Dave Vella has been the Vineyard Manager at Chateau Montelena since 1985. Dave’s ancestors came to California in the late 1800’s as grape growers and winemakers, settling in the Central Valley and in Napa Valley. Dave grew up near Modesto farming grapes, almonds and row crops.
In 1976 Dave decided to attend Fresno State University and was
awarded the prestigious American Society of Enologists scholarship,
the first Fresno State student to be awarded this honor. While
attending Fresno State, Dave worked for Gallo as a lab technician.
He and future Chateau Montelena winemaker Bo Barrett met at Fresno
State and quickly became the best of friends, pursuing together
their love of outdoors activities.
Upon graduating with a degree in viticulture and enology in
1978, Dave was hired to be the winemaker at a small family owned
winery and vineyard in the Napa Valley. As the only full time
employee Dave was able to immerse himself in all aspects of the
winemaking and winegrowing process.
In 1985, with the impending retirement of John Rolleri, Chateau
Montelena's original vineyard manager, Bo asked Dave if he would be
interested in working together as a team at Chateau Montelena. "Bo
called, said they wanted an experienced vineyard manager with a
winemaker's perspective and I was that person. I told him it
sounded great, but could such good friends work together without
ruining their friendship?" We decided to give it a shot and it has
worked out very well.
Dave's interests include conservation causes such as Ducks
Unlimited, skiing, diving, dancing, and especially hunting and
fishing with his two sons.