Winemaker, Parallel Napa Valley
I spent much of my youth in Bordeaux, France, earning my geology degree from the University of Bordeaux. On a whim, I took a wine course in my final year of study - a decision that changed my life.
My journey started at Chateau Haut Brion (where my passion for cabernet-based blends and sauvignon blanc began) and I completed a masters program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, the renowned terroir specialist. I was fascinated by the relationship between soil and wine quality,
a fascination which continues today.
Yearning to know more, I set out for Napa Valley (Dominus Estate), Western Australia (Chittering Estate), Chianti in Italy (Badia O Coltibuono) and Bordeaux (Chateau Petrus) where I divided my time between soil study and winemaking. However, the great diversity of terroirs I found in Napa Valley, and its potential for extraordinary wines, was a revelation to me.
So, with the knowledge I've gained around the world, I've devoted the past 15 years to winemaking here in Napa Valley, both as a consultant to the most highly regarded estate wineries, and as co-proprietor of Melka Wines with my wife, Cherie. We've also found time to raise a beautiful family together.
I feel fortunate to have been trained and influenced by some of the most notable personalities in the wine business: Jean Delmas and Jean Philippe Masclef from Haut-Brion, Christian Moueix and Jean Claude Berrouet from Petrus, Paul Draper from Ridge, Daniel Baron from Silver Oak and Michel Rolland from Chateau Pasteur.
Country born: France
Education: University of Bordeaux, France - Geology degree
Chateau Haut Brion, Masters Program in Agronomy and Enology
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
Honors / Awards:
My recent naming as one of the top 9 wine consultants in the world by Robert Parker has been truly humbling, and a terrific honor. But my pursuit of excellence in this field I'm so passionate about has only just begun.
Food & Wine magazine's 2005 Winemaker of the Year
I believe that the wine must tell the story of the native soil and let the fruit produced by a great vineyard, not the art of the winemaker, shine through.