Ron Melville - Founder and President
"farming and family has and always will be the core of Melville Vineyards"
Ron grew up with a love of gardening, a passion passed down to him from his father. Ron eventually turned his attention to grape growing, and since 1987, has devoted his life to studying viticulture and growing high-quality grapes in northern California. In Sonoma County’s Knights Valley, Ron successfully grew Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. At that time, his grapes were sold to renowned producers such as Geyser Peak Winery, Dry Creek Vineyards, and Chateau St. Jean. In 1996, Ron and his sons developed 82 acres of vineyards in Lompoc, where he planted 16 different clones of Pinot Noir, 6 different clones of Chardonnay, and 9 clones of Syrah. Ron’s extraordinary vision and decisive nature led him to purchase Melville’s Estate Vineyards years before the area received Federal recognition as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Chad Melville - Head Winegrower
“We take great pride in being an Estate… owning, farming, and growing wine from our land”
In 1997, working side by side with his father Ron and brother Brent, Chad helped to establish Melville’s Estate vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills, a journey that began and continues to endure with tremendous passion and dedication. Since that time, Chad has received great critical acclaim for his wines. Through both his intimate knowledge of the vineyards and his relentless commitment to winemaking practices that honor tradition and the land, Chad understands the magical evolution each bottle of wine undertakes from vine to glass.
Kurt Ammann - General Manager
“Farm hard, play hard”
In 2001, armed with a Bachelors of Science in Agribusiness, a Minor in Viticulture, and a Masters of Business Administration from Cal Poly SLO, Kurt left his home in the Central Coast to accept a management position with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley. In 2007, Kurt was recruited to the Santa Ynez Valley to develop the Direct Sales programs for Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyards. Kurt was quickly promoted to General Manager, where he continued to steer their company as a whole. In 2013, Kurt joined the Melville team. Additionally, Kurt has served as a board member of the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance and as President of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association. Most importantly, Kurt is very proud to be the father of three beautiful and inspiring children and to be the husband of a supportive and wonderful wife.
Wynne Solomon – Assistant Winegrower
Wynne joins us with a wealth of knowledge, both from her previous job as Assistant Winemaker at Stephen Ross Cellars in nearby San Luis Obispo, as well as the impressive understanding of viticulture and enology she gained while at Cal Poly SLO, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Enology.
When Wynne learned that Melville is family-owned and operated, and entirely estate-driven, she leapt at the opportunity, “I’ve always wanted to work in the vineyards, as well as the cellar. That’s the only way you can truly understand an estate and the wines it produces.”
Cathy Cohn – National Sales Director
When asked if there’s been one over-arching theme in her career, which includes working in restaurants, for wine distributors, and most recently, as the National Sales Director for Andrew Will Winery (Washington), Cathy Cohn responds, “Customer service. I really enjoy that part of the job.”
Though her job as Melville’s National Sales Director requires that she travel consistently, Cathy doesn’t seem to mind. “I don’t mind travel at all. I love visiting cities, and visiting restaurants. If you ever need a good restaurant recommendation from me, for pretty much any state in the country, just ask me.”
Megan Good – Business Manager
A Lompoc native and graduate of Cal Poly SLO, with a business degree specializing in Wine Marketing and a minor in Winemaking and Viticulture, Megan Good has been the Business Manager at Melville since April 2014.
“I am definitely more of a behind-the-scenes person. I have a touch of OCD, so I really enjoy organizing and paperwork. I totally nerd-out on Excel; I have a spreadsheet for everything!”
She is married with an infant daughter and enjoys yoga, cooking and watching trashy TV.
Valerie Wood – Tasting Room Manager
Valerie has been at Melville for over a decade. “Basically, I was asked to fill in for someone here who was going on an extended holiday for 3 months. Three months turned into 11 years.”
“I can vividly remember my first day at Melville: I was initially asked to stand in the background and just observe. But, it was a Saturday, and we got very busy, so I just kind of jumped in, and that was it.” Valerie loves to visit other tasting rooms, not only because she very much enjoys wine, but because she’s always eager to learn about how others engage in hospitality with their customer base.
Ethan Johnson – Wine Club Manager
Ethan started with us in the tasting room over a decade ago and is now our wine club manager. The core of Ethan’s job revolves around customer service and logistics. He is busiest during our wine club months, which can be hectic, but it is important to him that club shipments run smoothly and that all of our members are taken care of. “I enjoy seeing people happy. I suppose that comes from my background in hospitality.”
Ethan is married with two daughters and enjoys spending his free time playing golf, as well as cooking, surfing and hiking with his family in the hills near their home in Orcutt.
Megan Jacksen – Hospitality Manager
Megan Jacksen, Hospitality Manager and support to the entire team, joined Melville in 2016. A former Angeleno, she enjoys living in the small town of Orcutt, just north of Sta. Rita Hills, with her husband and their puppy, Luna.
In addition to managing the events, Megan floats between departments, making everyone’s jobs a bit easier by bringing focused organizational skills to on-going projects winery-wide. When she’s not working, she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and cooking.
Ryan Lamb – Warehouse Manager
Ryan Lamb is a man of few words, so his job as Warehouse Manager suits him just fine.
He loves his current role as Warehouse Manager, and says that the other employees have taken to calling him the “Tetris Guy.” “I need to get everything to fit in exactly the right place, especially during harvest, when there is less space to work with.”
Harvest is the craziest time of year, Ryan admits, but it’s also one of the more exciting times of the year for him. “I like the energy here during harvest. It’s a busy time.”