Second Generation – Peju Sisters at the Helm
Tony and Herta Peju arrived in the Napa Valley in 1983 with their then-young daughters Lisa and Ariana and began making acclaimed wines and welcoming guests to their tasting room—in their garage.
Fast forward to almost forty years later, and the Peju Winery remains family-owned, with second-generation daughters Lisa and Ariana at the helm. They inherited their parent’s maverick spirit and are bringing fresh energy and innovation to the winery. In addition, they empower and trust a team of strong female leaders in winemaking, finance, hospitality, cellar, marketing, human resources, e-commerce, and wine club to keep the business growing, focusing on consistently placing guests first.
Lisa Peju serves as the brand ambassador, traveling the world to promote Napa Valley and Peju wines. Lisa also shares tastings, recipes, and fun stories with guests through virtual experiences. Working alongside her mom Herta, Lisa also supports the community in collaboration with the Napa Valley Vintners and the Rutherford Dust Society.Ariana Peju, a working mom, serves as Peju CEO, and she is highly focused on sustainability to protect the beauty and wonder of Napa Valley for generations to come. One of Ariana’s early accomplishments was the installation of 720 solar panels spreading over 10,000 square feet of the winery roof. The panels provide 35 percent of the winery’s energy today. Future plans include expanding solar at the winery and continuing with organic certification across their six estate vineyards. Rutherford was certified organic in 2007, and all six Peju estate vineyards are currently certified Fish Friendly.
Their parents taught Lisa and Ariana that surrounding a guest with beauty and wonder elevates their wine tasting experience. The lovely gardens, sculptures, sycamore tree-lined drive, and iconic tower were all part of their parents’ vision. The sisters have expanded that by bringing wine and food to the forefront with seasonal garden boxes and expanded culinary offerings. They also appointed a full-time in-house chef and culinary team, led by Executive Chef Nick Montañez.
A native of Michoacán, Mexico, Montañez garnered hands-on experience as Chef de Cuisine at the Calistoga Inn & Brewery and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Peju Winemaker Sara Fowler, named Best Local Winemaker by Napa Valley Life magazine in 2016, 2017, and 2018, brings her artistic ‘foodie flair’ to her collaborations with Chef Montañez. Together, they taste through each dish along with the wines to ensure a perfect pairing. The result is that guests can enjoy Wine & Dine events that feature a three-course lunch or dinner complete with wine education. To learn more about Peju’s Wine & Dine events, call 707-963-3600 or visit peju.com.
The holidays are always celebrated in a festive spirit by the Peju family. In this tradition, Lisa and Ariana offer a stunning art and wine-focused set, the Stained Glass Collection. The packaging features the 1906 stained glass window acquired by Tony Peju, which resides in the center of their iconic tower tasting room. Herta conceived the concept and helped with the design, making it a complete family affair.
Story By: Layne Randolph // Photos Courtesy of Peju Winery
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