The Owners, Winemaker & Managers
MAGIC IN THE MAKING
OWNER & MANAGING PARTNER
Gloria grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA., and moved on to New York City to attend the Parsons School of Design. She lived in NYC for thirteen years, where she formed her own firm, Priam Design, until moving to Connecticut to take a break from city life. She continued in the marketing and advertising industry for many years until transitioning into agriculture.
In 1998 Gloria and her former business partner purchased the last few acres of a third generation family farm and started planting the vineyard, dedicating every hour available while working their full time jobs. They started with the intent of being growers for other vineyards in CT, but quickly escalated to a winery when they realized the quality of product being produced from their land. Gloria dedicated most of her time in 2002 and 2003 to obtaining federal and state liquor licensing and getting the barn/winery built. The winery opened in 2003 for retail sales and tastings, achieving international acclaim in their first two years by winning 24 international wine competition medals. They won Gold in the Berlin International Wine Competition, Germany, adding to the numerous International Wine Competition medals they have won to date. Gloria now manages the many aspects of the winery business, weddings, events and wine sales as a full time position.
" Gloria was such a joy to talk to at the menu tasting, and Jim was extremely helpful when we ran into some unexpected circumstances with weather." xo Nic
OWNER & MANAGING PARTNER
Jim Melillo has spent much of his adult life as successful entrepreneur helping to build multiple companies including, helping to create the largest franchisee company in the world as well as the premier Learning company for Business to Business sales. He has a strong background as a finance officer and consultant to multiple industries worldwide in the fields of Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Sales. He began his relationship with wine by running the Les Ami du Vin of Boston moving on to consulting to wineries in the Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valleys of California on purchases, varietal selection as well as marketing and now works with all of the departments at Priam from Events to viticulture and wine making.
For the last decade he resided in Seattle and Santa Barbara County both centers for entrepreneurial wine making and growth. Jim has been in demand as a business speaker and appeared before audiences from 15 to 5,000 in more than 55 countries globally. He has built companies from scratch into the millions and hundreds of millions of dollars revenue. He has tripled the size of the tasting area increase production capacity by 100% at Priam while working with a great team to double wine sales in 3+ years. He continues directing the growth of the winery as well as working as chief cook and bottle washer in all areas as needed.
" The wine was amazing! The rosé paired perfectly with a hot day. The reception tent at the venue dressed up beautifully and the scenery in the vineyard itself was stunning." xo Amy
We are pleased to welcome Ruaan Viljoen as our Winemaker. He comes to us all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, in the heart of the wine region, where he was born. Ruaan has worked in small to large scale wine production environments covering a broad spectrum of wine production from bulk to ultra Premium, with cultivars such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon /Ruby, Muscat d’Alexandre, Riesling and Malbec.
With 14 vintages behind him, Ruaan has significant experience in quality and premium wine production from such wineries as Kendall Jackson and Merry Edwards in Sonoma, CA, and Welbedacght, Boschendall, Glen Carlou, Grand Provance and Klawer Wines in South Africa. He is able to bring significant knowledge to all aspects of the vineyard and winery with his extensive background in soil science, Pomology, viticulture and oenology.
If he were to be described with tasting notes as a bottle of wine...the Aromatics would be classic and traditional with traces of stubbornness masking the fresh, young fruit. The palate would surprise you with emotion and sensitivity. Extremely modest and honest allowing the truth of the terroir to show.
We look forward to his bringing new approaches and ideas to our the world-class wines produced here at Priam Vineyards.
" Our family and friends are still raving about the vineyard, the beauty of it, the delicious food, and outstanding staff/service. " xo Nikki
Christopher J. Barone
TASTING ROOM SALES MANAGER
Born and raised in a Nantucket dream, Christopher J. Barone brings an air of charm and contagious laughter to our winery. Christopher comes to Priam with more than 10 years of hospitality and bar experience. He has served operations and caterers in Connecticut as well as our very own wedding events over the years.
He is now very excited to share his laughter with his new customers here at Priam Vineyards. Come in to meet Christopher, and learn more about our award-winning wines.
" The venue is absolutely gorgeous! We got married in front of the vines! We highly recommend this venue to anyone looking for a beautiful vineyard wedding. " xo Jessica
WEDDING & EVENTS COORDINATOR
I joke and say I was “made in Mexico and born and raised in Connecticut'', which is partly true as my Jetsetter, American mother fell in love with my Mexican father when she was living and studying in Mexico City. Just like my mother, I love cultures of all kinds from food, music, lifestyle, fashion, dance and wine! I am dedicated and passionate about the Event and Wedding industry. After years of working in marketing and events, I’m able to use my creative abilities and graphic design skills to my advantage which helps me in all aspects of what I do - from sales, marketing, structure, style and helping clients channel their vision. A true creative with an academic background, I revel in finding out what makes things tick and then figure out if there’s even more to explore from problem-solving, procedures as well as paying attention to aesthetics and trends. The event and wedding industry is always changing and evolving and that’s what keeps my interest. Being able to work with clients and event professionals where we work together to produce milestone events and once-in-a-lifetime celebrations that ensure unforgettable and meaningful memories is what keeps me motivated.