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.
Lisa Reynolds - Director of Operations
Lisa moved from northern California to attend UCSB, where she studied Communications and Art History. After graduation, she learned the public relations trade, assisting non-profits, the hospitality industry and other small businesses in Santa Barbara to achieve new heights. She found a love for the wine business while working for Coastal Concierge, “As someone who was admittedly a bit intimidated by the wine world, I was quickly surprised to learn how genuine and approachable the Santa Barbara County wine community is.” We are very fortunate to have Lisa on the Melville team and excited for her future in the winery.
Evan Jones - Director of Sales
Evan comes to us with 10+ years of experience in the industry and a tremendous passion for wine. After “cutting his teeth” with Gallo and The Wine Group, Evan moved from Oregon to the Central Coast (his “favorite wine region”) in 2017 to work with family-owned, fine wine producers. He spent 6 years with Talley Vineyards in San Luis Obispo before joining the Melville team in the summer of 2023. When not working or enjoying wine, Evan stays quite busy with his daughter Juliette, son Dean and wife Katie.
Britt Rogers – Assistant Winegrower
Tough as nails Britt started in the tasting room after graduating from UCSB as a soccer athlete studying psychology and sports management. One day our harvest-master Lee randomly (so she thought) whispered ‘what’s your boot size?’…and the rest was history! She jumped into her first harvest and never looked back. Noticing her hard-work and overall potential, Chad designated her Assistant Winegrower, and began to train his “mini-Chad.” Her favorite wine is Chardonnay and to Chad’s delight (as it’s equally important) Britt’s now favorite Grateful Dead song is Althea. We are proud of her growth in music appreciation, and are grateful to her immense contribution to our winegrowing team!
Tristan Stevenson – Business Manager
Tristan has a fascinating background growing up abroad in a number of African and Asian countries with parents who worked for NGOs. Add his intelligence, business aptitude, and friendly personality and we think we’ve struck gold having him on our team. A graduate of the University of Puget Sound, he studied economics and played on the soccer team, a passion he continues to pursue in local rec-leagues. Aside from soccer, Tristan’s hobbies include travel, eating (“love me some food!” are his exact words), and music…Indie Rap and Neo Soul top his playlists.
Ryan Lamb – Warehouse Manager
Ryan 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.”
Nicole Nellis, Tasting Room Manager, Estate Winery
Nicole’s love of wine began at a young age with her grandad pouring glasses of wine for her to smell, leading to deep conversations about the notes and varietals. Years later, he would share a sip or two and the conversations would grow. Flash forward and Nicole would delve into hospitality and restaurant management, working in 5-star resorts such as the Ojai Valley Inn and Four Season’s Lana’i, becoming exposed to many high-end wines from around the world. She fell in love with Melville wines on her first visit to the Sta. Rita Hills in 2019 and quickly joined the wine club. That fall she spent two full days assisting with harvest and hasn’t looked back since! In her free time, she likes to hang with her family, garden, snuggle with her dogs, and enjoy music shows.
Kaileen Ryan – Wine Club & Events Manager
Kaileen is an avid wine lover and Melville fan, coming to us with experience in event planning, technology and hospitality. Not only has she been a Melville club member for many years, she also got engaged at our estate! She recently moved to the area from Orange County and lives with her husband Chris and two beautiful Golden Retrievers, Braxton (named after an Ohio State QB) and Beca (named after the main character in the Pitch Perfect movies), a perfect segue into some of her hobbies – Ohio State Football and musicals. We love the verve, hospitality, and passion Kaileen brings to her role here and couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on the team.
Becky Rudar – Tasting Room Lead, Santa Barbara
Becky grew up in a small town in the Midwest. At age 20, she decided to travel the country for several years, experiencing different states and lifestyles. Her passion for wine first sparked when she was managing a fine dining restaurant in Arizona. “The restaurant had two incredible wine cellars filled with an assortment of vino from all over the world. It not only helped my palate evolve, but also triggered a passion to learn.” She moved to California and submerged herself in the wine world. It was just a twist of fate that she fell into the Melville brand and the best thing that could have happened. She now lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and runs Melville’s tasting room on State Street.
Valerie Wood – Tasting Room Lead
Valerie has been at Melville for over a decade. “Basically, I was asked to fill in for someone who was going on an extended holiday for 3 months. Three months turned into 12 years.” “I can vividly remember my first day: I was asked to listen and observe, but it was a Saturday and we got really busy, so I just kind of jumped in, and that was it, I loved it.” “Melville is a special place – good wine, good energy, good people.” In her spare time, Valerie enjoys camping, volunteering at a local animal shelter and eventually hopes to visit all of our national parks.
Julie Engstrom – Creative Marketing Manager
Julie comes to Melville with experience in writing, marketing, sales and a love for wine and “farmy” environments. A graduate from the same alma mater as Chad (USC) and an equally enthusiastic fan of the Grateful Dead, Julie is the behind-the-scenes maven of our email marketing, social media and promotional fun. She has a daughter currently in college, two beautiful huskies Stella and Jed (could those be from songs we know?) and lives part time by the beach and part time in wine-country. She loves sharing the story of Melville and capturing the beauty of our land…