About Us | Bon Niche Cellars

About Us

Sitting only 12 miles east of Paso Robles, Bon Niche Cellars has a 7-acre SIP-Certified vineyard, sustainably producing Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. The rich soil, hot days, and brisk nights are perfect for these varietals, which grow well in our Paso Robles Estrella AVA terroir. We curate single varietal estate wines, and source grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from nearby vineyards to create distinctive, small batch wines. Other varietals from nearby Paso Robles vineyards can also be found on the tasting list. 

 Originally planted in 2009, the vineyard is cared for now by Melani Harding and a menagerie of animals (and humans!).

About the Crew

Melani, Owner & Winemaker

Melani’s love of wine started when she was a Navy nurse stationed in Naples, Italy, in 2009.  While living in Italy, she traveled throughout Europe and gathered wines along the way, creating an impressive collection. She fell in love with the way wine brought people together. Over the next 10 years, she hosted wine gatherings, taught and took classes, and took an informal but fun approach to learning about wine.

In 2017, Melani began volunteering at the Tackitt Family Vineyards for a Warrior Helping Warriors fundraiser, where she fell further in love with the winemaking process, the people, and Paso Robles.  She offered to assist the Tackitts at their events and started to learn more about the intricacies of winemaking and viticulture under the tutelage of Leon Tackitt- this is where she realized her dream of owning a winery.  Melani knows the importance of the translation of the Bon Niche name- “a good place.”  Through the years, she has come to realize that life is about enjoying the people, the place, and the moment.  Wine has brought many people, places, and special moments to life for Melani, and her dream is to create a very good place with great wine.

Gilbert the winery pig

Gilbert, our KuneKune pig, joined the farm in November, 2021. He loves to eat grass and get tomatoes from visitors! In 2023, he was joined by Pua, a female KuneKune pig, and together, they love wandering the vineyards in the morning and napping in the shade in the afternoons. During harvest of 2023, we also added Porky and Petunia to the farm! 

See more of their adventures on Instagram @gilbertthewinerypig

Barley, Vineyard Supervisor

Born in 2015, Barley was rescued by Melani when he was nearly a year old. Three-quarters standard poodle and one-quarter St. Bernard (yes, really!), this St. Berdoodle loves being in the vineyard. 

In 2020, Barley was hit by a car and became a tripawd – he’s still a happy dood, and we have been so supported by our community during his recovery.  He’s since devoted his time to being our Vineyard Supervisor, chasing squirrels, rabbits, and identifying water leaks! 

Follow his antics on Instagram! @barleyvondoodle

Larry & the Goats, Ground Management crew

Our collection of Nigerian Dwarf goats is led by Larry, who is extremely friendly and hopes you’ll open the treat bin! All of the goats are boys, and they help out with the weeds on the property. They love climbing on cars, trucks, the forklift, the atv…  They aren’t allowed to roam during the growing season, so they travel the vineyard in our own “Goat Tractor” (patent pending, ha). 

Papa Don

Melani’s grandfather is a permanent resident of the farm now, and loves taking care of the sheep – especially Blondie, who he bottle-fed for the first 3 months of her life! They are now a bonded pair and can be seen wandering around together. When Papa isn’t with Blondie, you can find him watching the gate while smoking his pipe, or out on the tractor he bought for himself!