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Lucky Dogg Winery Lands in Solvang; Tasting Room Officially Open for Business

Brent Melville Brings Balance -- in Wines and Farming -- to New Central Coast California Wine Label, Buellton-Based Co-op Winemaking Facility, and Solvang Tasting Room
July 30, 2014


Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – Solvang, CA – Owner/winemaker Brent Melville’s new Solvang wine tasting room has officially opened to the public, serving up his new “Lucky Dogg Winery” ( estate vineyard wines. As of June 28, 2014, the Lucky Dogg Winery tasting room, located in the heart of Solvang, has been welcoming guests with their first five wines in bottle – the Lucky Dogg 2013 Viognier, 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2013 Pinot Noir, 2013 Syrah and 2013 Reserve Syrah – all derived from grapes grown at Cat Canyon’s “Verna’s Vineyard”, in California’s Santa Barbara Wine Country.

Melville has a deep-rooted history in the wine industry, having managed farming operations for his family’s vineyards for the past 25 years. Melville’s first foray into vineyard management came in 1989, when his family purchased a vineyard in Calistoga, California, that would become the original “Melville Vineyards.” He worked grape harvests in that vineyard from 1989 through 1995, moving on to the family’s new vineyard purchase, 40 acres in Lompoc, which they acquired in 1996. In 1997, the family bought an adjacent, 55-acre parcel of land, now the existing “Melville Vineyards and Winery”, in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.

Melville continued to manage the vineyard operations for Lompoc’s Melville Vineyards through 2013, when he decided to venture out on his own – using fruit farmed from the 100-acre Verna’s Vineyard, located in Los Alamos, in the Santa Barbara County Appellation, he launched Lucky Dogg Winery.

Melville now runs Verna’s Vineyard, giving him particular control over the cultivating methods behind his own label’s wines, as well as strategic farming practices for the four other Central Coast labels who pull grapes from Verna’s Vineyard: Tensley Wines, Casa Dumetz Wines, Consilience Wines, and Frequency Wines.

Melville’s farming and winemaking mantra is “all about balance.” He refers to his farming methods as “holistic”, with an end goal of producing wines that represent the grapes’ origins in reference to both the physical traits of the respective terroir, and their original, positive energy and all-around “good vibes.”

Melville’s farming and winemaking philosophy revolves around the notion that perfect fruit will require little-to-no manipulation in the winemaking process and to this end, his Lucky Dogg wines are barreled in neutral oak or kept in stainless steel tanks, allowing the essence of the vineyard and the purity of the grapes – and of the wines – to shine.

“When we decided to launch Lucky Dogg, we had the arduous task of coming up with an appropriate name for the label…then one day on the golf course, my friend, referring to my ‘lucky’ streak, called me a ‘lucky dog’. And it all clicked. We want to share the good karma of our grapes with others, through the resulting wines that we produce,” explains Melville.

The “Lucky Dogg” name does, however, have more than one derivation – his family recently adopted a rescued White Shepherd, aptly named “Lucky.” Lucky was one of the driving forces behind Melville’s inspiration for the new Lucky Dogg Solvang tasting room, which is decidedly dog-friendly.

He continues, “We plan to do a very special barrel in the next couple of harvests, the proceeds of which will go to local animal rescue organizations. What’s good luck, if you can’t share the wealth?”

One of the other driving forces behind both the Lucky Dogg wine label and the new Solvang tasting room, was Melville’s friend, business partner and Lucky Dogg’s vice president/owner, Mead Whippo, the business side of the operation. Mead’s influence on Lucky Dogg Winery is reflected in the label’s tasting room – the original vision for which, was Mead’s, as was the execution of the design plans. Mead can also often be found “behind the bar” at the new tasting room, treating guests to the Lucky Dogg “story”, as the author of Lucky Dogg’s wine tasting notes and wine bottle labels, which relate the winery’s mission and history.

The third business facet of Lucky Dogg Winery, is a physical winery facility in Buellton, California. Located across from fellow Verna’s Vineyard label, Tensley Wines, Brent’s co-operative winemaking facility, “Le Crush”, houses Lucky Dogg’s winemaking operations with room for additional, interested labels.

In line with Melville’s efforts to “keep it local” and keep his label close to the heart, his three children are represented in three of his current wines: Lucky Dogg’s 2013 Syrah is referred to as son “Braeden’s” Blend; the 2013 Viognier is made from grapes from daughter “Ryann’s” Block; and the 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir contains grapes from daughter “Pressley’s” Block.

Lucky Dogg Winery currently produces about 750 cases, and aims to maintain a boutique winery status, with an eventual total of about 1,500 cases. Melville will leverage Verna’s Vineyard’s reputation for producing Burgundian and Northern Rhone-style Santa Barbara County wines, in his future plans to release a stainless steel Chardonnay to accompany the label’s existing Viognier, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir and Syrah, the other varietals currently planted at Verna’s Vineyard.

Lucky Dogg Winery’s tasting room is located at 1607 Mission Drive, Suite 102 (at the corner of Mission Drive and Atterdag Road), Solvang, CA 93463. Lucky Dogg is open from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Sunday through Thursday; and from 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday. The Lucky Dogg tasting room is dog- and kid-friendly; limited lot parking is available behind the building, as well as ample street parking. Lucky Dogg Winery is available for special events and the label will be launching a Wine Club, in the coming months.

To reach the Lucky Dogg Winery tasting room directly, call 805-691-9774. Lucky Dogg Winery is on the Web at, as well as on Facebook and Twitter at and

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