Reshaping one’s life is very empowering. Travel does it to us. As you know, America is such a melting pot, and having that opportunity to visit one’s native DNA land is very special. [Native Americans were the first people to migrate here, crossing the Bering Strait as early as 30,000 years ago.] So, we’ve all got a lot to explore. In my travels, I’ve certainly loved connecting with my maternal grandparents DNA: Peter (Pierre) and Abby (Ouellette) Bernier, while my being in France. [Bernier rhymes with Viognier.] They both began as children in immigrant families, during the Industrial Revolution; first by way of Canada and then down to Maine. When I finally got to France, I felt the power of their (and then my) heritage. Just by being there, it felt like I had returned to my grandparents’ home in Maine (USA). [There’s a town in France called “Maine,” if you didn’t know; point of interest.]

Roots are shaped, and the following is such a story.


[PHOTO: France, Moulin a Vent Beaujolais countryside. Jo Diaz]


For Bob Pepi, his family roots originate in Tuscany; and he, understandably, has also felt that DNA connection. Tuscan winemaking is a way of life, with passionate, cultural traditions that can fill books, all equally intriguing and culminating right into wine – like the “after parties.” For example, this Tuscan tradition:

WIKIPEDIA: The Palio di Siena (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpaːljo di ˈsjɛːna]; known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards.

[PHOTO credit: mikhail mandrygin]

The Robert Pepi Winery: Early Years – Building A Winery

In my wine adventures, I had heard the Robert (Bob) Pepi name, for years. I hadn’t met the man yet; but, jumped at an offered opportunity.

Like the terroir they walk upon, Bob and his family have enjoyed deep roots and some pretty amazing days. As he remembers in his beginning of living in Napa Valley, it was more farming and pre-Bordeaux varieties. (All in the video, a click away, below.)

The Robert Pepi Winery: Early Years – Building A Winery


Each segment delves into the unfolding of life, along Bob Pepi’s Napa Valley decades. It started when Napa was on country time. You know, when kids would come in when the streetlights went on. Throughout the video series, Bob marks opportunities presenting themselves, in sleepy Napa Valley, right into today’s winemaking, which includes consultancy.

[PHOTO credit: Jose Diaz, all rights reserved]

It was a morning meeting, when Jose Diaz and I met Bob Pepi at Pestoni Estate Winery, in Rutherford. The day was beautiful; the sun moving in and out, breezes flowing, butterflies and bees landing in lavender. In this natural, Napa garden, Bob’s thoughts just flowed. He’s a great storyteller, with his time frames moving right along through his current brands.

I knew ahead of time what Bob was going to be bringing for samples, and there was a range of old, new, and did I realize?

  • Two Angels Sauvignon Blanc 2020 ~ $16.99
  • Two Angels Petite Sirah 2019 ~ $26.99
  • Geyser Peak Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ~ $24.99
  • Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ~ $13.99
  • Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ~ $79.99
  • Atlas Peak AVA Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ~ $49.99
  • Eponymous Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ~ $59.99
  • Samuel Charles Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ~ $79.99

From the samples to be tasted, one sees a wide range of styles and prices. There’s no ego here, just the ability to deliver whatever the brand owner (including his own brand) wants delivered. Bob is self-effacing, to say the least. He’s gracious and very polite. The successful execution of being into all prices of wines for not only himself, but also for clients of his life’s passion is very evident.

[PHOTO credit: Jo Diaz, all rights reserved, of a Tuscan landscape in Gaiole, Tuscany at Castello di Meleto]

I had to find a photo of my own, while in Tuscany, to bring it all back to DNA.


The Robert Pepi Story: Consulting

The Robert Pepi Story: Eponymous Wines

Thank you to Wine Business Daily for featuring as a featured contributor to their wine blog news as “Wine industry publicist Jo Diaz’s musings.”