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Peju Province Winery - Napa Valley


‘One of America’s Great Cabernet Producers” says Wine and Spirits magazine.

“One of the top five Cabernet producers in California,” says The Quarterly Review of Wines. They are referring to Napa Valley’s, Peju Province Winery, whose Cabernet Sauvignons are on nearly every wine aficionado list of must-have wines. Quite an achievement for a relatively young Napa Valley winery that almost did not get off the ground.

When Tony Peju bought his 30-acre vineyard in 1982, he had no idea of the struggle that lay ahead. The vineyard, located in the Rutherford region of Napa Valley, had already established Cabernet Sauvignon and Colombard vines, planted in the early 1950’s. The property had no existing winery facilities, so Tony logically had his first harvest crushed and bottled elsewhere. He then applied for a tasting room license to sell his wine from a location on his property right next to the vineyard. Both the license and the tasting area were to be temporary until he was established and able to build permanent facilities.

To help make ends meet during the initial start-up period, Tony decided to sell a few T-shirts and nick-nacks from his temporary tasting room. During the early 1980’s, many Napa Valley residents had become acutely sensitive to what they termed “uninhibited growth” in the area and “ruining the charm” of the Valley. To the unknowing and uncaring, this made a convenient argument to convince county officials to deny Tony a wine-tasting permit, on the grounds that his operation was little more than a gift shop. After years of haggling the court system, Tony was finally granted his permit in 1986.

The winery that Tony Peju subsequently built, opened in October of 1991. It is a charming contemporary French Provincial, a wonderful mixture of natural beauty and art. The beautiful plantings that surround the winery accentuate the building’s earthtone stonework, fountains and statues. “I wanted it to look as if it had always been here,” says Tony. “I wanted it to blend into the Napa Valley landscape. The building is a splendid tribute to the superb wines which are crafted inside.

Tony Peju was born in Azerbaidzhan, near Armenia. He spent his youth in Europe, mostly France and England. At the age of twenty he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a dream of becoming a Hollywood director. While paying his dues in the movie industry, Tony took on a variety of odd jobs to help pay the rent. Among his odd-job endeavors was delivering flowers for a local florist shop. The flower business flourished well enough that he eventually opened up his own florist shop. His one shop soon sprouted into two, then three. That’s when he decided to start a nursery to grow his own flowers. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s the flower business was profitable enough to allow Tony to pursue other avenues of growth. With wine on his mind, he searched up and down the California coast to find a suitable place to grow grapes. In 1979, he spotted the 30 acre vineyard which he purchased soon thereafter.

Despite Tony’s problems with Napa county officials over tasting room permits, it did not prevent him from making superb wine from his vineyards. His very first Cabernet Sauvignon released in 1982 won several medals at major competitions. His 1986 HB Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (‘HB’ are his wife’s initials–for Herta Behensky) won several Gold Medals, including a rare Double Gold at the San Francisco National Wine Competition, and Best of Region, at the West Coast Wine Competition. From there he hit his winemaking stride which hasn’t slowed down since.

Peju Province is now a 12,000 case per year winery. Cabernet Sauvignon is the winery’s flagship varietal with two very limited production bottlings, an Estate and Napa Valley. Their Chardonnays have made some serious inroads too, as each vintage produced to date has earned high ratings and numerous Gold Medals. Other great wines sold just through the winery direct include a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, a slightly sweet French Colombard called “Carnival”, and an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay called “Provence.”



Dear Platinum Series Wine Club members:

Peju Province’s success is based on Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Rutherford. We are very proud of the fact that year after year our wines receive numerous amounts of recognition and awards. The wines are released relatively early due to the small inventory available and strong customer demand. My wines are crafted so that they can be enjoyed at an early age. A wine’s fruit and complexity is tasted and enjoyed best within the first seven years,
I invite you to walk the garden and taste my other red wines that this small winery is known for, such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
You will find me tending the flowers or cutting trees as you stroll the grounds by the waterfall.
See you there. Tony Peju

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