Who Is Melody Fuller?
About Melody Fuller, The President and Founder, Oakland Wine Festival and The Exceptional Vine:
Melody was named Best Westerner by Sunset Magazine for the innovative and creative work that she does in the wine world. Melody is also a prolific Bay Area food and wine writer, educator and proud Oakland native. The Oakland Wine Festival is the result of the desire to further acknowledge an overlooked – yet key – community of wine lovers who appreciate having world-class vintners and chefs within arm’s reach.
Fuller builds upon a history of educating the world about the truths of Oakland’s fascinating lore.
Also an independent professional wine, food and travel writer, Fuller is an author who writes white papers and articles and serves as the Food and Wine Editor for Alameda County Renew Magazine. She has traveled internationally to learn about food and wine. Melody also filmed a TV show for a local network at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival in 2014.
Fuller is an invited attendee of The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley.
Her most memorable wine experiences took place on the eve of her first Symposium while having dinner in St. Helena. Her “professor,” Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr., was dining nearby, and after a delightful conversation about the days to come, Fuller – accepting a light-hearted challenge from Mr. Parker – accurately blind guessed all four wines he and his companions were enjoying.
New: Written By Sharon Pieniak Doors Open Wide: Meet Melody Fuller and the Oakland Wine Festival
By Deborah Adeyanju
Melody Fuller: Food, travel, and wine Writer and Organizer of Oakland Wine Festival (OWF) is a one woman powerhouse. A native of Oakland and the daughter of entrepreneurs, she came up with the idea for the festival last year.
“It changed everything for me,”
Fuller’s wine epiphany came early: “ I had my first sip of Champagne to celebrate my parents’ first store opening.” Although she didn’t know what Champagne was at the time, Fuller knew what she was drinking was special. She has treated it as a special occasion and now regular libation ever since.
Her first trip to France was to pay a visit to first growth Mouton Rothschild. Although she traveled on a shoestring budget, Fuller says her hosts welcomed her graciously, treating her like royalty, a far cry from her first experiences visiting Napa. “It changed everything for me,” says Fuller. In a way though, Fuller has now squared the circle. As she recalls, when she shared her idea for Oakland Wine Festival with Michael Silacci of Opus One, he responded, “I’m behind you” without hesitation.
Russ Weis, Silverado Vineyards, Melody and Chef James Syhabout prepare for the Patrons Dinner.
“Weekends were for eating.”
Despite its name, Oakland Wine Festival also prominently showcases some of the city’s top chefs. Where does Fuller’s passion for writing about and sharing good food come from? She credits her maternal grandfather, Mr. Savage Levi Parker: “He did farm to table cooking before it was a thing.” There were “Friday fish fry feasts” featuring fish he caught in Berkeley, Sunday dinners, and so many other food celebrations. Fuller says she didn’t fully realize until much later what an impression those weekends and times full of love, fun, food and excitement gathered around her grandfather’s table had made.
Fuller is at work on a memoir entitled The Table. She doesn’t yet have a completion date in mind, but feels that in a sense OWF is an embodiment of The Table’s ethos: beautiful wine and food in a convivial setting.
With Oakland’s increasing profile on the foodie circuit, Fuller’s message to those who want to learn more about its rich culinary history is to do their research of its food and wine legacy. She believes many of today’s chefs and wine professionals stand on the shoulders of those who came decades before them. “I want them to know that they, like me, stand in shoes that take hard work to fill.”
I am an independent professional wine, food, and travel writer. I write books, white papers, articles, and I engage in exciting publishing opportunities to educate, inform, and entertain.
I am a wine educator leading monthly classes and clubs through wine regions both near and far.
For many years, I traveled locally and around the world learning about wine, food, meeting vintners, and building relationships one sip at a time.
I filmed my first TV show at Pebble Beach Food and Wine.
For two years I was invited attendee of The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. This is a tremendous honor and high recognition of the work that I do. On the eve of the 2014 Symposium, I was having dinner with a dear friend in St. Helena. My professor, aka, Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr., who was just one table away, was dining with friends as well. He and I had a delightful conversation about the days to come. I capped our evening by correctly opening and pouring my friend’s wine for him and by accurately blind guessing the four wines he and his companions were enjoying.
I am a wine educator, leading a couple of monthly wine tasting clubs and simply being a friend and taster at another wine club that meets every other month.
I look forward to your continued support of the Oakland Wine Festival!