Seattle Magazine Awards Walla Walla Winemaker & Vineyard Best of in Annual Issue
August 31, 2015 (Walla Walla, WA) – Seattle magazine awards winemaker Jean-François Pellet with Winemaker of the Year and Les Collines Vineyard as the Vineyard of the Year in its annual very best Washington wines of 2015, marking the 10th anniversary of the magazine’s wine awards. Pellet is the winemaker for Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars, which are located in the Walla Walla Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA).
Les Collines Vineyard, a French term for “the foothills,” is a partnership with Norm McKibben, his family and Michael Murr, owner of Garrison Creek Cellars, which is located on site among the vines. The vineyard, which runs from 1,100 to 1,380 feet above sea level, is one of the key estate fruit sources for Amavi Cellars.
The nominations for the Seattle magazine Washington Wine Awards were solicited from a survey of wine and food professionals across the state. The August issue highlights the awards, which also includes accolades for Washington’s top wines. The entire award list can be seen online.
“I’m not big on singular awards, so this also is for our winemaking team,” said Pellet. “And to be recognized in our own state, by some of the best palates around, is pretty special.”
Pellet has been making wine for Pepper Bridge Winery for 16 years. Born and raised in Switzerland, he is a third-generation wine grower. He’s worked in Switzerland, Germany and the Napa Valley before coming to Walla Walla in 1999. In 2001, Pellet helped launch Amavi Cellars, a sister winery allowing him to expand his winemaking talents into Sémillon, rosé of Cabernet Franc and Syrah, working primarily with the Les Collines vineyard. A partner in both wineries, his passion is crafting wines from the estate vineyards of Pepper Bridge and Amavi Cellars.
Planted in 2001, Les Collines is a 240 acre vineyard, and lies in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Historically, it is a cooler vineyard and receives more rainfall than most of the Walla Walla Valley. Over half of the vineyard is planted in Syrah grapes. Known for its aromatic, rich and wild mountain fruit, Les Collines Syrah has helped build the vineyard’s reputation among premium wineries, including Amavi Cellars.
“I am proud of this vineyard as it’s one of the highest elevation vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley putting us above the frost danger zone,” said McKibben, whose oldest son Shane manages the vineyard. “We knew immediately when we planted that it was going to be an exceptional vineyard, and now 15 years later, when we taste the wines, we’re sure of it.”
About Pepper Bridge Winery
Pepper Bridge Winery represents the pioneering spirit of the Walla Walla Valley. Owned and operated by three families – the McKibbens, the Goffs and the Pellets, the winery is a leader in quality winemaking, innovative technology and vineyard development. Pepper Bridge Winery produces Bordeaux-style wines using traditional winemaking techniques, French oak and estate fruit from the Walla Walla Valley. Pepper Bridge wines are collectibles that showcase complexity, structure and balance. Combining old-world philosophy with modern innovation, the winery has become an industry leader. For more information visit www.pepperbridge.com
About Amavi Cellars
Amavi Cellars symbolizes love (amor) and life (vita) through its wines, which are 100% estate, 100% sustainable, and 100% Walla Walla Valley. Winemaker Jean-François Pellet brings the Walla Walla Valley AVA to life with his handcrafted, terroir-driven wines. Made from the estate’s younger vines and utilizing more neutral oak, the winery’s elegant wines are ready to drink upon release and also age gracefully for serious collectors. Amavi Cellars is owned and operated by three families: the McKibbens, the Goffs and the Pellets, who not only are dedicated stewards of the land, but also are committed to producing premium quality wines that appeal to the palates and sense of aesthetics of today’s wine drinkers. For more information visit www.amavicellars.com