Growing up in the Napa Valley with a vineyard as her backyard, Ariana Peju chose her course in life at a young age.
When her parents, Tony and Herta (HB), relocated to the Napa Valley from Southern California 25 years ago, they brought with them a vision, an unwavering work ethic and two young daughters who soaked in the couple's entrepreneurial spirit and determination to create a successful, high-quality family venture.
The Peju family transformed their newly acquired wild, rural expanse of land into an award-winning winery and family passion.
Ariana and her sister Lisa were involved every step of the way. The two harvested grapes and hauled them in the vineyard tractor, suckered vines for an allowance of $1 and welcomed some of Peju's first guests to the tasting room, then housed in the family's garage.
As an adult, Ariana has joined her family at Peju, overseeing all aspects of the winery's daily business operations. Since joining the Peju team in 2006, Ariana has spearheaded a number of important environmental initiatives, including the "Harvesting the Sun" project which installed 720 solar panels over 10,000 square feet of the winery roof, and resulted in supporting 35 percent of Peju's energy.
As part of Ariana's environmental plan, the winery is transitioning over to energy efficient light bulbs, non-toxic and environmentally safe cleaning products and recyclable packing and biodegradable shipping materials. These efforts are also reflected in the vineyard, as Peju is certified in organic farming on its Rutherford Estate and practices 100 percent sustainable farming at its Persephone and Wappo Vineyards.
A Napa Valley farm girl at heart, Ariana attended local schools in St. Helena and then set off for college in rural San Luis Obispo. Not surprisingly, Ariana's favorite job while living in that area was on an apple farm, where she could mesh her business acumen with her agricultural roots. During that span, she came to fully recognize that her talents were best utilized hands-on.
Ariana returned home to the Napa Valley in 2003 and began working in the tasting room at Peju's neighboring Rubicon Estate for almost three years. During her time there she was promoted twice, most recently as the assistant tasting room manager. When she was poised to take the next step in the industry, Ariana returned to Peju to continue growing her family's business and carry the Peju legacy of high-quality wines into the future.