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by Fred McMillin
The Peju Debut...Doom & Gloom
The Napa vintners opposed Tony Peju's winery because they said he wasn't a serious winemaker.
...Wine and Spirits Magazine
The Rest of the Story
NOT SERIOUS! Wait just one darn minute. It hadn't been easy. Twenty years earlier Tony Peju (pay-zhoo) had fled Azerbaijan with only $300 in his pocket. From England it was on to Los Angeles, directing plays at night and delivering flowers during the days. Then, he and his bride, Herta, went into the florist business on their own, generated enough funds to purchase a 30-acre ranch in the Napa Valley, and put stainless steel fermentation tanks on a concrete pad.
And now, in 1985, stalled by legal action, Tony took his U.C.-Davis training, his wife's enthusiasm and his wonderful Rutherford Cabernet grapes to another winery. His first vintage (1986) in time wins a Best of Region at the California State Fair and a Double Gold at the San Francisco Wine Fair.
Needless to say, the Pejus won the suit and by 1991 had those tanks surrounded by a handsome winery and beautiful grounds. Ironically, what had been derided 15 years ago as a "chain-link winery" (a fence around those tanks) today is a leading tourist attraction.
Hence, today's wine is a beautiful Cab from a beautiful winery...Tony's 10th vintage.
1996 Peju Province Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Contact - Herta Peju (707) 963-3600, FAX (707) 963-8680 e-mail @ www. peju.com
Anthony Peju was not alone in starting a new winery in the Napa Valley. When he first looked over properties in 1979, there were less than 100 Napa County wineries. By the time he completed his winery in 1991, the total had more than doubled, topping 250.
This page created March 2000