For nearly four decades, the commitment to crafting wines of distinction has remained at the heart of the PEJU winemaking philosophy. We craft a collection of small lot and single vineyard wines available only through our wine club and Tasting Room.
Our Napa Valley estate properties provide us with the foundation to make world-class wines. Dedicated to making classic wines that reflect the unique character and quality of our estate vineyards, winemaker Sara Fowler strives to understand the opportunities presented by each specific terroir and microclimate. By breaking down each property into individual vineyard blocks Sara’s goal is to harvest when the flavors have reached their peak and the tannins are at their softest.
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.
Our winery and HB estate vineyard are situated in the heart of the famed Rutherford appellation. Our 30 acre certified organic vineyard is planted to five Bordeaux varietals. This region is famous defined by the phrase “Rutherford Dust” which has been credited to legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff and to UC Davis Viticulture professor Dr. Maynard Amerine. It encompasses the uniqueness of the Rutherford AVA terroir, which includes our distinctive dirt. Some people find a cocoa, chocolate or coffee note in the flavors from wines produced in Rutherford. Decades of dedicated grape growing in Rutherford by many renowned winery estates have proven to the world that Rutherford Dust produces stellar Cabernets.
It began in Rutherford with a single 30 acre vineyard property in 1983, originally called Stephanie Vineyard. Our portfolio is now comprised of six unique vineyard properties totaling 515 acres. Each site produces grapes with distinct attributes that reflect the variations in soil, terrain, microclimate, and exposure. For us, our Estate Vineyards of which 200 acres are planted, convey a special sense of place and a growing tradition. Because of this, we take immense pride in their cultivation and we feel it shows in the final product comprised of grapes all harvested from our own estate properties.
Our 30 acre Rutherford Estate is planted to the five Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Cabernets from our appellation are distinguished by their signature soft, round mouth-feel and “dusty” tannins. The soil of this region is composed of gravel, loam, and sand, and these characteristics contribute to the fruit’s unique character that results in wines of expressive flavor. Over the last 37 years we have distinguished ourselves as a world class producer of award-winning Napa Valley wines sourced from all of our estate vineyards. Our 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was recently awarded “Best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon” at the California State Fair.
In 2007 we received Organic Certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) for our 30-acre Rutherford Estate. Currently we are moving towards organic farming practices at all six of our Napa Valley vineyards which include the HB Estate Vineyard in Rutherford, Persephone Vineyard in Pope Valley, Red Goose Vineyard in Calistoga, Oak Knoll vineyard and Calmére Estate Winery in Carneros. We believe that practicing organic and sustainable farming not only improves our health and the ecological system but also yields higher quality fruit in the vineyard, healthier vines and increased vineyard longevity. In 2009 we were certified as a Napa County Green Winery & Bay Area Green Business after we achieved all standards in pollution prevention, conservation of resources and environmental compliance.
Receiving our Rutherford Vineyard’s organic certification was instrumental in our commitment to increase our environmental initiatives across all of our estate vineyard properties. As we look to the future, we are focused on helping to protect the land which we farm in the Napa Valley for generations to come. Our organic farming practices avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and plant growth regulators while relying on crop rotation, compost and ecological-based cultivation to maintain soil productivity. In return, we are doing our part to help sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems in the land and our surrounding areas.
Winemaker Sara Fowler uses a wide array of French and American oak as her palette of flavors and aromas. She draws from her expertise after years of working with many levels of toast in barrels and of course, the origins of the wood itself, sourced from specific forests in France. Typical aging for our red wines is 16-18 months for our Napa tier and on average 22-26 months for our Reserve tier. The best estate fruit goes into our Reserve wines and the longer time in barrel allows them to age more gracefully resulting in wines that are richer, full-bodied and more complex.