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Wine bottle and glass

NEW RELEASE!
2013 Viognier
Wine ClubWine Shop

  

PATRICK J. MELLEY

WINEMAKER, RUSSIAN HILL ESTATE WINERY

Patrick is winemaker and co-founder of Russian Hill Estate Winery, a small family operated winery founded in 1997 in the Russian River Valley.

A self-taught winemaker, Patrick developed his interest in wine through the restaurant business.  After studying food and beverage service in college, Patrick became a restaurant manager for an international affiliation of restaurants.  The opportunity to evaluate and develop wine lists for a wide range of restaurants, both national and international, allowed Patrick to study the changing styles in wine that were attracting new consumers and to refine his own palate.

The natural next step for Patrick was to make wine himself.  He began as a home winemaker in 1989 and, in 1993, co-founded Benicia Cellars Winery.  Here he was responsible for general development of the company, grape acquisition and winemaking, specializing in Merlot and Cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley fruit.

In 1997, Patrick and his partners moved to the Russian River Valley and founded Russian Hill Estate Winery.  Here Patrick could pursue his love of Pinot noir and Syrah and make wine from Estate vineyards.  Recognizing the effects of the variations of the Russian River Valley’s many microclimates and soil types, Patrick evokes these nuances in the wines he produces.  Through blending, Patrick uses his talents as winemaker to express his understanding and love of each variety.  In the production of single vineyard wines, Patrick’s goal as winemaker is transparency – to let each vineyard speak through the wine.

With the roots of his winemaking skills attained through home winemaking and self education rather than formal training, and with his wide exposure to the wine drinking public, Patrick has developed an unbiased view of wine styles and winemaking techniques.  He is happy to now be able to apply these talents to the production of wines from the Russian River Valley.

Ellen Mack

PRESIDENT, RUSSIAN HILL ESTATE WINERY
 

Ellen Mack, together with her husband Edward Gomez and their nephew, winemaker Patrick Melley, conceived and founded Russian Hill Estate Winery in 1997. Here she finds great contentment as she nurtures her vineyards amidst stunning views of the Russian River Valley. As President of Russian Hill, Ellen is responsible for many aspects of managing the winery but her primary interests are vineyard development, including site selection and variety/clonal selection with an aim to find the perfect complement for the respective soils and climate.

 

Formerly a neurologist and neuro-oncologist with the University of California at San Francisco, Ellen stepped away from a promising academic career to devote all of her attention to the winery.  She approaches medicine and winemaking with the same philosophy.  “Both are a science and an art form; they require a balance between two different types of thinking,” she explains.  Her husband Ed says, “Ellen was intuitively an excellent physician and that is also true with her foray into viticulture.”

 

One of her great success stories is Ellen’s Block. “This was a new, but forlorn, vineyard block that really seemed to be failing. It presented so many challenges and needed so much attention that consultants suggested ripping it out.  But I saw promise in those vines and nurtured the vineyard block into one of our favorite Syrah sources. I found the experience a gratifying culmination of science, art, and passion,” explains Ellen.

 

Ellen remains active in both the wine and medical communities as an officer of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and of the Society of Medical Friends of Wine.  She also serves on the Research and Education Committee of the Wine Institute and is interviewed frequently by national media, including ABC News, NPR, and Discovery Health Channel, as a source for scientific perspectives on wine and health.