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Spring 2008 Newsletter

The wait is over for our luscious 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

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Our 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon displays an incredible array of blackberry, Asian spice, mineral, coffee bean and floral aromas with hints of pencil lead, pain grille and earth. The wine is very complex, showing an amazing core of ripe fruit, with seamless, very polished tannins that caress every millimeter of the palate. This wine demonstrates a great sense of place, beautifully balanced with a terrific, long finish.

Our winemaker, Jean-François Pellet, is thrilled to release this wine. The 2005 vintage started off as a big challenge because the previous year had been a freeze year with a tiny crop in our estate vineyards. However, 2005 made up for all the frustrations of 2004, with Mother Nature providing us with a stellar harvest, among the very best in the history of this winery.

Production is limited to around 2,500 cases. Please don't miss out on this thrilling vintage. To purchase, fill out and return the enclosed order form, call us at 509-525-6502, e-mail us at lisa@pepperbridge.com, or click here.

Meet the Team: Sharon Meyer

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Ever since last summer, Sharon Meyer has been a lovely addition to our tasting room and our team. She is relatively new to Pepper Bridge Winery, but is no stranger to the world of wine. Her interest in wine was piqued many years ago when she visited the Napa Valley. Upon returning to Washington, she began to notice wineries popping up in the Yakima Valley. Curious to find out how WA wines compared against those of CA, she attended a wine festival in the Tri-Cities.

There she discovered that there were also wineries in Walla Walla. (She calls this era "the Dark Ages.") Upon attending a wine class at Walla Walla Community College taught by Leonetti founder Gary Figgins, she found that her classmates were really serious about wine and the wine industry. She admits that her main motivation for attending the class was to get out of the house and away from her three little kids for the evening. That being said, it was a real turning point for her, and her mere interest in wine turned into love.

Sharon's passions are not limited to wine. Her hobbies include creating handmade teddy bears, cooking, knitting and sewing. A chef for more than 25 years, she loves to travel to new places with her husband, Jeff, to experience their cuisine, wine and spirits. She has an adventurous palate, but does have some limits. For instance, in China she sampled Osmanthes wine, but did not have the nerve to try the snake wine (which is typically rice wine with snake added and fermented).

For the past two decades, she has been a chef at a couple of Whitman College's fraternity houses, something she calls "a different world." She says that being the mother figure to many young men over the years has taught her patience and understanding. "I've learned not to get stressed out and excited over every little incident that happens." Sharon says.

During free time, she likes to visit her "old, retired coffee buddies." These longtime friends meet every morning at a local coffee shop and share experiences and ideas. Sharon can be counted on for a good story herself, whether the topic is fine wine, homebrewed beer, family, or the flavor profile of sausages from around the world. Be sure to stop by and visit her in the tasting room!

From the Wine Grower, Norm McKibben

PREPRUNE.jpg Our two estate vineyards, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills, come alive with activity during the first week of February as we begin winter pruning. The first entity to venture out from its winter nap is the over-the-row tractor with a pre-pruner mounted on the front.

The pre-pruner chops the approximately four-foot long canes from last year's growth into small pieces. These cuttings drop to the ground like mulch and decompose to help feed the vines throughout the year. The pre-pruner leaves each short cane, or spur, with four to six buds. If left alone, this number of buds would give a heavier crop than the vine can ripen to peak quality.

A couple of days after the pre-pruning, the pruning crew hand cuts each spur down to one or two buds as directed, depending on the block. A 20-person pruning crew will work for almost two months to get the entire vineyard ready for the 2008 vintage.

Why does it take so long? A 200-acre vineyard like Seven Hills or Pepper Bridge will have almost a mile of cordon wire per acre (or 180 miles) of grape rows. There is a spur that needs to be hand pruned every five to six inches for the entire 180 miles.

sarah%20norm1.jpg Managing Partner Norm McKibben shows Sarah German how to prune a grapevine's cane during an educational tour through our estate vineyards. Sarah is a longtime friend of Pepper Bridge and our new tasting room associate.

Join the Club!
The Bridge Club, that is...

If you love our wines, you should really consider joining the Bridge Club, which is our very own wine club. The Bridge Club offers many benefits. As a member, you will receive:

  • Up to three bottles of estate-bottled wine four times per year at a 20% discount. Additional purchases of current vintage wines and wine-related items will also reflect a 20% discount. This discount includes large-format bottles, when they are available.
  • Wines made exclusively for our club members and not available to the general public.
  • Advance notification of any library wines or limited-release wines as they become available.
  • Private tours of the winery and our two internationally acclaimed estate vineyards, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills. (Advance appointments required.)
  • Complimentary tastings in our tasting room.
  • Invitations to private parties, where you are sure to find fantastic Pepper Bridge wines, excellent food, great entertainment and fun times. Our next party is Friday, May 2!
  • No annual fee and no cancellation charge.

There is no cost to join the Bridge Club. Interested in joining? Simply want more details? Contact Lisa Schmidt at 509-525-6502 or Lisa@pepperbridge.com. You may also sign up online here.

In the Press

foodwine.gifWe feel grateful that wine writers continue to rave about our wines. Most recently, Food & Wine's Senior Wine Editor Ray Isle wrote: "Pepper Bridge [Winery] . . . has been a key player in developing the reputation of Washington's Walla Walla Valley region, and rightly so... every single wine I tasted was first rate."

Here is a summary of some other things critics have said about our wines:

Pepper Bridge 2005 Merlot
­seattle%20times.gif"Seductive, velvety." (Ray Isle, Food & Wine)

"Sipping this wine is like driving an Aston Martin on a silk highway." (Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm, Seattle Magazine)


Pepper Bridge 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

"Velvety, complex... with mocha notes." (Ray Isle, Food & Wine)

­WineSpirits_red.jpg"93 Points. Plum and cedar flavors meld seamlessly. Fine-grained tannins give it elegance." (Wine & Spirits tasting panel)


"It's a serious Cabernet that won't require, but may reward, mid-term aging." (Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm, Seattle Magazine)
­wine-advocate-sq.gif"93 Points. This Cabernet is singing." (Dr. Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate)


Both the 2005 Merlot and the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon are still available in the tasting room, as of press time. To make a purchase, please call 509-525-6502, stop by our tasting room, or click here.

 

A new vintage: Abigail Enriquez

Abigail%20copy.jpg Abigail Enriquez was born in Walla Walla on January 19, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces. She is the first child of Cellar Master Horacio Enriquez and his wife, Concepción. Welcome to the Pepper Bridge Winery family, Abigail!

Thanks for the memories: Bob Hammond

bobs%20vine.jpg We are deeply sorry to share the news that Bob Hammond, one of our very first Bridge Club members, passed away due to cancer on Christmas Eve. Always very helpful and kind, he had a smile that lit up his whole face. He never asked for anything other than a warm hello hug. Many of you will remember him from Bridge Club parties, as he and his brother Gary traveled from Seattle to attend every single Bridge Club event we had. We will miss Bob very much. As a celebration of his life, we have permanently devoted a Pepper Bridge Vineyard vine to him.

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Bob Hammond (right) and his brother, Gary, show off with Lisa Schmidt after winning first place in our 2007 Petanque Tournament.