Melissa Aellen: Top Young Ag Professional

Each year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) partners with Frederick Magazine for Frederick’s Top 50 publication. The 2022 issue, released in January, features Frederick’s Top 50 Under 40. Homegrown Frederick wanted to take a similar approach and highlight the young entrepreneurs and leaders in the agriculture and craft beverage industries. The Homegrown Frederick magazine, released June 1, announces Frederick County’s Top Young Agricultural Professionals. Each week we will be highlighting these individuals so you can get to know them better.

Melissa Aellen, 31, is a Winemaker and the Director of Operational Change at Linganore Winecellars and is named as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. Growing up working on her family’s farm winery instilled a passion in her to help carry on the family legacy. Upon graduating from Cornell University and honing her winemaking skills throughout the United States and New Zealand, she returned home as the third generation to operate the Mt. Airy winery. The farm is home to 230 total acres, 70 of which encompass vines that help to produce over 40 wines. Melissa explains how all aspects of the winemaking process come directly from their farm. From growing and harvesting grapes to processing, bottling and storing wine, Linganore Winecellars is a true “farm to glass operation.”

Melissa is heavily involved in the operation of the farm winery. She states that while her formal experience lies within winemaking, as a member of the executive team, she is also a key part of the decision-making process. Day-to-day operations, wine club and public events are among the departments Melissa oversees. She is most proud to have convinced the Executive Team to host and participate in an impactful leadership-training course for their entire management team. Throughout the training, they learned how to be more effective leaders, which would in turn enhance workplace culture. She also expressed how the training helped the team learn and apply tools to be able to work more productively.

Melissa has taken an active role in leadership not only at Linganore Winecellars but also within the industry and community. She has been treasurer for the Frederick County Farm Bureau Young Farmer’s Committee since 2017 and is co-chair of the Education Committee for the Maryland Wine Association.  

Melissa attributes her success to listening. “In a world that moves so fast, it can be extremely challenging, but letting others speak and hear what they have to say can promote confidence which will only allow the team to be stronger. As an active listener, I reflect upon others’ thoughts before stating my own.” She also stated, “By focusing on my own personal path and finding a sense of purpose, I am in a better position to support others’ growth and development as a leader.” 

We are proud to honor Melissa Aellen as one of Frederick County’s Top Young Ag Professionals. The full list can be found here. It is safe to say the local agricultural industry has a bright future ahead with young leaders like Melissa at the helm. Be sure to congratulate Melissa from Linganore Winecellars on this well-deserved accolade!