Rico Chelini, winemaker
Born and raised in St. Helena, in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rico Chelini developed a passion for grape growing and winemaking at a young age. Rico grew up on a ranch where his father was the winemaker for over 40 years. Rico’s childhood was filled with days of following his father around the vineyards and watching the winemaking process up close and as a part of his daily life. It was an easy decision for Rico to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Armed with a solid foundation of winemaking knowledge and a thirst to learn more, Rico took to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, earning degrees in Wine and Viticulture and in Agriculture Business. During his studies, Rico interned at Linne Calodo Cellars, a small boutique winery in Paso Robles, where he eventually became Cellar Master. At Linne Calodo, Rico learned the art of making beautiful Rhone-derived wines and Zinfandels. It was in this setting that Rico learned what it takes to make the best wine possible.
After three years at Linne Calodo, Rico decided to take his winemaking knowledge and return to the Napa Valley, at which time he met up with legendary winemaker, Bob Pepi. Having very similar palates and philosophies, Bob and Rico turned out to be a perfect winemaking team. Between 2008 and 2016, Rico and Bob made wine and consulted for a number of Napa Valley wineries, their most significant client being Andretti Winery. During these years, Rico had the opportunity to work with numerous grape varieties from Napa Valley’s most sought-after appellations. This work helped Rico develop an impressive winemaking repertoire and hone his skills.
Upon Bob Pepi’s retirement in 2016, Rico was the obvious choice for carrying on the tradition of fine winemaking at Andretti Winery. We are proud to have this talented winemaker as part of the Andretti team!