Winemaker, Bella Union
RUTHERFORD, CA - Megan Melief's passion for winemaking is rooted at the intersection of art and science. In 2005, the Marin County, California native graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology. She then headed east, to Washington D.C., where she worked as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health.
At the same time, Melief took a job in an upscale local restaurant with a well-rounded international wine list. She had the opportunity to taste wines from all over the world, and understand how a winemaker's artistic vision of aroma, flavor and mouthfeel blended with the science of winemaking. It was this experience that ultimately ignited the spark for a life in wine.
Melief eventually returned to the west coast and completed a Masters of Pharmacology from the University of Washington. Upon graduating, Melief decided to forego the pharmacology industry and pursue her passion for wine. That September, she found herself pulling hoses and working midnight pumpovers as a cellar intern at Seattle's JM Cellars.
Melief was ultimately drawn back to her native Northern California. In 2009, she joined the Nickel & Nickel winery team as enologist, and eventually earned the role of assistant winemaker. Working with single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines from an array of appellations within the Napa Valley proved a wonderful immersion into the many personalities of the varietal. Melief applied this knowledge when she began crafting the Bella Union Napa Valley Cabernets with the first vintage in 2012. She was named Bella Union Winemaker in June 2014.
Country born: USA
Education: University of California, Berkeley
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years
Philosophy in winemaking