Neighboring vineyards in Rutherford included Robert Mondavi, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyard. Situated between Highway 29 and the Napa River, the acreage included a 1900-era house and rambling vineyards, some 60 or more years old. Looking to the future, Tony and Herta 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 in Provence in the south of France and moved to Los Angeles, where he built a successful florist and nursery business. In 1982 he and his wife Herta bought a 30 acre property in Rutherford – the site of Peju Winery today. Driven by the desire to grow the best grapes possible, he started studying enology at UC Davis and made changes in the way those grapes were grown. As the business grew, Tony and his family built a winery on the property, dominated by a European-style 50-ft stone-faced tower (today a Napa Valley landmark), added in 2003, with its 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 1982, 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. Today 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 recent accomplishments has been the installation of 720 solar panels spreading over 10,000 square feet of the winery roof: these provide 35% of the winery’s energy. 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 the family acquired a vineyard and winery in Carneros and in 2019, Calmére Estate Winery opened to the public. Ariana directed the extensive renovations there as well as the extensive landscaping.
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 viticulture at Fresno State and becoming a winemaker. When she arrived at Peju in 2006, 26 harvests ago, her first mission was to transition the estate vineyard into being organically farmed, which was accomplished in September 2007. During her tenure to date at Peju she has grown the number of wines being made and today supervises the farming of the winery’s 204 acres of six estate vineyards in four different sub-AVAs of the Napa Valley. Sara is also the Winemaker and Director of Vineyard Operations for Peju’s sister winery, Calmére Estate, in Carneros, where 37.3 acres are planted to nine different Pinot Noir clones in vineyards surrounding the winery.