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Vice president and general manager, The Vintners Group

3750 E. Woodbridge Rd., Acampo 95220; 707-939-9349; www.carnerosvintners.com; www.lodivintners.com

Career: president and co-founder, Vintage Wine Equipment, 2000-present; Lodi Vintners Inc., 2001-present; vice president and general manager, The Vintners Group, May 2008 - present

Industry outlook: “Oregon has a ton of vineyards that have not come into production and is rumored to not have enough wineries. In California, demand for custom crush will continue to grow because more and more people are realizing that it’s all about the brand. Some consulting winemakers we’re talking to are pushing owners of the brands not to build a winery because they need to spend their efforts and money on marketing.”

Favorite tasks: Designing a new custom facility to handle varying client needs, especially with presses and tanks. Purchasing grapes for bulk-wine ventures.

Admired wine pioneers: Virtual vintners focus on brands. Custom crush winemakers put client brands ahead of their own recognition. “I look up to Robert Mondavi because he was from Napa and spent a lot of time in Lodi. He did a lot for both areas.”

Age: 29

Residence: Sacramento; plans to return to the North Coast in six months

Family: wife, Jenni Rippey

Current reading: “Refrigeration for Winemakers” by Ray White, Ben Adamson and Bryce Rankine; “Winery Wastewater Handbook” by Jeanette Chapman, Phillip Baker and Sabina Wills

Stress relievers: Hunting, fishing and camping

Words that describe you: Driven, focused, outgoing, humorous

SONOMA CARNEROS – Dennis Rippey is the name behind the scenes of a growing custom-winemaking portfolio called The Vintners Group, but his 29-year-old son, Tyson, has been driving and overseeing company growth, with expansions at a large winery in Lodi, a similar winery under construction near Sonoma and other wine ventures in the offing.

The group consists of Lodi Vintners Inc., which is a 6 million-gallon-a-year custom winemaking business in the Lodi-Woodbridge winegrowing region, and Carneros Vintners Inc., a 52,000-square-foot winery under construction at 4204 Stage Gulch Road near Sonoma.

Tyson Rippey manages the Lodi operation, is helping to design and guide the Carneros project and has been scouting for opportunities to acquire wineries suitable for custom-processing in Napa Valley, the Central Coast and potentially other West Coast states.

“Growing up in Napa surrounded by wine and friends who make wine, when I turned 21 I dove head first into the industry,” he said. He currently lives in the Sacramento area with his wife, Jenni, but they’re looking to relocate to the North Coast in coming months.

In 2001 at age 21, he joined Lodi Vintners as a cellar worker and worked his way up to management, eventually adding business development and grape sourcing for speculative bulk-wine sales to his task list.

In recent years, Tyson Rippey has been building capacity and the reputation of the family name in the Lodi-Woodbridge winegrowing region and looking for opportunities outside the area. “I’ve helped steer Dad in the direction of putting his focus and effort in the wine business,” he said.

Dennis Rippey of Napa built a career in residential and commercial real estate construction. He started acquiring Napa Valley vineyards in the mid-1980s and recently has been adding to his holdings. In 1991 Mr. Rippey acquired the former Turner Winery near Woodbridge as an investment with potential for redevelopment.

Originally built in 1900 and the oldest bonded winery in the Lodi area, the facility passed through various owners until it closed in bankruptcy in 1985, at that time called Turner Winery. A longtime Lodi-area winemaker convinced Mr. Rippey of the potential of restarting the custom winery as Lodi Vintners.

Production capacity at Lodi Vintners increased from 1 million gallons a year when it was acquired in 1991 to 6 million gallons today. The winery is permitted to crush 25,000 tons of grapes but averages 10,000 to 12,000 tons. Tyson Rippey is looking to increase capacity by 20 percent to accommodate a new client.

Carneros Vintners, which is set to open by harvest this fall, is designed to process and store 1 million gallons of wine annually, and the company is seeking county approval to increase permitted capacity to 3 million gallons. Mr. Rippey has been lining up prospective clients, some of which make California appellation wine at Lodi Vintners.

In early February he hired winemaker Dave Dobson, formerly vice president for production and winemaker at Napa’s Artesa Vineyards & Winery.

Wine wasn’t Tyson Rippey’s first career choice. In the late 1990s he was attending Santa Rosa Junior College’s law enforcement training program with the intent of becoming a wildlife enforcement officer, building off his love of the outdoors.

He first became inspired about wine in the mid-1980s when watching his grandfather James Reavis make St. Helena petite sirah for friends from his garage. Though Dr. Reavis, a retired Yountville Veterans Home chief of medicine turned amateur winemaker, died when Mr. Rippey was young, that passion for winemaking persisted.

“He mentored me on winemaking and viticultural procedures,” Mr. Rippey said.

One of his side wine ventures is Vintage Wine Equipment, a brokerage and rental business operated with Sam Whitmore, retail sales manager at Mendocino Wine Co. They met when Mr. Whitmore was general manager of Global Wine Group, which made the Jewel brand at Lodi Vintners. Vintage Wine Equipment was started in 2000 to offer new and used equipment such as tanks and rental of smaller pieces such as portable tanks and basket presses.

And if he isn’t busy enough, Mr. Rippey has been handling marketing and guiding design for a wine bar under construction at a pub Dennis Rippey owns in Mexico.

And he may not be the last son to join the wine business. Nate Rippey, 31, currently is studying enology to become a winemaker.