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Melissa Phillips-Stroud and Michael David Winery: Where Unconventional Wines Meet Distinctive Marketing

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The Michael David family is one of a kind, and that’s the way they like it. The winery’s founders, brothers Michael and David Phillips, are fifth-generation grape growers who have raised their families in the vineyard, and now a sixth generation has joined the team. 

Mike’s daughter, Melissa Phillips-Stroud, and her brother, Kevin, are continuing the family tradition. Founded in 1984, the Michael David Winery was the seventh winery established in Lodi. It has become more than a wine business; it’s a culture. 

Deep Roots
Philanthropist, eternal optimist, dance enthusiast, sister, wife and mother, Melissa, VP of sales and marketing, took her place in the family business to establish the Michael David brand. After graduating from California Polytechnic State University with a double degree in agricultural business and wine and viticulture, she went on to Sonoma State University to obtain her certificate in wine business management. 

Joining the family business wasn’t always on her agenda. “The winery didn’t really take off until I was in high school. I really grew up on the farm in our family homestead. I loved working alongside my grandmother, who lived onsite, raising rabbits, growing flowers and sewing.” Before her father and uncle established the wine business, they grew fruits, flowers and vegetables as part of the original farmer’s market movement in California. “One of my favorite things when I was young was helping with the farmers markets,” said Melissa. 

Shattering the Wine Glass Ceiling
Melissa started her career in Seattle as a wine representative and made her mark in the industry conquering the northwest territory. Traveling around the country doing wine dinners and promoting the family business, she worked as the northwest regional manager until 2010, when she moved back to Lodi to establish the western U.S. region. 

Today, Melissa has over ten years of experience under her belt. “The best part of my job is being able to influence the changes we can make. Whether it’s creating marketing plans, increasing sales, working with the staff to create a better customer experience, or working with the human resources department to implement new benefits for employees, I love that I can make positive changes,” said Melissa. A challenge she often encounters is working in a male-dominated industry, yet her success often outshines her male counterparts, and with a smile she references an article in VinePair asserting that women are better at tasting wine than men. 

Step Right Up!
As one of the brand’s creative masterminds, Melissa strives for innovative approaches and empowering the 200-plus employees at the winery. Marketing campaigns and strategies center around the winery’s unique outlook on life, a bit of whimsical madness combined with a quirky sense of humor. Campaigns such as Fake News: Real Wine take center stage; those who want to get their freak on can revel in the numerous sideshow antics held at the winery. With two tasting rooms, a bistro, a café and gorgeous outdoor grounds, patrons can overcome their cenosillicaphobia, the fear of an empty glass. 

In addition to pick-up parties, the winery hosts an array of fun and eclectic events such as Comedylicious, Reggae & Rhone with the infamous Mystic Bowie performing under the stars, with proceeds going to programs that focus on youth and elderly citizens in the Lodi community. Family Nights are a new event, during which the littlest members of the family can enjoy a night out with Mom and Dad playing lawn games and munching on wood-fired pizzas at the bistro.

 #LodiRules, #LodiRoots
The madness behind the brand starts and ends with exceptional grapes grown with the highest standards possible. The winery is still run by the family, which is committed to the land, the community and the spirit of Lodi. Their unconventional collection of wines is responsibly grown in Lodi with strict adherence to the Lodi Rules, a set of over 100 standards that account for all aspects of making quality wine in a sustainable manner. 

Wine connoisseurs can enjoy award-winning wines that have been 150 years in the making. With a little bit of something for everyone, wines include Freakshow, 7 Deadly Zins, Inkblot, Earthquake and Rapture. With 8,000 wine club members, Michael David Winery offers a unique wine club experience with a twist. Membership is free, and members receive wine discounts, free tastings, tours, first access to new releases and reserve wines, and access to exclusive events. Rumor has it staff has witnessed a weird number of friendships forming via the wine club, and they’re pretty pumped about it. 

Whether it’s taking in a show, winding down on the patio while sipping award-winning wines, or noshing on bistro food, the Michael David Winery invites everyone to beef up their circus lingo and become an honorary family member.

Visit Michael David Winery’s website at michaeldavidwinery.com and follow them on Facebook, where followers can confess their sins and get their freak on. #FakeNewsRealWine