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. For over twenty years their hard work and dedication to the Walla Walla Valley has helped define it as one of the great wine regions of the world.
Pepper Bridge Winery produces Bordeaux-style wines from its mature estate vineyards. The family ownership of Norm McKibben, Ray Goff and Jean-François Pellet are trailblazers in the wine community. Winemaker Jean-François Pellet blends his unique viticultural and winemaking skills with science and art to create distinctive, terroir-driven wines with a focus on quality and commitment to sustainability. Using traditional winemaking techniques, 100% French oak and 100% estate fruit from the Walla Walla Valley AVA, Pepper Bridge wines are collectibles that showcase complexity, structure and balance. Combining old-world philosophy with modern innovation, the brand has become an industry leader in crafting ultra-premium wines.
Pepper Bridge Winery is a pioneer in Washington State and the Walla Walla Valley wine communities
The name, Pepper Bridge Winery, derives from the old military road from Fort Walla Walla to Fort The Dalles, which forded the river at the Pepper family farm. This low-water crossing was known as “Pepper’s Crossing”: it was replaced by the old Pepper’s Bridge structure in the 1800’s.
Norm McKibben began planting grapes in Washington State in 1989 and continued planting vineyards throughout the Walla Walla Valley in the 1990s. He established several famed estate vineyards: Pepper Bridge, Les Collines and Seven Hills – recognized as one of the 10 great vineyards in the world by Wine & Spirits Magazine. He also is a leader in development of the new SeVein project. With its sloping elevations, distinct soils, excellent air drainage and computer-controlled irrigation system, this is one of the most unique and technologically advanced vineyard projects in the country.
In 1998, in partnership with Anheuser-Busch veteran Ray Goff, Pepper Bridge Winery was founded. A year later, third-generation Swiss winemaker, Jean-François Pellet joined the team. Together they designed a cutting edge winery to fulfill their dreams. Today the pioneering spirit continues with the families’ dedication to crafting ultra-premium wines.
Bringing together science and innovation, Pepper Bridge Winery is certified sustainable and committed to the production of ultra-high quality wines
As stewards of the land, the team farms meticulously with both care and technology. Winemaker Jean-François Pellet plays an active role in the management of the vineyards and is a founding member of Walla Walla Valley’s sustainable viticulture program, VINEA. The ultimate goal is to make quality wine and leave the soil healthier for future generations.
By utilizing innovative design and techniques, Pepper Bridge Winery has enhanced its quality and dedication to crafting premium wines. It was the first gravity flow winery in Washington State and winemaker Jean-François Pellet helped develop and design a new optical sorter, which is another step in improving overall wine quality.
Pepper Bridge Winery is a three-family owned and operated winery. The partnership is committed to building an enduring family business
Norm McKibben is a founding member of the Washington State and Walla Walla Valley wine communities and managing partner at Pepper Bridge Winery. As a trained engineer, McKibben’s vision, energy and drive have been instrumental in the growth and success of the Walla Walla Valley wine region. His son and business partner, Eric McKibben, is a partner in Pepper Bridge Winery and actively involved in the family business.
Ray Goff is co-founder of Pepper Bridge Winery and a 30-year veteran of Anheuser-Busch where he served as vice president of corporate purchasing and president of the company’s agriculture subsidiary. During his hop buying visits to Washington he developed an abiding passion for Walla Walla Valley wines. His daughter and business partner, Travis Goff, is a partner in Pepper Bridge Winery and actively involved in the family business.
Jean-François Pellet was born and raised in Switzerland and is a third-generation wine grower and winemaker. As a partner, winemaker and general manager for Pepper Bridge Winery, Pellet is doing what he’s always wanted to do in life: make world-class wine. With degrees in both enology and viticulture, Pellet has made wine in Switzerland, Spain, Germany and the Napa Valley before joining the Pepper Bridge Winery team as a partner in 1999 in Walla Walla.
Mark Melia is the national sales manager for Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars and is responsible for field sales and distributor management in 35 states.