Harry Merlo Jr. graduated in 1992 from California State University, Fresno, with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and a minor in Enology.
Billie Merlo graduated with a BS in Plant Science and an emphasis on Production.
Following graduation, Harry Jr. interned at Parducci Winery before becoming manager of Lago di Merlo Vineyards and Winery.
Harry Merlo Sr. began at the age of five crushing grapes with his feet below the railroad tracks in the Italian section of Stirling City, California. His Father, Giuseppe Merlo, an Italian immigrant, was considered the wine steward of the High Sierra lumber town. He would set a washtub on the woodshed floor and dump into it a 50-pound lug of zinfandel grapes and young Harry would begin to stomp. Thus began his association with the wine industry. Harry has often said that he qualifies as a connoisseur of wine because he has purple feet.
The tradition continued with the acquisition of Harry’s vineyard near Geyserville, California in 1965. In the mid 1960’s he delivered his first truckload of grapes to Italian Swiss Colony Winery. They weighed his truck and gave him a receipt priced at $50 per ton.
Family interest in winemaking led his son, Harry Jr., to study viticulture and enology at California State University, Fresno. Following graduation, Harry Jr. ultimately became Manager of Lago di Merlo Vineyards & Winery at the Merlo Ranch in Sonoma County.
Under his third generation leadership, the Merlo’s expanded the vineyard to over 200 acres.