Winemaker, Cliff Lede Vineyards
Melka has the rare combination of talent and fortune to be a top winemaker who started at the top: his first job out of school was at Château Haut Brion. From there, he took a position with the reputable Moueix Company and was sent to Dominus Estate in Yountville to study soils in 1991. Napa Valley soil proved to be a revelation for Melka. After further deepening his expertise with a stint at Dominus sister property Château Petrus in 1993, Melka set out traveling, dividing time between soil study and winemaking at world-renowned wineries: Badio O Coltibuono in Chianti and Chittering Estate in Australia.
Country born: France
Education: Studied geology at the University of Bordeaux. A class in winemaking was a turning point, propelling him to earn a Master’s degree from the school in agronomy and enology
Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years
Honors / Awards:
Melka is recognized as one of the wine industry’s leading winemakers: Robert Parker named him one of the world’s nine most important winemakers, while Food & Wine declared him “winemaker of the year” in 2005
Melka has served as a winemaking consultant for some of Napa’s most highly regarded properties, including Vineyard 29, Hundred Acre, Dana Estates, Gemstone Vineyard and Lail Vineyards. Melka joined Cliff Lede Vineyards in March 2010 and will be working on the 2009 blends. His first full vintage will be 2010.