In 1966, my family bought a ranch with vineyards in the Napa Valley, thinking it a retreat from the city. In 1980, my retired father and I decided to start a winery on the property, giving it the name we each carried, Robert Pepi. Our first harvest was in 1981, and I’ve been making wine ever since. After the winery sold, I became a consulting winemaker, working mainly in California, but traveling also to Argentina, Colorado, and Texas.
Consulting has given me success, freedom, and the ability to work with exceptional vineyards and craft wines of which I am very proud. From time to time while traveling the back roads of California and Argentina, tending to my clients’ vineyards, I see vineyards that do not fit into my clients’ needs, but that excite me with their potential for quality wines. These vineyards were the impetus for starting my own label.
Eponymous began in 2000 with an opportunity to work with grapes that I felt would produce some of the best Cabernet in Napa Valley. Three vintages later another opportunity presented itself, through a friend and passionate vineyard manager, Javier Renteria; he was managing, and still is, MacAllister Vineyard just off the Mt. Veeder ridge. Planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the vineyard’s differing soils and exposures gave me the chance to produce an elegant Bordeaux-style blend from Sonoma County.
In 2008 I found a Syrah vineyard with which I wanted to work, and in 2009 I made Cabernet Franc from the MacAllister Vineyard and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain in Napa Valley (the last two wines will be released in late 2011). I am sure that the story will not end there, as the chance to work with a great vineyard is not one that I can easily pass up.