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The Grape Sleuth: Lucie Morton ’68

St Agnes School Magazine. Article by Andrea Dawson


As the camera follows Lucie Morton from an old Parisian vineyard to a wild cluster of roadside grapes on an island off the coast of Portugal, to her verdant family farm and vineyard on the banks of the Potomac River, one detail among many stands out: She is ardently curious. Squinting through a magnifier to discern the delicate patterns on a grape leaf, she observes thoughtfully. Visiting with grape growers, vineyard owners, and even with a Frenchman seeking to identify a mysterious grape leaf prospering on his patio trellis, she listens intently. An internationally renowned viticulturist, she has more than earned the right to indulge in showmanship, but she is far too interested in dirtying her hands—that is to say, studying and solving the problems inherent in growing grapes.


“I am a student of grapes,” she explains. “I just love the grapevine in all its forms.”


The camera in question belongs to French documentary filmmaker Stéphan Balay. Having immersed herself in the complexities and curiosities of turning grapes into wine for the last 50 years, as a research collaborator, teacher, writer, sought-after lecturer, and international vineyard consultant, Lucie couldn’t help but be drawn into a story Stéphan was hoping she could shed light on (...)



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