A love of farming and a passion for wine brought Tony Peju to the Napa Valley. Born near the Caspian Sea, Tony’s ideas for Peju Winery were derived from his experiences in France, England and Los Angeles. In 1983, Tony and his wife Herta (H.B.) purchased 30 acres of land in the Napa Valley with the magic ingredient - location.
Neighboring vineyards in Rutherford includes Robert Mondavi, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyard. Situated between Highway 29 and the Napa River, the acreage included a 1900-era house and vineyards. Looking to the future, Tony and Herta (H.B.) continue to play a vital advisory role, but daughters Lisa and Ariana along with a strong management team are now leading the future direction of the winery.
Tony Peju grew up near the Caspian Sea and lived and traveled throughout Europe. He later moved to Los Angeles in 1960, where he built a successful florist and nursery business. In 1983, he and his wife Herta (H.B.) bought a 30 acre property in Rutherford – the site of PEJU Winery today. Already an accomplished farmer, Tony decided he would like to make wine from the grapes he was growing and create a new business. He enrolled in enology courses at UC Davis to learn more about winemaking and was mentored by Walter Schug, who was then the winemaker for Joseph Phelps. After working out of their garage for seven years, in 1991, they built the first phase of the winery. The tower that graces the label was completed in 2003. The tower is a 50-ft stone-faced (today a Napa Valley landmark), with a beautiful copper roof and unicorn weather vane. His love of art is also visible in the fountains, sculptures and artwork surrounding the estate.
Herta (HB) Peju was born in Austria and grew up in Venezuela. In 1983, HB and Tony Peju purchased a 30 acre property in Rutherford – the site of Peju Winery today. A steady presence in many roles in the business, she also ensures that all of the winery’s elaborate gardens and landscaping are maintained to a high standard. Guests often greet her while she is checking on the flowers and trees and overall ambiance of the winery grounds, which also encompass stunning flowers and a wide variety of trees. HB presides over a lavish garden and orchard at her home and is fond of creating delicious meals from that day’s harvest.
Born in Los Angeles, Lisa Peju came to the Napa Valley with her family when she was six years old. In 1999, she and her sister Ariana went to the Sorbonne for a summer program studying French, which foreshadowed her future as a representative of the winery traveling around the world. In 2001, Lisa and her sister accompanied their mother to Vinexpo in Bordeaux, where they saw how the wine business worked, from meeting customers to the social aspects. Lisa came back to the family business in 2010, where she first worked as a cellar intern for winemaker Sara Fowler, then began traveling to represent the winery around the world. In 2016, the family acquired a vineyard and winery in Carneros and in 2019, Calmére Estate Winery opened to the public. Lisa now represents Calmére when she travels in addition to Peju. Lisa is almost constantly on the road, whether in the U.S. or internationally.
Born in Los Angeles, Ariana Peju came to the Napa Valley with her family when she was three years old. One of Ariana’s early accomplishments was the installation of 720 solar panels spreading over 10,000 square feet of the winery roof: these provide 35% of the winery’s energy today. Ariana is directing the winery’s transition to a range of other programs, such as using energy efficient light bulbs, non-toxic and environmentally safe cleaning products and recyclable packing and biodegradable shipping materials. In 2016, a vineyard and winery in Carneros joined the portfolio. In 2019, Calmére Estate Winery opened to the public. Ariana directed the extensive renovations there.
Sara Fowler has been named Best Local Winemaker by Napa Valley Life Magazine in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Sara began working harvests and summers at Kendall-Jackson, and then pivoted to studying enology at Fresno State and becoming a winemaker. When she arrived at Peju in 2006 her first mission was to transition the estate vineyard into being organically farmed, which was accomplished in September 2007. Today she supervises the farming of the winery’s six estate vineyards in four different sub-AVAs of the Napa Valley. Sara is also the Vice President of Winemaking and Operations for Peju’s sister winery, Calmére Estate, in Carneros.