Intriguing Winemaker

Named ‘Best Local Winemaker’ by Napa Valley Life Magazine readers in 2016, 2017, and 2018, Sara Fowler has led Peju’s winemaking team and efforts for the past 13 years, while also serving as winemaker and director of vineyard operations for Peju’s sister winery Calmere Estate located in Carneros.

During her Peju tenure, she has supervised the farming of the winery’s 204 acres across six estate vineyards within four appellations while also increasing the brand’s number of wines. She appreciates the creative license she’s provided to fine-tune vineyard practices as well as develop new approaches to blends. Said the Kelseyville native and mother of two grown sons, “My goal is to constantly improve the quality and focus of what we’re doing at Peju.” Within her first year, she successfully transitioned the estate vineyard to become an organic property, and today, in conjunction with the efforts of Ariana Peju, Fowler supports green initiatives within both the vineyards and the winery. Raised on a 400-acre organic ranch where farm-to-table food was part of the everyday lifestyle and not a social movement, she well understood the principles of farming and at age 12 was driving the family tractor.

A talented creator of mixed media art, at one time Sara believed she might become a professional artist. But after working harvests and summers at Kendall-Jackson, she pivoted to viticulture. Fowler often travels and speaks as a representative of the Napa Valley winery community on behalf of the Rutherford appellation for which she serves on the board of the Rutherford Dust Society. When not at the winery, she loves salsa and swing dancing, drinking bubbles, reading, and cooking.


Article By: Fran Miller