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Clos Pepe Estate

Clos Pepe EstateSummary: Make an appointment for a wine tasting and enjoy an intimate sit-down wine tasting at a kitchen island. Olive oil is also part of the tasting. The drive to the Clos Pepe house winds through vineyards, a beautiful setting.

In 1994 the land that is now Clos Pepe Estate was a horse ranch. Purchased by Steve and Kathy Pepe in that year, plans changed. In 1996 Chardonnay was planted and two years later Pinot Noir was added to the vineyard.


Today the land has 25 acres of Pinot Noir and four acres of Chardonnay. About a quarter of the harvest is used to produce Clos Pepe wines, while the remainder of the harvested grapes are sold to other wineries and a small amount is sold to home winemakers.

Clos Pepe EstateAll vineyard work is done by hand including green drop, leaf thinning, harvesting and pruning. The vineyard is carefully tended to even during play. A disc golf course is in the vineyard. During recreational activities, a careful eye is on the vineyard watching for signs of change and need.

The vineyards are sustainably farmed. Most years organic principles are followed. Clover, legumes and snap peas are planted between the rows. After the harvest and until bud break the following year, baby doll sheep eat the undergrowth and add fertilizer to the vineyard.

When ready, grapes are hand harvested during the coolness of night and delivered to the winery in the early morning. Grapes are sorted in the vineyard.


Wes Hagen is the winemaker. The Pinot Noir undergoes a cold soak. When the grapes warm, commercial yeast is added after native yeast begins the fermentation. Pinot Noir is racked into French oak barrels after fermentation and remains on its lees for 11 months. Chardonnay ages in stainless steel barrels while other styles of Chardonnay are aged in oak. The winery produces about 1,800 - 2,000 cases of wine.

In addition to wine grapes there are 650 olive trees on five acres. The olive trees include the Toscono Italian varieties: Frantoio, Maurino, Leccino, Manzanillo and Pendolino.

Clos Pepe EstateWine Tasting

There is no dedicated tasting room at Clos Pepe Estate. Visitors must make an appointment. During the visit, 45 minutes are spent in the vineyard and another 45 minutes are spent in the kitchen tasting wines. Wine travelers sit down at an island in the kitchen to learn about and taste the wines. Olive oil is also part of the tasting.

Clos Pepe EstateWines

The 2012 Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills AVA was a yellow color. Apple and citrus were noticeable on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp. The wine was made in stainless steel tanks. The 2012 Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills AVA oaked was aged in 90 percent neutral oak. The wine offered apple and citrus with a slight hint of vanilla. The finish was crisp and fruity.

The 2011 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills AVA was a translucent red color. Raspberries and licorice were on the aroma and taste. The wine offered medium chewy tannins.

Axis Mundi is a second label of Clos Pepe. The wines were made with grapes sourced from off the estate. The 2013 Rosé of Mourvédre Santa Ynez Valley AVA was a light red color. The aroma and taste evoked thoughts of summer berry fruit. The 2012 Axis Mundi Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills AVA was a red color with fruit and earthy notes on this dry wine. The 2011 Axis Mundi Windmill Vineyards Santa Ynez Valley AVA was a blend of Grenache and Syrah. The easy to drink red was a light red translucent color. It offered red berry fruit and had mild tannins.

Clos Pepe EstateOlive oil

The Clos Pepe olive oil is a blend of Toscono varieties. The olive oil had green apple, pepper and an olive aroma and taste. There was a strong peppery feeling in the throat on the aftertaste.

Clos Pepe offers an intimate sit-down tasting and vineyard experience. Make reservations for a tasting. Enjoy the ride through the vineyards to the home at the end of the driveway.

Clos Pepe Estate
4777 E. Highway 246
Lompoc, California

GPS: N34º 40.041’ W120º 21.015’

Article written June 2014





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