Melissa’s grandfather planted his 1st vineyard in Willunga in the same year she was born in the late 1960′s. Her father, Paul Buttery, bought his 1st vineyard in McLaren Vale in 1980 but it was not until 1994 that Melissa joined the family business.
She began working for the family’s vineyard management and contracting business, The Terraces, while undertaking her studies for a degree in Viticulture from Charles Sturt University. With an Associate Diploma in Business from the University of SA already under her belt, Melissa worked her way up to management level in 1997.
Melissa has had responsibility for the management of client’s vineyards all over the region, as well as the family estate of Gemtree. In 2000, she accompanied her husband, Gemtree’s winemaker Mike Brown, while he did a vintage in France and they both undertook their own study tour in France, Italy and Spain. In 2002, she was awarded the Trott Family Trophy for services to Viticulture and the Environment and in 2007 was awarded McLaren Vale’s Grower of the Year.
The Gemtree Wetlands has provided a new focus for Melissa’s energies and has enhanced her commitment to sustainable viticulture. Melissa has been on the board of Greening Australia since 2007. She feels strongly that biodiversity in the vineyard contributes to a healthier ecosystem which leads to more balanced, healthy vines and is ultimately reflected in the wine.