Norma Knobel Hunt, wife of Kansas City Chiefs founder and American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, is a woman devoted to family and its sports-related companies.  In 2000, she founded Bidwell Creek Vineyard, a venture that gives voice to her passion for viniculture.

It was during trips to Tuscany with Lamar that Norma developed an interest in the intriguing link between soil and wine.  She found herself drawn to the region’s golden hillsides and wines expressing the rich, varied soils.
While in the Bay area for a Kansas City Chiefs/Oakland Raiders football game, she and Lamar discovered Knights Valley.  Its landscape and climate were reminiscent of Italy and they found the warm afternoons and cool evenings an ideal environment for growing Bordeaux varietals.  They selected a ranch on the banks of Bidwell Creek and planted the first blocks of vineyard in 2002.



Philippe Melka spent much of his youth in Bordeaux and went on to attend the University of Bordeaux where he earned a geology degree. On a whim, he took a wine course in his final year of study; a decision that became a pivotal move in his life.  He joined Chateau Haut-Brion and developed a passion for Cabernet-based blends and Sauvignon Blanc. While there, he completed a master’s program in Agronomy and Enology under the direction of Professor Sequin, the renowned terroir specialist.

Yearning to know more, Philippe traveled the world’s best regions to study soil and make wine in Napa Valley at Dominus Estate, Western Australia’s Chittering Estate, Badia O Coltibuono in Chianti and in Bordeaux at Chateau Petrus.  This experience enabled him to hone his craft and study under such luminaries as Jean Delmas from Haut-Brion, Christian Moueix and Jean Claude Berrouet from Petrus, and Paul Draper from Ridge.  

Now, as one of the world’s top nine wine consultants (named by Robert Parker), Philippe continues his devotion to winemaking as co-proprietor of Melka Wines with wife Cherie and as consulting winemaker to some of wine’s most acclaimed estates in Napa Valley.



Jim Barbour was raised on his family’s ranch in Rutherford where he learned the life of farming, a passion for land, and the understanding that hard work breeds success.

After graduating from the University of California-Davis, Jim returned to Napa Valley to begin a career that would lead him to become one of Napa Valley’s most sought-after viticulturalists.  For nearly 40 years, he has been dedicated to his craft, producing premium wine grapes using traditional and contemporary hand-farming methods.  Jim has planted and managed some of the valley’s foremost vineyards, including Hundred Acre, Grace Family, Checkerboard, Blankiet, Revana, Cain, Pride, Keever, Husic, Gandona Estate, Pillar Rock, D.R. Stephens, and many more.