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Peju Province Winery - Napa Valley


Napa Valley icon celebrates 25 years of winemaking excellence.

Peju Province Winery began its operation in 1982 as a farming operation that had formerly supplied a number of well established wineries with high quality grapes. Peju, as the winery facility and grounds are commonly called, was named after the region in France when owner Tony Peju spent some of his childhood and greatly admired the area's architecture and vineyards.

Peju's first release of around 2000 cases met with instant critical success, and the winery soon became a frequent stop for consumers on Highway 29 in Rutherford. Along the way the winery has been labeled among the top cabernet producers in California and has garnered numerous awards and medals for its portfolio of fine wines.

Peju's early success wasn't all that easy to achieve. Working on a temporary winery permit, Tony Peju raised the ire of locals when he converted an old garage into a tasting room and started selling t-shirts and nick-nacks from the location. The resulting furor created an ongoing spectacle that finally ended in the Napa courts system and delayed Peju's permanent license until 1986. Today's Napa Valley tasting rooms (and tasting rooms everywhere for that matter) include every wine related item imaginable, and also some not even remotely related to the tale of the vine.

The existing Peju Province winery was built in 1991 and is a charming French provincial mixture of beauty and art. A magnificent tower was added in 2003 and plans call for construction of a smaller second tower to begin at a point later this year. With the completion of the second tower, Peju's physical plant will rank among Napa Valley's most interesting and will certainly become a must stop on any visit to the Napa Valley.

Peju's presence is a direct reflection of owner Tony Peju's intense foresight as well as a product of his earlier professional training in the flower and landscaping business in Los Angeles. His success in these early businesses and his longing for a somewhat bucolic setting for his future endeavors caused Peju Province to become a reality.

Today's winery complex is complete with artful floral plantings that surround the winery and accentuate the buildings earthtone stonework fountains and numerous statues. A meticulous garden system (overseen on a daily basis by Tony's wife Herta) is among the most unique and beautiful in the entire valley. A number of incredible sculptures from renowned artist Philip Dizick that center around geometrical themes give balance to the classically formed grounds and layout.

'I wanted it to look as if it had always been there,' Peju explained. I wanted it to blend into the Napa Valley landscape.' Few visitors to the site would disagree that Peju has truly succeeded in that regard.
While Peju has grown in numbers, it has been able to maintain the fine balance between nature and growth including a number of progressive innovations that have made it a natural for both conservationists and environmentalists.

Thanks to the efforts of Ariana Peju, 27, Tony's youngest daughter and heir apparent to eventually taking over Tony's role in the business, Peju is now partially solar powered. Labeling her project, 'Harvesting the Sun', Ariana's endeavor installed a total of 720 solar panels on top of the winery's 10,000 square foot roof that now account for more than 1/3 of the winery's electrical needs and will do so for a period of at least 25 years. The project is considered highly innovative for the area and stands as a challenge to other neighboring wineries to follow suit.

Peju's entire vineyard operation has also gone organic and had applied for organically-grown status that should be forthcoming in the near future.

Peju Province has also entered into a most specific marketing program that features Tony's oldest daughter Lisa, 30, as the face of Peju. The program has only been limited to Northern California thus far, but has prompted a positive response from many wine enthusiasts. Lisa handles many of the marketing chores for Peju including special appearances and wine related dinners.

After its somewhat bumpy beginning, Peju Province has risen to the top echelons of wine producing entities in Napa Valley and indeed, all of California. It embodies the keen insight and deep determination of an owner and his family that wanted to share their idea of a perfect setting and marvelous wines with the wine loving world.

Peju Province now sells in five countries and has received serious international acclaim. Enjoy!




  1. Peju
    2003 Merlot
    Peju
    Estate Bottle
    Napa Valley

    $28.17

    $35.00
    Gold Medal
    id: 135
    Special
    Gold

Province Winery to expand to its present 40, 000 case annual production. He also credits his current winemaker Sara Fowler, whose prior work experiences included Kendall-Jackson and Napa neighbor Franciscan Vineyards, with providing him excellent blends from which to make the final decisions on his wines.

One of the first things that Peju Province owner Tony Peju will agree to is the fact that he is obsessed with his business. What's more, the exuberant winery owner is extremely vocal when it comes to the subject. 'When I am determined to do something,' he confided recently, 'I generally get it done, no matter what it takes or how long it takes me. I am definitely an over achiever, you can even say obsessed, but whenever I set out to do something, I expect it to ultimately happen.'

When Tony Peju first found his way to the Napa Valley, it wasn't with the idea of grapes or a winery in mind. He was simply looking for a farm on which he could spend two or three days a week that would provide him with a respite from the crowded confines of Southern California.

Some friends mentioned to him property that was planted in grapevines and the thought triggered a childhood remembrance from his early days with his family around Aix in the Provence Region of France. Added to the fact that during his youth his father was an amateur winemaker, Tony Peju's interest in grape growing brought him to Napa's prime growing area of Rutherford. 'At the time (early 1980's) everyone believed that Rutherford grapes were the best in the valley,' he added. 'I started asking around and finally found this piece of property that was surrounded by some well established growers and wineries, Mondavi, BV and Caymus among others. I started taking some courses at UC Davis and worked with a number of wine consultants.

Tony Peju's first releases in 1985 met with incredible success, a fact that Peju dismisses as unimportant.
'As a matter of fact I expected them to do well,' he explained.' As I told you, I am an over achiever who expects to do well with everything I do. The recognition was nice, but I must tell you that I really sort of expected it to happen.' Tony Peju sets many goals for himself, some that occur on a daily basis and some that he expects to reach fruition in a year or longer. And most importantly, Tony is only interested in how he personally feels he has succeeded in his accomplishments. 'I really don't feel that I have accomplished all that much,' he said matter-of-factly. 'I don't pay too much attention to what people might say of my accomplishments. It is how I feel about them that really matters and it is based mostly on what I expected of myself.'

Peju credits Walter Shug of Shug Cellars and top wine consultant Lisa Van der Water of Napa and New Zealand for providing him with the insight that has allowed Peju Province Winery to expand to its present 40, 000 case annual production. He also credits his current winemaker Sara Fowler, whose prior work experiences included Kendall-Jackson and Napa neighbor Franciscan Vineyards, with providing him excellent blends from which to make the final decisions on his wines. 'Oh yes, I make all the final decisions at Peju,' he continued. 'I am always willing to hear everyone else's opinions on the blends, but I always leave the final decision to myself.

Tony Peju is also delighted his two daughters, Lisa and Ariana have followed him into the family business along with his wife Herta. The family makes a strong statement and brings a varied set of expertise into the company. 'When we started the winery back in 1982,' Peju recalled,' it was only Herta and me. We always hoped that our girls would follow us into the business and now that it has happened, it makes many of our earlier sacrifices that much more worthwhile. Each of the girls has special talents and it is up to us to utilize them in our company.' The big goal at Peju Province Winery is to reach the 100,000 case goal, a level that Tony Peju hopes to achieve in about ten years.

'It really depends on just how much longer I last,' he confessed. The 100,000 cases equates to how much vineyard land we have available so I don't see why we can't achieve our goal.'

Anyone who really knows Tony Peju will probably bet their money that he makes it to his goal. Tony simply wouldn't have it any other way.


Peju Grilled Miso-Marinated Beef Appetizer


Ingredients

Serves 24
12 ounces New York Steak, trimmed of fat
1 Tablespoon Miso Marinade 1 Tablespoon Red onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Tablespoon Radish, diced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Garlic cloves, very finely minced
1 Teaspoon Italian Parsley, fine chopped
1 Teaspoon Cilantro, fine chopped
� Teaspoon Cumin
� Teaspoon Chile powder
24 Fried Plantain chips
Lawry�s seasoning salt to taste


Instructions

Season the meat with Lawry�s seasoning salts. On a hot grill char the meat on both sides keeping it on the rare side. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, and then cut into a small dice. Saut� the onion, peppers, radish, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the parsley, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder and take off the heat. Cool to room temperature and add to the diced meat. Place a spoonful of the Parilla onto a fried plantain chip or your favorite corn tortilla chip.



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