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Jean-François Pellet

amavi_pepperbridge_070 Born and raised in Switzerland, Winemaker Jean-François Pellet is a third-generation wine grower. Working alongside his father, who has managed the same vineyard for 30 years, Jean-François always knew what he wanted to do with his life: make world-class wine.

Jean-François supplemented his experience by earning degrees in both enology and viticulture. As part of his studies, he interned in Switzerland, Germany and the Napa Valley.

After graduating, he managed vineyards and made wine in Switzerland and Spain. Along with making wine in Spain, he was responsible for managing 500 acres of vineyards, designing a new winery and developing a market for the product.

His experience and reputation for meticulous winemaking brought him to the attention of Heitz Cellars in the Napa Valley, where he worked for four years. Pepper Bridge Winery then recruited him, so he moved to the Walla Walla Valley to become that winery's creative force. His success at Pepper Bridge (where he is still the winemaker, as well) allowed him the opportunity to join the Amavi partnership and to apply his winemaking skills to different grape varietals, particularly Syrah and Sémillon.

"This is a great adventure," says Jean-François. "Walla Walla impressed me right away as an extremely unique grape-growing area. Distinctive climate, soils and geography make it different than anywhere else in the world, and now we have the chance to incorporate the latest winery design and techniques with the very high-quality grapes."

In addition to being winemaker, Jean-François plays a key role in the management of the winery's estate vineyards. He is also a founding member and current vice-president of the Walla Walla Valley's sustainable agriculture organization, VINEA.

Jean-François can be reached at jf@pepperbridge.com.