THE MIND BEHIND THE WINE
Patrick Melley is Winemaker and Co-Founder of Russian Hill and Talawind Ranch wineries.
Patrick’s path to becoming Russian Hill’s Winemaker was fueled by a love of food and wine. A self-taught winemaker, Patrick developed his love of wine through attending FIU, a leading food and beverage college in Florida, coupled with many years of working in the restaurant business. He became a restaurant manager for an international affiliation of restaurants and one of his favorite responsibilities was developing their wine lists. This diverse exposure to wines from around the world refined his palate and sparked a life-long passion for wine and wine and food pairing.
The natural next step was for Patrick to make wine himself. In 1989 he started making wine at home and in 1993, he-co-founded Benicia Cellars Winery, where he was responsible for the general development of the company, grape acquisition and winemaking.
In 1997, Patrick and his partners moved to the Russian River Valley and founded Russian Hill Estate Winery. Here, Patrick could pursue his passion for Pinot noir and other cool climate varietals and make wine from the surrounding estate vineyards.
With the roots of his winemaking skills attained through home winemaking, rather than formal training, paired with his wide exposure to the wine-drinking public, Patrick has developed a unique view of wine styles and winemaking techniques. He particularly enjoys highlighting the nuances that the Russian River Valley’s many microclimates and soil types evoke in his resulting wines. Patrick’s very favorite aspect of his job is assembling the blends from these diverse microclimates, clones and soils – he looks at all the delicious possibilities from the vineyard to the crush pad and finally to the barrels and then crafts the best possible blend for each wine. This is his legacy – creating deliciously memorable wines from the Russian River Valley.