Geneva entrepreneurs start wine business with Napa ties

  • Patrick and Robbin Pipp of Geneva own and operate Bright Angel Wines.

    Patrick and Robbin Pipp of Geneva own and operate Bright Angel Wines. COURTESY OF PIPP FAMILY

  • Patrick and Robbin Pipp operate a wine business from their Geneva home, but the grapes are from vineyards in California, where they are processed.

    Patrick and Robbin Pipp operate a wine business from their Geneva home, but the grapes are from vineyards in California, where they are processed. COURTESY OF PIPP FAMILY

  • Patrick and Robbin Pipp operate a wine business from their Geneva home, but the grapes are from vineyards in California, where they are processed.

    Patrick and Robbin Pipp operate a wine business from their Geneva home, but the grapes are from vineyards in California, where they are processed. COURTESY OF PIPP FAMILY

  • Adam Khan, CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, holds a sample of a diamond semiconductor that will be produced at his new headquarters in Gurnee. In this September 2014 photo, he spoke to community leaders at the Gurnee village hall about the new site.

    Adam Khan, CEO of Akhan Semiconductor, holds a sample of a diamond semiconductor that will be produced at his new headquarters in Gurnee. In this September 2014 photo, he spoke to community leaders at the Gurnee village hall about the new site. DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO SEPTEMBER 2014

  • Santo "Sandy" LaMantia

    Santo "Sandy" LaMantia

  • Christine "Chris" Schyvink

    Christine "Chris" Schyvink

  • Mike Marrese

    Mike Marrese

  • Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks

    Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks

  • CEO Chris Bisaillon of Hinsdale, from left, CFO Nathan Hilding of Oak Brook, COO Jason Akemann of Chicago are gearing up to mark the second anniversary on Nov. 25-29 of their Old Town Pour House Oak Brook.

    CEO Chris Bisaillon of Hinsdale, from left, CFO Nathan Hilding of Oak Brook, COO Jason Akemann of Chicago are gearing up to mark the second anniversary on Nov. 25-29 of their Old Town Pour House Oak Brook. COURTESY OF BOTTLENECK MANAGEMENT

  • Alex Gourlay

    Alex Gourlay

  • George Fairweather

    George Fairweather

  • Cary Wood

    Cary Wood

  • Joseph E. Jannotta Jr.

    Joseph E. Jannotta Jr.

  • Jim Egan

    Jim Egan

 
 
Posted11/15/2015 9:21 AM

Robbin and Patrick Pipp and their three children love to take adventure trips that challenge them.

They have hiked the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park; the Ka-la-la Beach along the Napoli coast of Kauai, Hawaii; and San Juancine Mountain in southern California.

 

Now they're tackling a new trail and recently opened their own wine company, called Bright Angel Wines.

Robbin and Patrick own the business and operate it out of their Geneva home. So how does one grow grapes and bottle wine in Geneva. They don't. It happens in California, said Patrick Pipp, 54.

"We make our wine in Napa, California at a custom crush facility called the Wine Foundry," Pipp said. "They source grapes each year from 25 to 30 of the most well-known vineyards in California."

The family then selects the style of wine and the vineyard where they want to buy the grapes, he said.

"We work with their winemaker to ferment and age the wine in the style we like," he said. "We determine how long to age the wine. For example, our 2013 chardonnay was fermented then aged for 19 months in one-year-old French oak."

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When the wine is ready to be bottled, the family goes to Napa, California, and works with the winemaker to produce the finished wine in the style the family likes.

"This is the fun part of the process and can take 2 to 4 hours to get the blend right," he said. "Once blending is finished, the wine is bottled and stored at the Wine Foundry."

The Pipp family has lived in Geneva for 22 years. Their daughter Katie, 20, has written the copy that appears on the back labels of the bottles. They also have a son Mike, 22, and daughter Allison, 24.

The company has three investors: Patrick's brother, and two businessmen from Libertyville and Lake Forest. They also help with marketing and selling the wine, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So far, they have produced a Santa Rita Hills chardonnay and a Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon Bordeaux blend. Any wine ordered from its website at www.brightangelwines.com is shipped from Napa, he said.

The cabernet was recently selected by the Wine Foundry in Napa to be included in their December "Wines to Watch" Club shipment. Each of the wines selected are from Napa and Sonoma counties in California. In October, the wines were sampled at the Libertyville Oktoberfest and then Chef Lee Kuebler at Milwaukee Trace, a restaurant in Libertyville, hosted a Bright Angel event where the 2013 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon was tasted.

"We both love hosting tasting events in homes and at businesses," he said.

Gurnee CEO aims to open soon

Adam Khan, CEO and founder of Akhan Semiconductor, which makes diamond-based semiconductor materials and devices, will open its global headquarters and production facility on Nov. 20 in Gurnee. The Gurnee native also was recently named one of Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30" in the Energy & Industry category.

Changing of guard at Shure

Santo "Sandy" LaMantia, president and CEO of Niles-based Shure plans to retire on July 1. He and Chairman Rose L. Shure have appointed Christine "Chris" Schyvink, the current executive vice president of global operations, marketing and sales and COO, to succeed LaMantia. Shure is a global manufacturer of microphones and audio electronics.

FastTracks

Earth Friendly Products CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, who grew up in Itasca, leads the manufacturer of green cleaning products. Now her company in Addison on Monday is receiving a Platinum Certification from the Zero Waste Business Council, meaning their facilities are zero-waste certified. Accepting the award will be General Manager Mike Marresse.

CEO Chris Bisaillon of Hinsdale, CFO Nathan Hilding of Oak Brook, COO Jason Akemann of Chicago are gearing up to mark the second anniversary on Nov. 25-29 of their Old Town Pour House Oak Brook. Old Town Pour House has three locations. Besides Oak Brook, the others are on Wells Street in Chicago and on Ellington Boulevard in Gaithersburg, Maryland. ... Amy Pecoraro was named tops in listings taken and Joanne McInerney was named tops in sales and sales volume for October at Caldwell Banker Lombard.

Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreen Co. under Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. in Deerfield, was in Scottsdale, Arizona, last week doing a presentation before the Credit Suisse 2015 Healthcare Conference at the Phoenician resort. ... Then Executive Vice President and Global CFO George Fairweather heads to New York to speak on Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference. ... Cary Wood, president and CEO of Schaumburg-based Sparton Corp., is also on the road to Dallas, Texas, where he'll talk at the Southwest IDEAS Investor Conference on Thursday.

Retired Chicago businessman and U.S. Navy aviator veteran Joseph E. Jannotta Jr. will talk about his new book, "Extraordinary Leaders," on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at The Bookstall in Winnetka. In 1978, he established Jannotta, Bray & Associates Inc., a career consulting firm with 13 offices, where he was chairman. The firm was later sold in 1994. He was born and raised in Kenilworth and is an alumnus of New Trier High School. ... Jim Egan is the new director of North American sales for General Kinematics, a manufacturer of custom engineered vibrating process equipment in Crystal Lake.

• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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