Winemaker or Winegrower? Meet Chad MelvilleMar 01, 2022
In last week's episode and blog, I had the opportunity to give you a crash course in still red and white winemaking. It was the time I spent at Melville Winery with Chad Melville and his team during harvest in October of 2021 that afforded me the insight to put that content together for you. Today, I'm excited to introduce you to the man himself!
In 1997, Chad helped establish Melville's estate vineyards alongside his dad and brother. Since then, he's taken over the winery's production and vineyard management. So why the question, "winemaker or winegrower?" It's not so much a question as it is an invitation to look at wine production in a new way.
Quite often you will hear wine producers say their wines "begin in the vineyard". At Melville, this couldn't be more true. All of the grapes used to produce Chad's wines are grown at the Melville Estate. This means that he and his team have ultimate control over how the grapes are treated. That said, it doesn't mean they have ultimate control over the environment or yields. As you'll hear in the episode, Chad lives his life in humble servitude of Mother Nature and the special piece of land he and his family selected as home to their vineyards and winery.
The vineyards at Melville are farmed organically but when it comes to sustainability, Chad doesn't stop there. He's someone who looks at the big picture and understands that putting more back into the earth than he takes isn't the only thing that matters. Sustainability is also about people and equipment and barrels and glass. All the things that it takes to run a successful business, at Melville, it comes straight from the heart.
Melville grows and makes wine from four grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and most recently, Grenache. The wines are as pure an expression of the Sta. Rita Hills estate and each grape variety as I have ever tasted. They are made simply with massive attention to detail from Chad and his team. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented slow and cold for maximum expression and aromatics. They are aged in neutral oak barrels, so the flavors of wood are almost untraceable. Each wine is different and all are worth tasting.
Melville Wine Clubs!
I personally got to witness the hospitality shown to Melville Wine Club members during my time at the estate. Not only is membership the best bang for your buck if you love the wines as much as I do, but there are lots of other great perks like pick-up parties and complimentary tastings when you visit the winery. Plus, you get access to wines that no one else can get their hands on.
Visit the Melville Estate and Tasting Room
I felt incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Chad and the team and visit this amazing property. Luckily, I'm not the only person this is an option for! If you make it out to this part of California, I highly recommend you pay them a visit. If you're there in the fall, you may catch a glimpse of some of the behind-the-scenes winemaking. If you're there any other time, you'll get to see the magic happening in the vineyards around the house and winery. It's a year-round affair! If you don't make it all the way up to the valley, they also have an awesome tasting room in the heart of Santa Barbara.
As always, thank you for you joining me here on the blog and for listening to the show! Connecting you with amazing winegrowers like Chad is what I'm all about. I sincerely hope you try some of Chad's wines, join the club, and make sure to pay them a visit next time you're in this part of California! Please let me know if you get your hands on some of the wines. I'd love to hear from you!
Montana Rae, Certified Sommelier
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