BEN PAPAPIETRO - OWNER/WINEMAKER, PAPAPIETRO PERRY WINERY
Wine has always been a part of Ben's life. A native San Franciscan of Italian descent, Ben grew up with wine as part of every family meal and gathering. His grandpa made his own red wine blend in the basement, where Ben listened and learned.
Ben's heritage and love for wine always beckoned. The passion caught fire in his early twenties as he explored wines from around the world—Bordeaux and an occasional high-end California Cabernet. But the wines that really turned Ben’s head were Burgundies from 1956 and '57. Seduced by those captivating aromas and elegant nuances, Ben volunteered to work during harvest at a friend's Sonoma County winery specializing in Pinot Noir. There he honed his craft and never looked back.
During his 37-year career with the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, Ben met future partner Bruce Perry. Through their common passions—cooking and wine—they became fast friends.
Today, the Papapietro Perry cellar is simply a more elaborate version of Ben’s garage where he started making wine more than 25 years ago. "Authentic, not pretentious," says Ben. "Confident, but not too serious. Humble. The winery is an extension of my home and personal hospitality."
Maybe that is why one corner of the cellar is dedicated to a makeshift kitchen where family favorites are prepared for the staff, and the occasional lucky friend who drops by at lunchtime.
In Ben's words, "cooking and wine are indistinguishable." He simply cannot imagine one without the other.
When Ben isn't in the cellar or the kitchen, he and his wife Yolanda like to travel and pour Papapietro Perry wines wherever they land. Yolanda joined the family business in 2009 handling distributor relations and enjoys pouring with Ben at events. When they're not traveling, Ben and Yolanda enjoy spending time with their two grandsons.
When asked what style of wine we make, the response is always ‘great wines’. After we’ve all laughed, the real answer emerges. After almost 30 years of winemaking, we still firmly believe in a minimalist approach—allowing the wine to express itself and reflect the growing season through the nuances that appear from vintage to vintage. For this to happen and to produce those ‘great wines’, it is vital to pay attention to every detail; carefully attending to every step of the winemaking process, yet always with a light hand. We don’t over-extract or over-oak our wines. We give the wines the fermentation and aging environments that allow them to become exceptional—so we can smell and taste what the fruit has to offer us.
Consistency is another element to our style. We cold-soak all the grapes for two to four days before fermenting, use the same cultured yeast and same type of François Frères barrels for 11-12 months of oak aging for our Pinot Noirs and 12-17 months for our Zinfandels.
Our vineyard and clonal designates are all kept separate throughout the winemaking and aging process. Midway through the aging process (usually around Spring) we taste through the barrels and blend the wines together to make the vineyard and Clonal designate wines. Our winemaking team tastes through the wine in the barrels in order to determine which blend of clones and or vineyards allows the best flavors and nuances to show through.
What varies from year to year is how the growing season affects the flavor profile of the grapes. Our goal is to let the grapes speak through the finished wine. Those vintage differences are a piece of the charm in both winemaking and wine drinking.
JEFF ZAPPELLI, HALL WINES – DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP AND THE CHAIR OF THE CAB COOKOFF
HALL Wines produces critically acclaimed artisan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, available to taste and buy at two tasting room and winery locations in Napa Valley. Owned by Craig and Kathryn Walt Hall, its vineyard collection features five Certified Organic estates producing classic Bordeaux varietals. Each vintage, Director of Winemaking Steve Leveque crafts 16 distinct Cabernet Sauvignon wines which demonstrate the unique characteristics and diversity of Napa Valley. HALL’s highly rated wines include the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon selected as Wine Spectator’s #18 of the 2010 ‘Top 100’, the 2008 “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon that earned #2 of the “Top 100” Wines also in Wine Spectator, and its 2010 ‘Exzellenz’ awarded 100 points by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Since the first vintage in 2002, over 75 HALL Wines have been rated 94 points and above. HALL Wines employs high-density plantings and small vine viticulture combined with two cutting-edge, gravity-flow wineries to produce the highest quality wines. In addition, the HALL St. Helena winery was the first LEED® Gold Certified Winery in the State of California in 2009 and earned another LEED® Gold certification for its high tech production facility and modern tasting room in 2014, making HALL Wines pioneers in the use of green buildings for the wine industry. Each of HALL’s state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and tasting rooms combine modern art and architecture matched with spectacular settings. For more information, please visit www.hallwines.com, @hallwines, or by calling 707.967.2626.
Jeff Zappelli has been at the helm of the Direct to Consumer (DTC) initiatives at HALL Wines since 2006. After six years managing restaurants, including three years at San Francisco-based Morton’s Steakhouse, Zappelli jumped to the producer side, joining a small wine industry startup whose goal was to scale DTC sales at a mid-to-large size winery. Since 2006, Jeff’s primary initiatives included growing the HALL membership programs, technology software development, fulfillment programs, outbound sales, E-Commerce and CRM strategies. In 2012, HALL launched a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay label under WALT, leveraging direct programs, providing roadmap for scalable brand acquisition and growth. While building effective business strategies is important, Zappelli believes that building personal relationships is the core mission of both HALL and WALT Wines’ current and future success. Additionally, Zappelli has extensive experience in strategic partnerships, distribution agreements, contract services sales, international sales strategies, and luxury brand product marketing.
Born in Seattle, Zappelli attended High School in Mountain View, CA and later graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s of Science in Bio-Psychology. He currently resides in Marin County with his wife and three children. When he’s not being dad, Zappelli enjoys traveling, snowboarding, kayaking and training for outdoor sports races in Lake Tahoe.
CAB COOKOFF EVENT:
HALL CABERNET COOKOFF RETURNS FOR SIXTH YEAR
Wine and Food Pairing Challenge with 100% of Ticket Sales to Benefit Napa Valley and Bay Area Charities
NAPA VALLEY, CA (February 5, 2015) – Joined by a prominent panel of judges such as Ken Frank, Virginie Boone, Ian White and more, the HALL Cabernet Cookoff will return for a sixth year on April 25 featuring an all-star line-up of both Napa Valley and San Francisco based chef teams. Bringing together foodies and wine for a culinary pairing challenge, chef teams will compete before a panel of all-star judges for a local charity of their choice by creating small bites paired with HALL 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. 100% of proceeds from ticket sales and 100% of donations made online and from sponsors will go directly to charities. During the event, guests will be invited to taste farm-to-table dishes from each chef team paired with HALL wine, and then vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award.
“The Cabernet Cookoff is a fun way to experience the great Napa Valley cuisine, wonderful wines, and help our community,” says vintner, Kathryn Walt Hall. “Everyone involved with this event including our generous sponsors, talented Bay Area and Napa Valley chef teams, enthusiastic non-profit organizations and the entire HALL and WALT staff all donate their time to create a spectacular day. Every year, everyone at the Cab Cookoff comes out a winner.”
The 2014 HALL Cabernet Cookoff drew more than 600 culinary and wine lovers for a sold out crowd and raised $48,000 for local charities. Last year’s winning culinary teams included One Market Restaurant and Paula Le Duc Catering who took top honors for their selected charities, Napa Hospice & Adult Day Service and St. Helena Hospital Foundation.
6th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff, celebrating a clutch of popular culinary teams competing in a food and wine pairing challenge with 100% of ticket sales to benefit local charities.
HALL and WALT Wines, Celebrity chef teams, local charities, sponsors, community members and an acclaimed panel of judges including:
Ken Frank, Executive Chef, La Toque Napa
Virginie Boone, Wine Editor, Wine Enthusiast
Ian White, Wine Country Editor, San Francisco Magazine
Lars Kronmark, Chef/Culinary Institute of America Instructor
Returning chef teams this year includes Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, Ca Momi, Farmers Market Pantry, Feast Catering, The Grill at Meadowood, Paula Le Duc Catering, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, and more.
Saturday, April 25 2015
11:00am – 2:00pm PST
HALL Wines, St. Helena – The Great Lawn
401 St. Helena Hwy. South
St. Helena, CA 94574
Early Bird $70.00 (until April 1)
General Admission Ticket $80.00 (after April 1 and at the door)
VIP Sky Lounge $125 (private access to our Bergfeld Loft,
VIP service of our limited production Bergfeld wine, specially catered food pairings, and knowing you are helping the community even more!)
The HALL Cabernet Cookoff is a community fundraising event organized by HALL Wines. For more information, please visit http://www.hallwines.com/cabernetcookoff/ or via social channels using #cabcookoff.