Winemaker and founder, Bob Pepi, built his reputation making Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese for his family’s Napa Valley winery throughout the 1980s and early ’90s. Since 1995, Bob has worked as a consultant with vineyards in Argentina, Chile, Colorado, Texas, and most of the best grape growing areas in California. This has not only given him a broader background as a grape grower and winemaker, but has expanded opportunities to find some great vineyards from which he makes small quantities of his own wine for Eponymous.
I named my wine Eponymous in a playful vein. Eponymous means ‘one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named.’ My fanciful definition is ‘a play on words by one who is unable to use his family name on his own bottle of wine’.
In 1966, the Pepi family bought a ranch with vineyards in the Napa Valley, thinking it would be a retreat from the city. In 1980, Bob and his retired father decided to start a winery on the property, giving it the name they each carried, Robert Pepi Winery. Focusing on vineyard quality and innovation, including the development of a new trellising system to improve quality and the reintroduction of the Sangiovese grape to California, their first harvest was in 1981 and Bob has been making wine ever since. After the winery sold in 1994, he became a consulting winemaker, working mainly in California, but traveling also to Argentina, Colorado, and Texas.
Consulting gave Bob success, freedom, and the ability to work with exceptional vineyards and craft wines of which he was very proud. From time to time, while traveling the back roads of California and Argentina and tending to his client’s vineyards, Bob found vineyards that didn’t necessarily fit into his client’s needs, but that excited him with their potential for quality wines. These vineyards were the impetus for starting his own label, Eponymous Wines.
In 2000, Eponymous Wines was founded, giving Bob an opportunity to work with grapes that he 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, who was managing the MacAllister Vineyard just off the Mt. Veeder ridge. Planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the vineyard’s differing soils and exposures provided an opportunity to produce an elegant Bordeaux-style blend from Sonoma County. In 2008, Bob found a Syrah vineyard with which he wanted to work, and in 2009 made a Cabernet Franc from the MacAllister Vineyard and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain in Napa Valley, which was released in 2011.
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