Santa Barbara News Press
Melville: Getting It Right From the Beginning by Dennis Schaefer
For more than a decade, Melville Winery has quietly gone about its business of producing world-class wines without a lot of fanfare. In the grand scheme of things in Santa Rita Hills, it’s not a legacy producer like Babcock or Alma Rosa, nor is it the newest kid on the block, popping out 50-case lots made from purchased grapes that earn high scores from critics.
From the very beginning in 1996, Melville wanted to be an estate producer that established vineyards and controlled its own fate, not
content to be at the mercy of other growers. By farming its own grapes, it could also control the yields of the vines and the quality. That was long before the whole Santa Rita Hills wine thing caught on; in fact, the appellation only became an officially approved AVA (American Viticultural Area) in 2001. Vintner Ron Melville and his sons, Chad and Brent, had the foresight to see that this area, west of Highway 101 out to Lompoc, had dazzling potential for grape growing.