Wes Hagen: Vineyard Manager, Winemaker. Wes has run the show here at Clos Pepe since 1998. He manages the vineyard and the crew, communicates with our producers and fine-tunes viticulture to suit the stylistic needs of their winemaking. Involving himself in every aspect of the planting, growing, harvest, crush, fermentation, aging, bottling, shipping and marketing (jncluding the photography and text in the website), Wes is passionate about his life's goal -- producing and celebrating world-class Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. From 1997-98, Wes researched and wrote the petition that established the Santa Rita Hills American Viticultural Area with help from Bryan Babcock, Richard Sanford and other local wine personalities. The 'Santa Rita Hills AVA' was approved in 2001, and the name was changed a few years later to 'Sta Rita Hills AVA'. In his quest to promote the wines of Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Rita Hills in particular, Wes created and served as Director of the Santa Barbara County Fair Wine Competition from 2002 until 2004. As a result of his hard work promoting the region and penning the AVA Petition, Wes was awarded the Central Coast Winegrower's Association 'Grower of the Year Award' for the 2001-2002 growing seasons. Wes writes a bi-monthly column for WineMaker Magazine called 'Backyard Vines', and has written content for the L.A. Times Magazine, guest blogged for the Wine Spectator and ZesterDaily.com, articles for the Sommelier Journal,'Burgundy-Report', WestCoastWine.Net, VineSwinger.com and other small publications. In his free time Wes consults on establihsing small vineyards (hillside Pinot Noir only), and has judged the L.A County Fair Wine Competition for eleven years, Riverside International for twelve, and the Long Beach Grand Cru for thirteen years. Wes also lectures on subjects such as the history of wine, backyard winegrowing, and general topics of viticulture and wine education.
Chanda Hagen: Assistant Winemaker, Olive Tree Pruner, Animal Trainer, Shepherdess. Chanda and Wes met in April 1999 over a bottle of Beaujolais at a college-style party in Isla Vista (UCSB). Their first date was the Vintner's Festival the next weekend, and they have been inseparable ever since. The marriage proposal was accepted on New Years 1999-2000, and the couple was married at Clos Pepe on September 9th, 2000. Their Honeymoon was spent picking and crushing the grapes from the 2000 Vintage, which resulted in a Pinot Noir that Robert Parker called 'brilliant', 'complex' and 'promising'; just like their marriage! Chanda's influence as assistant winemaker runs deep. She makes sure Wes' energies are tempered by common sense and an obsessive degree of winery sanitation and organization. Besides Pinot Noir, Chanda's passion is horses: Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage. Chanda is training her horse, Charlemagne (Chase for short), for Dressage. Chanda also takes care of our miniature sheep here at the Clos, which have been bred into a flock for eating winter weeds and fertilizing the vineyard organically and sustainably.
Jeff Mangahas grew up in Washington State, graduating from the University of Washington in 1993 with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Beginning his career as a cancer research scientist in Seattle, Jeff started to explore Washington’s wine region. Eventually, his career took him to New York City, where his interest in wine switched into high gear as he discovered the abundant restaurants and the wines of the world they offered.During this time, Jeff started visiting the wine regions of France. With his scientific background, he also discovered he had a real passion for learning about the winemaking process as well, and it soon became clear that his hobby should become his career path. Jeff put research science behind him and enrolled in the UC Davis winemaking program, earning his M.S. in Enology in 2003. After a harvest at Artesa Vineyards and Winery, he went to Dutton-Goldfield Winery to dig into Pinot Noir and cool climate winegrowing. Beginning as enologist in 2002, Jeff was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2003. In 2006 Jeff became Winemaker at Hartford Family Winery specializing in Pinot Noir from cool-climate, estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Appellations, as well as Chardonnays and Zinfandels. In 2011 Jeff was named Winemaker at Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg. Jeff is a true student of Pinot Noir and credits the 1996 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir as an eye-opening wine that helped spark his passion for Pinot Noir. “I have been a huge fan of Williams Selyem for years and am excited to be working with the amazing team here as well as world-class vineyards like Rochioli and Allen.”Jeff lives with his wife Crystal and daughter Mia in Santa Rosa, where he spends his free time cooking, gardening, drinking wine, and enjoying the company of family and friends.