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  • TerracesPinot Noir Clones 777, 115, Mt. Eden Selection
    Terraces Pinot Noir clones 777,667.115
    Terraces Pinot Noir Clone Swan Selection
    Melville West Chardonnay Clone 4
    Inox Chardonnay Clone 76
    Melville Tasting Room Hours and Directions
    Melville West Pinot Noir Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Melville West Pinot Noir Clone 115
    Anna's Pinot Noir Clones 667,114
    Melville East Pinot Noir Clones 113,667,Pommard Selection
    Sandy's Pinot Noir Clones 37,459,114, Calera Selection
    Melville East Pinot Noir Clones 9,16,29,667,777,Pommard Selection
    Melville East Chardonnay Clone 76
    Donna's Syrah Clones 1, Estrella Selection
    Melville West Chardonnay Clone Hudson Selection
    Block M Pinot Noir Clones 114, 115
    Melville West Syrah Clone Estrella Selection
    Melville West Syrah Clone Estrella Selection
    Melville West Pinot Noir Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone 37
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Pommard Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Calera Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone 459
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone Hanzell Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone Melville Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone 4
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone Melville Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Chardonnay Clone Hudson Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone 943
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Pommard Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Pommard Selection
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone 828
    Rancho Nuevo Pinot Noir Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Melville East Chardonnay Clone Mt. Eden Selection
    Melville East Syrah Clones 99,Estrella, Tablas Selections
    Melville East Pinot Noir Clone 115
    Melville East Pinot Noir Clones 115, 777
    High Density Syrah Clones 1,99,174,383,470,870,Estrella,Durell,Shenandoah
    Indigene Pinot Noir Clone 115
    Melville East Pinot Noir Clone 115

    Varietal Key

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    Pinot Noir

    Syrah

    Chardonnay

    Tasting Room

    Map

    Located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation in Santa Barbara County, Melville currently has 120 acres under vine.

    The soil is mostly Lompoc dune sand, interspersed with clay loam and shallow hard pans of Monterey shale. These vineyards are predominantly north/south-facing, planted at a spacing of 8’ x 3’ (1,812 vines per acre). Vines are all vertically shoot positioned with aggressive canopy management to ensure proper ripening and varietal development.

    The estate currently has 16 clones of Pinot Noir, 9 clones of Syrah, and 6 clones of Chardonnay - all on a variety of low-vigor rootstocks. All blocks are fermented in small lots and isolated through their entire period of elevage, which provides Melville’s team with an ongoing exhibition of how they can fine tune vineyard practices in order to achieve the most unmanipulated and site-specific wines possible.

    Sta. Rita Hills AVA

    When Ron Melville and his sons decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery in Lompoc, a prime area for growing cool-climate varietals, they recognized the importance of distinguishing this unique area within the valley. As such, the Melville family was heavily involved in the creation of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, which was granted in 2001.

    The climate here is significantly impacted by its proximity to the ocean (10 miles), consistent morning/evening fog, and steady afternoon winds. These cooling trends are not only perfectly suited to growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, but also serve to prolong the growing season, allowing for heightened varietal flavor intensity. Additionally, the area’s cool climate and calcareous rock and sand help produce grapes with natural acidity and flavor balance. Below are maps of our 120 Estate acres:

    Melville Eastside Vineyard

    Melville Westside Vineyard

    Melville Rancho Nuevo Vineyard

    Melville Selections & Clones

    Why do selections and clones matter?
    Selections and clones are both offspring of a vine. Much like you and your siblings, offspring (or “cuttings”) of a vine share characteristics of the parent plant. Depending on how these cuttings are obtained and incorporated into a vineyard, they may or may not produce an exact replica of their mother vine. Whereas clones are identified and isolated (usually in a lab) for the purpose of creating exact replicas of their parent, selections are taken randomly from multiple vines in a vineyard and planted onto new rootstock with the intention (but not guarantee) of them expressing characteristics of the parent. Neither one is inherently better or worse than the other. Rather, they are different means to the end of creating distinct and compelling wines.

    Clones are a relatively new phenomenon in the world of wine, spanning only the past 30 years. Selections have been around since the beginning of viticulture, though not necessarily labeled as such. Up until about the 1980s, the majority of growers thought that the importance of clones and selections was for the sole purpose of viral resistance and yield control, and believed that wine quality was a result of growing and cellar practices. Today, it is widely acknowledged that selections and clones greatly contribute to the quality and individuality of their resultant wines.

    A selection is a cutting (or several) taken from a vine in a vineyard (aka “suitcase selection” if from another country). While not an exact replica of its parent vine, it bears a striking resemblance and is a reliable indicator of what characteristics future plantings can be expected to yield. Traditionally, growers simply understood that certain vines performed well in their vineyard, and so, continued to use cuttings from these vines. Think of a band that plays a cover tune. Most people know that “A Hard Day’s Night” is a song written by the Beatles, but if Otis Redding performs a cover of that song, we still recognize and enjoy the song.

    A clone is a 100% replica of its parent. Whether isolated for its aromas, structure, early-ripening, cold-resistance, or other properties, it is extremely predictable and allows for a tremendous amount of distinction and diversity in the expression of a varietal. When you make a mixed tape for your significant other, you are cloning each song onto a new delivery system, but the song itself does not change.

    Diversity plays a very important role in quality winegrowing, and fortunately, a growing number of clones and selections are available in California. The Melville family feels that clonal research is paramount to furthering the success of the entire winegrowing community, and so, make every effort possible to share their findings with other producers around the globe.

    Melville currently has sixteen distinct Pinot Noir clones and selections planted on their estate, each offering unique benefits. Ultimately, they work in harmony to make the wines dynamic and complete.

    Below is a listing of the clones found on Melville’s estate, along with some thoughts on how each clone affects the wines.

    Pinot Noir Dijonnaise Clones

    Clone 113
    4.2 acres planted
    One of the “teen” series of Dijonnaise clones, clone 113 is perhaps the most elegant and highly perfumed, lending wines high-toned elements in the nose. When properly managed, wines can possess nice weight and body as well. To amplify a wine’s beauty, Melville will generally de-stem all of the fruit.

    Clone 114
    4.5 acres planted
    The second in the series, clone 114 is often overlooked despite the fact that it has a considerable impact on wine. Clone 114 is dark, soft, and rich, making it a significant unifying component. Due to its cohesive nature, it responds well to stems, which Melville uses quite liberally. This clone makes up approximately fifty percent of Block M.

    Clone 115
    19.2 acres planted
    By far the most widely planted of this clonal grouping, clone 115 is undeniably the most important clone to surface in the past decade of California’s vineyard advancements. In fact, if forced to select only one clone, the Melville crew would unanimously agree upon this one. Clone 115 works great on its own and also serves as the backbone to Melville’s entire pinot noir program. Currently, this clone is planted in seven separate sections, on three different rootstocks. In addition to contributing to the estate wine, it makes up fifty percent of Block M, a generous portion of Terraces, and the entirety of the Indigene bottling.

    Clone 667
    8.4 acres planted
    This clone (along with clone 777 mentioned below) came into the U.S. about five years after the “teen” series. Clone 667 is typically perceived to be a structure clone as it can be quite angular. It has very pure, high-toned aromas and great persistence in the mouth. Due to its inherent firmness, Melville typically opts to de-stem the majority of the fruit.

    Clone 777
    11.5 acres planted
    This clone has experienced a significant surge in planting, similar to clone 115. It is known for being very dark, rich, and showing beautifully when produced on its own. Thus far, it has resulted in very intriguing and complex wines that merit careful attention.

    Clone 459
    .6 acres planted
    This budwood was procured from Seasmoke Cellars and grafted into Melville’s estate in the spring of 2004. As the clone is still quite new in California, there remains much more to learn about the resultant wines.

    Clone 828
    6.4 acres planted
    Grafted into Melville’s estate in the Spring of 2004, the family is thrilled about the potential of this relatively new clone, which has been well-received by many. While a portion of the vines was brought in from a nursery, the majority was procured from Merry Edwards’ estate vineyard in Sonoma.

    Pinot Noir Old School Clones

    Pommard
    1.5 acres planted
    The Pommard selection has been available in California for a number of years and can work great as a stand-alone clone. It is sometimes known for having a meaty/gamey edge, but also expresses itself through very pure dark fruits. Melville has traditionally been successful fermenting these lots with about one-third whole clusters.

    Mount Eden
    3.1 acres planted
    One of the oldest clones in the state, the Mount Eden clone was reportedly brought to California in the late 19th century by Paul Masson from one of Louis Latour’s Burgundian vineyards. Locally, it also has an interesting history as it was used to plant the Sanford & Benedict vineyard in the early 1970s, while subsequent cuttings started the pinot noir at Lafond in the early 1980s. Melville procured budwood from Lafond in 1998. This clone is very dark and rich and offers tremendous bass tones to the wine. Melville has been very successful experimenting with different levels of stem inclusion for this clone. Similar to the Pommard clone, Mount Eden also displays completeness standing on its own.

    Swan
    1.2 acres planted
    This clone also has historical significance, as it was propagated in the Russian River Valley by Joseph Swan in 1969. Part of Melville’s Terraces section, this block is severely influenced by wind exposure. Due to the battered condition of the clusters upon picking, Melville traditionally de-stems the entirety of this clone. It displays beautiful, bright fruit with moderate richness.

    Clone 9
    .9 acres planted
    Also known as Jackson clone, it is named after an experimental vineyard that was planted in 1889 near the town of Jackson in Northern California’s Sierra Foothills. This clone is rarely bottled on its own because of both its scarcity and because it lends itself to blending with other clones of pinot noir. The small amount with which Melville works (typically in conjunction with clone 16 mentioned below), has produced light to moderate weight wines with beautiful aromatics.

    Clone 16
    .7 acres planted
    Like clone 9, the majority of this section is farmed for another client, with a small portion being retained for Melville.

    2A
    2.6 acres planted
    Also known as the Wadenswil selection, clone 2A has been planted quite significantly in both California and Oregon. It has similar characteristics to clone 115 and seems quite complete on its own.

    Calera
    1.4 acres planted
    Melville acquired this clone of Pinot Noir from Calera in 2004. In 1973, Calera received cuttings from another California producer who had reported that the original source was from a quality vineyard in Burgundy (Cote d’Or).

    Clone 943
    1.8 acres planted
    Clone 943 originated in the Côte-d’Or of Burgundy, France, and although it was introduced to the United States in 1989, has very limited availability here even today. 943 is one of the few Dijon clones for which the French have negotiated a royalty payment on every bud sold in the U.S. Therefore, very few nurseries sell the clone. Clone 943 produces highly aromatic wines with supple, velvety tannins, deep color, small-berried clusters, and low yields. In fact, this clone has the lowest yield compared with 777, 667, 114, and 115.

    Clone 37
    2.7 acres planted
    In February 1974, the owners of Mount Eden Vineyards selected Merry Edwards, the “Queen of Pinot”, to be their winemaker. Merry made three vintages while at Mount Eden and earned a reputation as a rising star in the California wine industry. In 1975, Merry selected cuttings from Mount Eden’s pinot noir vineyard and sent them to UC Davis for heat treatment (to remove virus) and propagation. This field selection was then named UCD clone 37 (also known as the “Merry Edwards selection”) and became a star performer in the Russian River Valley. It is known for producing beautiful wines with complex aromatics, deep color, and velvety tannins.

    Chardonnay Clones

    Chardonnay from a cold-climate like the Sta. Rita Hills is typically more ‘Chablisienne’ in style; showing higher acidity as well as strong citrus and mineral components, rather than the lush, tropical style of warm climates.

    Clone 76
    Clone 76 was selected in Burgundy specifically for Melville’s Inox Chardonnay program. As in its native Burgundy, this early-ripening clone flourishes in the cold climate of the Sta. Rita Hills, showing both ample flavors and acidity at an earlier brix than most clones. Moreover, it bears light clusters with fewer berries, resulting in wines that are very aromatic and well-balanced.

    Hanzell
    Hanzell is a heritage clone that came from Wente cuttings planted at Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma in 1953, purported to be the oldest continually producing Chardonnay vines in the western hemisphere. This clone is known for its susceptibility to millerandage (aka “hens and chicks”), whereby grape clusters have some normal-size berries, but also many small and seedless berries. While that may sound scary, abnormal conditions such as this do not necessarily negatively affect the vine’s fruit or wines made from it (scout’s honor!). Instead, it contributes to the unique expression of the clone.

    Hudson
    Hudson is a Wente selection that was first isolated by Lee Hudson. The Hudson selection matures earlier, at lower sugars, higher total acidities, and lower yields. It lends a strong citrus and mineral component to the wines. Melville’s crew field-grafted dormant Hudson buds onto existing vines in their estate vineyard. Eventually, these buds turned into canes and the rest of the (non-Hudson) vine was cut off in order to isolate them.

    Clone 4
    Formerly Olmo #66, this Wente clone was identified in Carneros in 1955. A highly-regarded clone, many of the great Chardonnays of the mid-1990s had Clone 4 as a base. Though it is more subject to vintage variation than other clones, under the right conditions, it produces healthy yields with larger than average, late-maturing clusters, and a very high acidity level, even at ripe brix. Because of its incredible acid/sugar/flavor balance, this clone makes up the backbone of Melville’s estate Chardonnay.

    Mount Eden
    Mount Eden is a field selection that originated from a non-Wente Chardonnay line. When Paul Masson immigrated to San Jose in the late 19th century, he established La Cresta vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1943, Martin Ray took Chardonnay cuttings from Paul Masson’s property and planted them on a nearby 2,000-foot peak called Mt. Eden. This late-ripening, cold-loving clone has low yields with small berries and tight clusters, resulting in intensely concentrated fruit.

    Sweeney Canon
    Sweeney Canyon is a selection from a small vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills planted by the Marks family in 1980. At that time, growers had less intimate knowledge about clones, so they simply took cuttings of vines that were successful and planted them on their land. In fact, it is suspected that this selection isn’t even 100% Chardonnay. However, what is known is that it produces high-toned, highly-aromatic (floral), early-ripening, medium-size clustered berries that result in wines with wonderful flavor/acidity balance, much like muscadet or riesling.

    Syrah Clones

    Syrah from the Sta. Rita Hills is typically much later-ripening than other New World examples. Much more savory in style, it exhibits aromas and flavors of ground herbs, pepper, leather, and smoked meats that are bound by a core of dark fruit.

    Estrella
    In 1977, Gary Eberle planted Syrah at what was then called Estrella River Winery from suitcase cuttings brought in from the famous Chapoutier property in Hermitage. One of the most widely-planted and highly-coveted syrah selections in the Central Coast, it is late-ripening with loose clusters and soft skins, which delivers a rich, jammy fruit quality to the wines. Estrella makes up the first part of Donna’s Syrah (the other being Clone 1, described below).

    Durell
    Durell is thought to trace back to a single vine of Shiraz (what they call Syrah in the southern hemisphere) planted in 1973 in Victoria, Australia. This selection is prone to viruses, which actually benefits the grape by slowing down photosynthesis and forcing it to ripen later. This clone typically adds striking blueberry and coffee notes to wines.

    Clone 1
    The second part of Donna’s syrah, Clone 1 is an early-ripening clone originally sourced from Shiraz vines planted in 1868 in Victoria, Australia. Similar to Estrella (the first part of Donna’s), it has loose clusters with soft skin and ripens very well.

    Clone 99
    This late-ripening French clone was taken directly from the famous Beaucastel Vineyard in the Southern Rhone of France. Showing bigger berries and clusters than most other clones, it typically doesn’t get picked until late November/early December. Prior to harvest, Melville drops half the fruit to ensure that the other half gets ripe, which give even more intense fruit.

    Mount Eden
    Mount Eden is a field selection that originated from a non-Wente Chardonnay line. When Paul Masson immigrated to San Jose in the late 19th century, he established La Cresta vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1943, Martin Ray took Chardonnay cuttings from Paul Masson’s property and planted them on a nearby 2,000-foot peak called Mt. Eden. This late-ripening, cold-loving clone has low yields with small berries and tight clusters, resulting in intensely concentrated fruit.

    Clone 174
    This Syrah clone was imported from France in 1995. It is known for its low cluster weight and low yields, resulting in balanced, aromatic wines with cherry fruit flavors.

    Clone 470
    Originally from Garonne, France, this is a late-ripening clone with open clusters (which discourages fungal disease), resulting in wines that are aromatic and full-bodied with high acidity, deep color, and good tannic structure. This is an extremely popular clone in France, most widely-planted in Hermitage.

    Clone 383
    A very balanced Syrah clone, this gives ample fruit, solid structure, and a lovely cool-climate Syrah flavor profile. This clone’s small, round, marble-shaped berry has a tight skin, which results in more structured wines.

    Clone 877
    Clone 877 is a French clone known for lending a strong tannic grip to the mid-palate. In contrast to Clone 383, this clone has an elliptical-shaped berry and softer skin. As it tends to be a big producer, it’s imperative to keep yields in check.