Doug Margerum didn’t start out knowing he wanted to be a winemaker. A French girlfriend during his college days helped put him on that path. The relationship moved him to spend three of his collegiate summer breaks in France. That’s where he learned that he loved food and wine. He especially loved the wine bars in Paris where you could get a glass of wine and a small plate.
“It was really casual and really fun, with really good wine,” he said, reliving those memories at his Margerum Wine Company (MWC) in Buellton. “I was living a life and didn’t know quite how wonderful it was.”
He does now. Margerum’s winery, while small on the international scale, is in the mid-to-large category in Santa Barbara County with an annual production of about 16,000 cases. The company leases two large spaces on Industrial Way for wine production, barrel and case storage, and where there is a newly open tasting area on weekends. MWC also has two well-established tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara.
After graduating from UCSB in 1981, Margerum and his family purchased a small wine shop in Santa Barbara called the Wine Cask. Teetering on bankruptcy at the time, the business, including the leasehold and inventory, changed hands for $20,000.
A couple of the first people Margerum met after taking over the store proved to be highly influential to the young entrepreneur. In 1982, two of Santa Barbara County’s newest, youngest winemakers, Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat) and Bob Lindquist (Qupé) stopped by to introduce themselves to the Wine Cask’s new…
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