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Fall 2015 Newsletter

les collines 1the 2015 growing season

The wave of very hot weather during the summer of 2015 accelerated ripening in the vineyards. For the first time in our history, we began pulling in fruit during late August at a point when our crews were still busily working at their normal vineyard duties. Overnight, we were in full harvest mode.

During harvest, our crews arrive anywhere between 4:00 and 5:30am in attempt to beat the heat later in the day. You often hear laughter and shouts of encouragement echoing through the vines. The day typically ends around 3:30pm, with a short midday lunch break. Our crews work quickly and diligently for weeks on end. They get dirty, sticky, and sore, all while the intense Walla Walla Valley sunlight beams overhead. It is challenging work from which we all enjoy the "fruits" of their labor.

TO OUR VINEYARD CREW: WE APPRECIATE YOU!


Exciting Accolades

00915_WA Winemaker of Year 0915_WA Vineyard of Year
 Winemaker Jean-François Pellet
Named Winemaker of the Year
2015 Washington Wine Awards
"... he was persuaded in 1999 to move to the Walla Walla Valley and join Pepper Bridge Winery. Since Pellet's arrival, the Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots under the Pepper Bridge label have become reference points for the Walla Walla Valley, exemplars of structured, classy, age-worthy wines."
 Les Collines Vineyard
Named Vineyard of the Year

2015 Washington Wine Awards
"Les Collines (French for 'the hills') is a 300-acre site, and 221 of those acres have been planted out with wine grapes... The site is prized for its expressive, plush, wild mountain Syrah fruit... The list of wineries that have bottled single-vineyard Les Collines Syrah reads like a who's who for the Walla Walla Valley."
View full Seattle Magazine article here.


Meet our new tasting room and hospitality managerMark-2

    Since his initial visit to Walla Walla wine country in 2000, Pepper Bridge Winery has remained an all-time favorite for Mark Hester. He became a member of our Wine and Vine Clubs, and subsequent visits enticed him to move to Walla Walla when retirement beckoned from his Seattle-based career in the aviation industry.
    It was an easy transition becoming a part of the Pepper Bridge family. Mark is well acquainted with all of the great wines that Pepper Bridge produces. He hopes to ensure that customers have an outstanding experience at our winery and with our fine wines.



New Releases

pb_merlot_NO VINTAGE_cropped for web
2013 MERLOT
VARIETAL(S): 78% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec
VINEYARD(S): 48% Seven Hills, 45% Pepper Bridge, 7% Octave
APPELLATION: 100% Walla Walla Valley
OAK PROGRAM: 17 months in 100% French oak; 38% new, 62% neutral
pb_7HV_no vintage_for web 2013 SEVEN HILLS VINEYARD
VARIETAL(S): 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot
VINEYARD(S): 100% Seven Hills
APPELLATION: 100% Walla Walla Valley
OAK PROGRAM: 17 months in 100% French oak; 41% new, 59% neutral


An Interview with Sommelier Chris Hornchris horn


     We recently had the opportunity to ask Chris Horn (winner of the Washington Wine Awards' Sommelier of the Year title and Wine Director at Seattle's Purple Café and Wine Bar) a few questions. Here's what he had to say about our wines and production region:
ARE THERE QUALITIES ABOUT PEPPER BRIDGE WINES THAT ARE PARTICULARLY APPEALING TO YOU AND/OR YOUR CUSTOMERS?
    It's funny - the answer is in the question: quality. There are few wines that consistently perform year after year. I can't recall ever printing a wine list without Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon on it. It is something we can rely on regardless of vintage.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT VINTAGE CONSISTENCY WITHIN OUR WINES?
    It's not that the wines of Pepper Bridge taste identical vintage to vintage -  quite the opposite. Every year is different, as it should be - but a "difficult" vintage is where we can appreciate careful farming and careful winemaking. Vintages are inconsistent, but intent shouldn't be - and when you have a dedicated team with a singular vision of excellence, what you get are wines that are constantly good. That's the reason people become passionate about wineries like Pepper Bridge: every vintage year is expressed, every vintage delivers pleasure.
IS THERE A SPECIFIC MEMORY ABOUT THE WINERY YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
    My first time out to the winery (well over a decade ago) I got to spend an extraordinary afternoon with Norm McKibben. It was an unexpected and gracious amount of his personal time. Most people in his position wouldn't be bothered. Having that day taught me everything about the history and spirit of Walla Walla - it led me to an appreciation of the fact that people aren't in Walla Walla looking for a lifestyle, they are there to make great wine. And I'm not the only one that has been on the receiving end of that hospitality. Many of my staff members who have visited over the years have been surprised by his willingness to share his experiences motivated by nothing beyond wanting people to hear what Walla Walla and Pepper Bridge are all about...

We hope to see you at one of our tasting rooms or events soon; enjoy the rest of 2015!