Sofia Pepe, family and living wines

Wine as his reason for living, making him rediscover agricultural product his mission. We are talking about Sofia Pepe. She is the daughter of Emidio Pepe, she follows in the footsteps of her father, supporting him in the work in the vineyard from the age of eighteen. Thanks to her diplomatic skills and her being a patient observer of her, she soon earns the trust and respect of the veteran who thus entrusts him with his oenological knowledge and, with it, control of the cellar. You are the heir to such a treasure trove of knowledge, today you Sofia are responsible for the various jobs carried out in the field and in winemaking. At the same time, she leads the company, but not alone. «We are three generations working together – she says in fact – We have the experience of adults, mum and dad over ninety, my sister and I and, finally, the energy of young people. In fact, the grandchildren are already working at full speed in the company».
Emidio and Rosa, Sofia and Daniela, Chiara and Elisa, a family indeed, moved every day by that vision that had prompted the progenitor to found his small winery in 1964. That same vision to be preserved is also for him the secret of his «inner youth» as well as the essence of the Pepe project, summarized by Sofia in the commitment to «work in a natural and genuine way, respecting wine as a living being». “In vino vita” is in fact their slogan, the guiding principle of their philosophy, applied every day in that strip of land, in the northern part of Abruzzo, where their company and home are located, in Torano Nuovo. Between the shores of the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Gran Sasso on the other, the particularly draining clay-rich soils, the perfectly exposed position of the vineyards, the significant temperature range and the constant wind have always made this area a wine-growing area . A territory that has proved to be the choice for the seventeen hectares of native vineyards of Montepulciano and Trebbiano both from Abruzzo and today also of Pecorino, of the Pepe family for more than sixty years, chosen by nature. And it is precisely by listening to her, knowing her potential, believing in her strengths that Sofia, her team and Emidio’s still precious guide keep this land alive for living wines, applying the values ​​of biodynamics.
Approaching the movement in 2005, the young heir actually underlines how such agricultural practices were already “customary” at Casa Pepe. The refusal of chemistry, respect for the phases of the moon, the goal of having a “living and structured” land had in fact been the pillars of the working method used by the father from the beginning. Today, moreover, they use biodynamic preparations and green manure to reactivate soil microorganisms, thus reviving and enriching the organic substance. They let the spontaneous vegetation grow, thus obtaining and preserving that essential biodiversity to ensure the presence of the families of yeasts that trigger spontaneous fermentations. The product of the Pepe farm is in fact a wine defined as “natural”. It is not made by distorting its agricultural origin, but rather, as Sofia clearly states, “taking the best that nature gives us in our area” and adopting methodologies that respect it as much as possible. The grapes are harvested exclusively by hand and with it the entire winemaking process. In fact, she illustrates the winemaker: «The white grapes are pressed with the feet, the red ones are destemmed by hand. The wines do not make wood, but two years in cement tanks and then aging in the bottle», which Emidio pioneered also destined for bottles of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, allowing it to reach its best expression.
The Pepe family method is therefore, as defined by them, «genuine», «artisanal» in every phase, designed to obtain a wine that can become an expression of identity of the territory, its climate, the season in which it is produced as much as the unique character of its vineyards. It was precisely the sharing of this idea of ​​winemaking and winemaking that sealed the meeting between the Abruzzo family business and the Triple A movement in 2005. «It was truly a beautiful marriage. There is great respect from both of them » exhorts Sofia enthusiastically. As perfect spouses, she and her family and Luca Gargano of “Velier” found themselves «on the same wavelength», they strengthened each other, growing together, changing the perception and the market of wines in the last twenty years «genuine» and «artisanal». As she herself notes: «There is much more attention, more awareness of what you drink, of the people in front of you and of the products they manage to produce, of having something alive in front of you».This is an awareness that the Pepes try to nurture on a daily basis, by opening the doors of Emidio’s old house, in the context of their estate, to wine enthusiasts and fearless onlookers. A stay at the “Agriturismo Emidio Pepe” means living an experience that is not only relaxing, but, at the same time, educational: “a full immersion” to discover their “agricultural organism”. In fact, a visit to the fields where the variegated biodiversity of cultures is produced is planned. This is used to enrich the soils and return what we have taken to nature, as well as to prepare the seasonal menu served by the hotel’s restaurant four times a week. The day continues with a visit to the production and aging cellars and concludes with a tasting of the company’s younger vintages. A journey in stages, which contributes in an interactive and stimulating way to train the present and future customer in a new image of wine. «No longer a fashion – as Sofia says with determination – but a product appreciated in its personality, size, genuineness».

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