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.
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.
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.
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.”