’s founding.

Today Marty’s primary focus is a hands-on approach to the winery’s viticulture operation.  Along with his Estate Ferguson and Estate Seven Hills Vineyards, Marty personally works with over 30 vineyards located throughout the Columbia Valley.  He collaborates with each grower to optimally manage contracted vineyard blocks to meet the quality requirements established by the winery.

In addition, Marty is a Managing Partner with Gary and Chris Figgins (Leonetti Cellar) and Norm McKibben (Pepper Bridge Winery) in the highly acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard and the SeVein vineyard development, home to L’Ecole’s newest Estate vineyard, Ferguson.

Marty’s ongoing dedication and commitment to our wine industry is evident in his many leadership roles. He has served nearly 30 years on the Boards of various wine industry associations, including the Washington Wine Commission.  He is currently a Director of the Washington Wine Institute and WineAmerica.  Marty was instrumental in the founding of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, serving as its first President.  He worked with other industry pioneers in the development of the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture and continues serving in an advisory role.

Ryan Pennington

Chief Operating Officer

Ryan Pennington is the Chief Operating Officer of L’Ecole N° 41. He is responsible for managing the business side of the winery including sales, marketing, administration, and human resources.  He joined the L’Ecole team in July of 2023 after ten years at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest wine producer in the Pacific Northwest, where he was most recently Vice President, Communications & Corporate Affairs. Prior to Ste. Michelle, he served for five years as Communications Director for the Washington Wine Commission, the marketing agency representing all growers and wineries in Washington.

Ryan has also served on several industry boards including the Washington Wine Commission, the marketing agency representing all growers and wineries in Washington; the Washington Wine Institute, the public policy arm of the Washington wine industry; the Northwest Wine Coalition, the joint international marketing organization for Washington and Oregon wines; and WineAmerica, the national association of American wineries.

Melissa Clubb

Brand Manager

Melissa was born and raised in Walla Walla. Watching the wine industry flourish in the valley naturally led her to fall in love with wine. Before joining L’Ecole, she spent 10 years in the financial sector and most recently building a successful Real Estate career. At L’Ecole, Melissa represents the 3rd generation of the family and is involved with all aspects of the branding management strategy, from social media strategy to bolstering the winery’s reputation.

Beyond work, Melissa believes in living a life based around kindness, authenticity, and inclusivity. Melissa loves exploring new restaurants, traveling, and skiing alongside her husband, Riley and their son. She is a Walla Walla University (’20) business alum.

Ben Dimitri

Marketing Manager

Ben originally joined the L’Ecole team in 2010, working in different roles throughout eight years, including setting the pace for excellence as Tasting Room Manager, followed by a hands-on crush experience during L’Ecole’s 2018 harvest. He left L’Ecole to further explore the winemaking process, honing his skills while working in wine production in the valley for more than two years.

Ben rejoined his alma mater in September 2021 to embrace a new challenge, taking on the role of Marketing Manager.

When Ben is not at the Schoolhouse, he can be found hanging out with his kids and friends, playing guitar or ukulele, cooking, reading, and enjoying life.

Winemaking Team

Marcus Rafanelli

Winemaker

Marcus Rafanelli is a Seattle native, with extensive domestic and international winemaking experience. He is a 2008 graduate of the Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) Institute for Enology & Viticulture (EV) program and holds a B.S. in Biology from Boise State University.

While at WWCC’s EV program, he worked as a harvest intern at L’Ecole N° 41, gaining experience in small-lot winemaking. After graduating, he made wine for a boutique Woodinville-based winery for six years, following which his career took him to renowned wineries in Australia & Germany.

He returned to Walla Walla in 2016, taking the role of Instructional Technician at WWCC and Cellarmaster at College Cellars. Marcus has been an active member of the Washington Wine Technical Group since 2009 and holds a place on the Advisory Board of the WWCC EV Program.

When not at work, you can find Marcus outside (hiking, skiing, camping), with his wife Heather in their garden, or out exploring different wine regions of the world.

Tyler Morrison - Assistant Winemaker

Tyler Morrison

Assistant Winemaker

Tyler is a Walla Walla native who grew up farming on his family’s wheat farm.  Driven by wanting to make excellent wine that he could share with friends and family, Tyler enrolled in the WWCC Enology and Viticulture program and graduated in 2018.

At L’Ecole, Tyler is involved in all aspects of the winemaking process from vineyard visits to bottling and events.

He likes hiking, camping, and home wine and beer production.

Collin DeLong

Associate Winemaker

Collin was born and raised in Wenatchee Valley, Washington.  Following his freshman year of college, in 2014, he accidentally fell in love with the art of winemaking after getting a job at a zip line course and winery located in Chelan, Washington.  After a few years of winemaking in the Lake Chelan AVA, he uprooted and enrolled in the Walla Walla Community College Enology and Viticulture program.  Shortly after graduating in 2020, he joined the L’Ecole winemaking team where he plans to gain more knowledge about winemaking and to contribute to producing outstanding wines.

In his spare time, Collin loves to travel, hike, and spend time with his family.

Kyle Pritchard - Cellarmaster

Kyle Pritchard

Cellarmaster

Kyle grew up on a cattle ranch near Billings, MT.  He learned to cook professionally in Montana and Alaska, which instilled in him a deep appreciation for wine.  In 2017, he completed the electrical program at WWCC and was the first graduate from their Cellarmaster program.

Outside of work, he loves to cook at home and ski during the winter.

National & International Sales

Matt Rice

National Sales Manager, East

Matt joined the team in September 2019.  Centrally located in Kansas City, Missouri, to readily service the broad expanse of L’Ecole’s Midwest markets and beyond, he brings a deep understanding of the Pacific Northwest wine industry to his role as National Sales Manager.  Previously Matt served as National Sales Manager for Owen Roe Winery for 12 years, managing 44 markets nationally and internationally.  There he gained hands-on knowledge of all facets of the wine industry, including harvest work, wine production and overseeing all sales channels.

An avid reader and record collector, Matt also loves spending time with his wife and cooking to share meals and wine with family and friends. He is a graduate of The University of Kansas. Rock Chalk!

Annie Wallace Cox - National Sales Manager, West

Annie Wallace Cox

National Sales Manager, West

Annie’s background includes twenty years of experience in the wine industry. Originally from Portland, she began her wine career with a sales position for a prominent Oregon winery, followed by extensive sales and management experience at the distributor level. For nearly a decade before joining L’Ecole in May 2022, Annie worked at Vias Imports Ltd, managing sales of a respected portfolio of Italian wines across a six-state territory.

After moving to the Seattle area in the mid-2010s, Annie fell in love with the Northwest for all its beauty and its world-class wine. When she’s not enjoying the pleasures of the food and wine scene, you can find her out on the hiking and Nordic ski trails with her husband and two black labs.

Consumer Direct and Wine Club

Jaime Iseminger

Wine Club & Direct to Consumer Sales Manager

Jaime moved to Walla Walla in 2001 for her previous role as a Training Instructor for Deere & Co.  A glass of L’Ecole Schoolhouse Red was enjoyed with dinner her first evening in town and the rest is history.  She joined the L’Ecole team as the Shipping Manager in 2005 and today oversees Wine Club and DTC activities with a focus on providing optimal service for our customers.  Jaime and her husband have a small farm east of Walla Walla that occupies most of their time away from work.  You will also find her horseback riding, hiking, kayaking, and cooking for friends.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University (’98, ’00).

I am nuts for our Semillon especially with cedar plank salmon or fresh chevre spread on a baguette. On the red side, I love the Columbia Valley Syrah with a grilled elk loin.”

Kristy Andrews

Sales Logistics Manager

Kristy moved to Walla Walla in 2022 to follow her interest in wine and explore a career change after 25 years of the corporate world in Seattle. Soon after arriving, she joined the L’Ecole team supporting Wine Club and DTC before becoming Sales Logistics Manager. She is grateful to have the opportunity to learn more about the wine industry while working for an established leader in Washington wine.

Kristy is a graduate of Washington State University (Go Cougs!) with an MBA from Seattle University.  In her spare time, she can be found cycling the amazing gravel roads of the Walla Walla Valley, exploring the Blue Mountains with her dog Maverick, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.

Ciera Roop

Retail & Hospitality Manager

Ciera is a Walla Walla Valley native who was born and raised on her family’s farm, where her love for agriculture originated. She joined the L’Ecole team in early 2019 on the tasting room floor, after working at various local wineries and restaurants over the past decade. Connecting with and delighting guests are her favorite parts of life in the tasting room. Ciera was recognized as one of Washington Tasting Room Magazine’s 2022 Movers, Shakers & Winemakers.

Ciera is a mom to three young daughters and she and her husband spend their free time relishing their growing family. She is an animal lover with three rescue dogs that keep life interesting. Baking and cooking count amongst her favorite activities, along with regular visits to her family’s farm.

Lindsay Miller

Woodinville Tasting Room Manager

Lindsay started in the wine industry in Michigan in 2016. What was supposed to be a fun summer job quickly turned into a passionate career, eventually landing her in the Woodinville wine scene in the Spring of 2021. Her love for people and creating relationships helped her excel to Tasting Room Manager at multiple wineries, including our new Woodinville Tasting Room. She is very excited to welcome and educate each guest that comes through the door!

Outside of the tasting room, you can find Lindsay sharing a bottle of wine (or two) with friends, exploring the PNW, or planning her next overseas excursion.

Ryan Rogel

Ryan Rogel

Assistant Tasting Room Manager

Ryan was born and raised in Walla Walla Valley. After working in restaurants around the valley, he found his way to L’Ecole’s team in 2021 where he quickly developed a passion for wine. He genuinely loves connecting and sharing stories with our visitors and Vins de L’Ecole Wine Club Members. He is honored to be a part of the L’Ecole team and looking forward to pursuing his career in the wine industry!

When Ryan is not pouring for our guests, he can be found going on family bike rides or playing the drums.

Business Office

Nanci Crowley

Nanci Crowley

Controller

Nanci joined L’Ecole in 2000 as part-time accountant.  As the winery grew, her position also grew to address the financial complexities of the evolving wine industry.  Nanci was named controller in 2009.  In addition to her financial responsibilities, she manages compliance and provides human resources support.

Nanci is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound.  She loves time with her family, cooking, sports, and fine wines.

“Nothing better than a Seahawks game, popcorn and L’Ecole Chardonnay! Go Hawks!”

Kiernan Charnley-Ovens

Office Manager & Executive Assistant

A Walla Walla native, Kiernan spent nearly a decade in the valley’s vibrant hospitality industry. Driven by a passion for new challenges and an interest in expanding her knowledge of the wine industry, she joined the L’Ecole team in 2023 as Office Manager & Executive Assistant.

Outside of work, Kiernan enjoys spending time at home reading, discovering new films and TV shows with a particular fondness for sci-fi, and enjoying life with her partner, their three dogs, and two cats.

John Moreau, Shipping and Inventory Manager

John Moreau

Shipping and Inventory Manager

John, a Walla Walla native, was introduced to the wine industry at a young age helping pick grapes during harvest for a local winery. He attended both Walla Walla High School and Walla Walla Community College. He joined the L’Ecole team in 2019 as a Hospitality Associate and transitioned to Shipping Associate in 2020. In December 2021, John was promoted to Shipping and Inventory Manager.

When he’s not at the winery, you can find him hiking in the Blue Mountains with his Chocolate Lab, Mars, or snowboarding in the winter.

Acclaim & Accolades

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Best Bordeaux Blend in the World 2011 Estate Ferguson Decanter Wine Awards logo
Best Bordeaux Blend in the World 2013 Estate Ferguson 2016 Six Nations Wine Challenge logo
Best Washington Wineries to Visit Food & Wine

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