WALLA WALLA VALLEY VINEYARDS OF DISTINCTION
Pepper Bridge Winery
Pepper Bridge Winery
Norm is a winegrower and winery owner involved in several projects in the Walla Walla Valley. He is managing partner in Seven Hills Vineyard, Les Collines Vineyard, Pepper Bridge Winery, and Amavi Cellars. He and his family are partners in Amavi Cellars and Artifex Custom Crush. He has chaired the Washington Wine Commission, was a member of the Oregon Wine Board, and was selected 1998’s Washington Wine Grower of the Year. Norm is a founding leader in VINEA, a Walla Walla Valley sustainable viticulture organization. A graduate of Oregon State University in Civil Engineering, he worked many years for one of the nation’s largest construction companies. He “retired” as a corporate executive in 1985 to begin his winegrowing career. Norm was named by Washington CEO magazine as one of the ten most influential people in Washington State agriculture.
Figgins Family Wine Estates
Gary is widely recognized as the founding father of the Walla Walla Valley wine industry, bonding the first winery, Leonetti Cellar, in 1977. Along with his wife Nancy, he has created world-class wines of true distinction and recognition for over 35 years. Gary’s first entrance into the wine industry was planting an acre of Cabernet and a small amount of Riesling with the help of his Italian uncles on a hillside above the original 1906 Leonetti homestead. Gary is completely self-educated in the art of wine making and grape growing. He first started vinifying fruit from the SeVein area in 1982, and Seven Hills Vineyard fruit remains a critical component in Leonetti wines to this day. His passion for wine industry growth and education in Walla Walla continues, as he was instrumental in developing the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College.
Figgins Family Wine Estates
Chris Figgins is one of a small handful of second generation winegrowers in Washington State, succeeding his parents, Nancy and Gary, who founded Leonetti Cellar winery in 1977 in the Walla Walla Valley—its oldest winery. Growing up in the wine business, Chris joined Leonetti in 1996 after graduating from Washington State University. He is winemaker and co-owner of the winery and presides over all viticulture operations—where he has been instrumental in transforming Leonetti into an estate grown property with three distinct vineyard sites and a two others under development, one is in the SeVein development. Their consistent high quality makes Leonetti wines some of the most sought after American wines in the world and Chris is known industry-wide for constantly pushing the viticulture envelope in pursuit of continued excellence. A frequent public speaker, Chris shares his intense passion for sustainable farming and soil health with other viticulturists and diversified farmers whenever possible.
L’Ecole Nº 41
Marty is Managing Winemaker and co-owner of L’Ecole Nº 41 with his wife Megan Ferguson Clubb. He is also Managing Partner in Seven Hills Vineyard, along with Leonetti Cellar and Pepper Bridge Winery. Nationally respected for his wine industry leadership, Marty has served for over 30 years on the boards of various wine industry associations—including the WA Wine Commission—and is currently President of the Washington Wine Institute and one of two Washington State Board members for WineAmerica. Marty was instrumental in founding the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and served as President for six years. He worked with Gary Figgins and other industry pioneers to develop the Walla Walla Community College Center for Enology and Viticulture. Marty earned a Chemical Engineering Degree from Texas A&M University. He and Megan graduated from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
Bob Rupar has been Vice President of Nelson Irrigation Corporation for over 30 years. Nelson engineers, manufacturers, and sells irrigation equipment worldwide and is a leader in producing high performance water conserving products for irrigated agriculture. He received the coveted Industry Achievement Award from the International Irrigation Association in 2005 and has served on the Board of Directors of the Association. Bob is past Board President of the Walla Walla Watershed Alliance, a non-profit organization involved in a collaborative effort between the Tribes, irrigators, environmentalists, and regional government to address water and watershed issues designed to protect the ecology, the economy, and the culture within the local watershed. Bob has been involved in the viticulture side of the wine industry in the Walla Walla Valley Appellation for nearly 20 years. He and partner Norm McKibben planted some of the first vineyards at Pepper Bridge.
PEPPER BRIDGE WINERY
Pepper Bridge Winery produces ultra-premium, world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines that showcase the unique terroir of the Walla Walla Valley. Their wines are known for having elegant textures and exquisite flavor profiles. Furthermore, this small, family-owned estate winery has received widespread acclaim for every single vintage from wine critics around the world. Pepper Bridge Winery is one of only two gravity-flow wineries in Washington State and its goal is the production of elegant, food-friendly wines. Norm McKibben and his winemaker partner, Jean-François Pellet, are involved in the planting of Octave Vineyard at SeVein. Seven Hills Vineyard is one of two estate vineyards utilized by Pepper Bridge Winery. Grapes from Seven Hills Vineyard make up about 50% of every vintage of each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and the winery also makes a limited bottling of a Bordeaux blend from Seven Hills Vineyard.
L’ECOLE Nº 41
L’Ecole Nº 41 is a third generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on their label. Founded in 1983, they were the third winery in the Walla Walla Valley. L’Ecole’s focus is on terroir-driven and expressive wines that reflect the unmistakable typicity of Washington State and the Walla Walla Valley. L’Ecole has been producing distinct Seven Hills Vineyard wines since 1993 and is the largest producer of wines from this estate vineyard. Their newest estate vineyard, Ferguson Ridge, was planted in 2008 and sits at one of the highest elevation SeVein sites.
L’Ecole has garnered national and international accolades over the years for producing superior quality wines. They are most proud to have been honored ten consecutive years by Wine & Spirits Magazine as Winery of the Year and becoming one of two Washington State wineries inducted into their prestigious Hall of Fame.
FIGGINS FAMILY WINE ESTATES
Founded in 1977 by Gary and Nancy Figgins, Leonetti Cellar is the oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley. A self-trained winemaker inspired by his Italian heritage, Gary took a no-compromise approach when deciding to begin making wine commercially, fulfilling a lifetime dream. Winemaking acclaim came early and often, and demand quickly outstripped the winery’s production, which is limited even today. Three decades later, Leonetti maintains their absolute dedication to no-compromise winemaking in their quest to grow among the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese in the world. The winery now boasts four distinctly sited Estate Vineyards—Mill Creek Upland, Loess, Seven Hills, and Serra Pedace—each contributing distinct characteristics to the finished wine through their different terroirs. The father-and-son winemaking team is relentless in their pursuit of quality. In 2010, the family announced the original creation of a new wine estate and upcoming release of a new single vineyard Bordeaux blend, FIGGINS, and the creation of Figgins Family Wine Estates as the parent company for both Leonetti and FIGGINS.
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