ROBERT L. PEPI
Bob Pepi’s dad bought land in Napa Valley in the mid-1960s and started growing grapes there just around the time that Bob himself was starting college. While Bob’s first love was animals and his major Zoology, it wasn’t too many years before the lure of the vine took hold and Bob took courses at both the University of California’s famed Enology program in Davis, and at The Wine Lab in St. Helena.
In 1980, his dad and he started a winery on the Oakville property, which had grown to over 70 acres of some of the best vineyards in Napa Valley. For over ten years as winemaker and general manager of Robert Pepi Wines, Bob’s wines were best-sellers and consistent 90+ ratings-grabbers. While best know for the winery’s popular Sauvignon Blanc and Sangiovese wines, it was with his first Cabernet Sauvignon that Bob received a “Cellar Selection” designation from the Wine Spectator.
In 1991, Bob became general manager for the California operations of Stimson Lane, again producing award-winning wines, including a Cabernet-based Conn Creek wine that received the highest Wine Spectator ratings of any Stimson Lane label to that time.
His family sold the Robert Pepi label and winery to Kendall-Jackson in 1994, leaving Bob free to take his considerable winemaking knowledge around the world as a prized consultant. With over 60 harvests under his belt, and considerable wine business background and acumen, Bob has a combination of skills and expertise that have made him a valuable asset. In addition to California labels such as Samuel Charles and Two Angels, 90+ rated wines with grapes from the highest vineyards in CA, Bob also lent his talents for over 15 years to Bodega Valentin Bianchi in Mendoza, Argentina. When that relationship ended in 2017, Bob began working in Chile as a consultant for the TerraPura line of “region-specific” varietals from some of the best-known wine-growing areas of the country.
In 2000, a unique opportunity arose for Bob to enter into a long-term arrangement with an exceptional Napa Valley vineyard to utilize their grapes in the production of the first wine he has owned since leaving the family winery. The result, Eponymous, is a powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that has really tapped into the great pleasure Bob gets from making great wines and brings to vivid life his philosophy that wine should be about fun and enjoyment.
Two years later, another vineyard – this time just over the ridge of the Mayacamus Mountains in Sonona – caught his eye. Thus, his second Eponymous — a Meritage named after the MacAllister vineyard from where the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc come – was born. In mid-2011, Bob introduced two red varietals to the Eponymous label – a Cabernet Franc and a Syrah – followed by a proprietary White Blend, with the grapes coming from Carneros.
When not flying around the globe helping his many clients make some of the world’s best wines, or busy tending to the vines for his own label, he can be found in his home in Napa, CA, where he enjoys being with his family and his pets, and playing an occasional “ugly” round of golf.