Policies

© 2008-2017 BRAND Napa Valley LLC, Policies

 



THE TEAM

Ed & Deb Fitts
Proprietors

Philippe Melka
Winemaker

Eric White
Director of Winemaking

Robbie Crabb
Cellar Master

Sierra Antognini
Consumer Relations Manager

Josh Clark
Vineyard Management

Ed & Deb Fitts, Proprietors
"We have always believed in building the strongest business and personal relationships possible, selecting the right model and choosing the best people. We were drawn to this spectacular location above the cloud line because of the view of the distant valley and Lake Hennessey, but what we found up close was the proven soil of our neighbors and upon deeper inspection, we discovered that this land was ripe with promise. We were compelled to develop the potential of this property and guided by the expertise of our team we feel that we have begun the journey of a lifetime. Our vision is to build BRAND to a highly recognized name that represents the best red wine our vineyards on Pritchard Hill have to offer. Our personal goal is to help promote vineyards on Pritchard Hill as the most respected in the valley.”
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Philippe Melka—Winemaker
"Over the last 18 years I have been involved in very few projects where I've felt from the start that there was something special, like BRAND. It could be because of the chemistry of the team, the amazing site or something else. What I do know is from Ed and Deb Fitts the owners, Josh the vineyard manager, Juancarlos the architect, they all are dedicated to work really hard for excellence. So, with my general philosophy of letting the grapes shine throughout our wines, plus having integrity, respect, friendship, gentle winemaking using gravity and lots of fun, I certainly believe that we should reach our goals" For the last 15 years, Philippe has made an extraordinary winemaking contribution in Napa Valley. His undergraduate degree in Geology from University of Bordeaux and a Masters in Agronomy and Enology were the foundation for his continued fascination with soil and it’s influence on the quality of wine. Fortunate in his mentors and with a worldly perspective gained by working at some of the world’s best estates including Chateau Haut Brion, Dominus Estate, Chittering Estate, Badia O Coltibuono and Chateau Petrus, Philippe brings to BRAND a wealth of experience. Philippe and his wife Cherie own Melka Wines together and have two children.
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Eric White— Director of Winemaking
You could say that winemaking came to Eric quite naturally. (His mother is the winemaker for the family’s winery in Illinois.) His dedication to this path led him to pursue his B.S. in wine and viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and whether it was an affinity for the weather or the varietals, Eric put down roots in California, working for Four Vines Winery in Paso Robles before landing at Heitz Wine Cellars, working his way up the ladder until he was named associate winemaker. Thankfully, we were able to lure him away from the Valley floor and he now works hand in hand assisting our esteemed winemaker Philippe Melka here at BRAND. Eric’s expertise and tenacity has been invaluable as we continue to enhance the quality of our vineyards and the wines they produce.
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Robbie Crabb—Cellar Master
Robbie grew up on the Puget Sound just outside of Seattle, and turned his early passion for local wine into a career, attending Walla Walla Community College where he earned a degree in enology and viticulture. After several years of time divided between harvests in Walla Walla and salmon seasons in Alaska where he worked on a commercial fishing boat, Robbie accepted an internship at Somerston Wine Company in Napa Valley where his work ethic and cellar skills earned him coveted internships in New Zealand and Australia. In 2015 Robbie was invited to join the BRAND team and currently puts his considerable talent and knowledge to work leading our Cellar team.
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Sierra Antognini—Consumer Relations Manager
Sierra’s Napa Valley roots date back four generations and her family is well-known here. Her great-grandfather, Salvatore Emmolo established a grapevine rootstock nursery in St. Helena in 1923, which her grandfather, Frank Emmolo continued to manage well into the late 1900’s. Sierra earned her degree in communication and sociology at UC Davis and has put her passion for people to good use in the field of hospitality. She has proven to be an invaluable member of our team and you can look for her to offer you a warm welcome and the highest level of service at BRAND Napa Valley.
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Josh Clark—Vineyard Management
"The dramatic site on which BRAND's vineyards and winery are located has directed the project from the beginning. The vineyards demand a high level of presence and commitment and are guided by Ed’s singular vision for excellence." Clark grew up at his father’s side in the vineyards of Napa Valley. With his degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Agricultural Business from California Polytechnic State University, Clark’s passion for worldwide wine and food was ignited by a trip to Europe where he toured the classic wine growing regions and discovered the “old world” wines of Italy, France and Spain. His return to the Napa Valley in 1999 to take over the management of Clark Vineyard Management allowed Clark to do something special on this global stage of wine making. Clark and his wife Heather also own their own wine label, Saunter and have three children.
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