Monday, August 4, 2014



The love of farming and a passion for wine brought Tony Peju to the Napa Valley. A series of ideas - starting in his birthplace on the Caspian Sea, then France, England and eventually, Los Angeles -- created the Peju's Napa Valley winery. In 1982, Tony and his wife Herta purchased 30 acres of land in the Napa Valley with the magic ingredient - location. Neighboring vineyards in Rutherford included Robert Mondavi, Inglenook and Beaulieu. Situated between Highway 29 and the Napa River, the acreage included a 1900-era house and rambling vineyards, some 60 or more years old. Looking to the future, Tony and Herta have introduced their two daughters, Lisa and Ariana, to the workings of the wine business. Both of the young women are immersing themselves in all aspects of Peju Winery.

There's no such thing as a typical day for Lisa Peju.
The oldest daughter of Peju co-founders Tony and HB Peju is always on the go, sometimes traveling to three different states during a week's time to represent Peju Family Estates Wines at winemaker dinners, trade and consumer events and meet with retailers.

You may recognize Lisa from her popular ads that run in the San Francisco Chronicle and various other wine country publications. Lisa's passion and love for her family's business shines through in every photo.

The Peju's Rutherford vineyard has been home to Lisa since she was six years old. It was then that she moved with her parents from Southern California to wine country to begin a life devoted to growing grapes, producing high-quality wines and finding new and innovative ways to market the family brand.

Lisa spent her childhood attending Napa Valley schools during the day and tending to the vineyard in the evenings and on weekends. It wasn't uncommon to see Lisa and her sister Ariana driving the family four-wheeler along the property's dirt paths with piles of grapes in the back bed.

After graduating from St. Helena High School, Lisa first attended Marymount College in Palos Verdes and then U.C. Santa Barbara to study marketing and graphic design with plans of becoming a computer animator. But a summer trip to Paris in 1999 to study French at Sorbonne University with Ariana planted the seeds for another calling. Three years later, the French language came in handy as HB took her daughters to VIN EXPO in Bordeaux, the largest wine Exposition in the World. Lisa enjoyed promoting Peju's wines so much that she decided to change career paths and join the family business as a marketing and public relations ambassador.

The position was a perfect fit, and it meant that Lisa would play an integral role in carrying on the family tradition of producing award-winning wines into the future.

Since joining Peju in 2001, Lisa has traveled throughout Europe and Asia, including Japan, Korea and Hong Kong, representing Peju. In the United States, Lisa has blanketed the map and led the charge to reach younger customers. Peju's consumers of the future.

From beyond the Napa Valley, Lisa brings Peju wines to homes and businesses across the world.



It is difficult to make Pinot Noir inexpensively, especially if your goal is world-class Pinot Noir. It is capital-intensive, the horizons are long and the results can be unpredictable. We knew that going in. Our vision for CIRQ first took shape several years ago when we discovered what we consider to be the best sites in the best region for Pinot Noir, the Russian River Valley. We made the commitment at that time to pour all our resources into developing these sites.

We bring a high level of focus to the task. We farm two estate vineyards and will produce a single estate Pinot Noir from each. Production will be extremely limited for the simple reason that CIRQ is an estate-driven program. We’ve done this with one goal in mind: to provide enthusiasts with wines of uncommon breeding that delight their senses and connect them to these special places.

As a youth Michael Browne spent several summers performing in a youth circus in his hometown of Wenatchee, WA. He walked the high wire, he was a catcher on the trapeze, he juggled, ate fire and lived the life our mothers warned us about.

Not every show went as planned and one night, while performing the “Human Volcano,” the wind shifted direction and he was badly burned. You’d think this would have ended his circus career but no, it only strengthened his resolve. He went back the next summer and mastered the stunt. And along the way he learned a lesson that would serve him as a winemaker: that practice, hard work, risk-taking and really good balance pay off in the end. It is from this experience that the name for CIRQ was drawn.

While growing and making wine has turned out to be Michael’s calling, his passion is his family -- his wife, Sarah, and their children Logan, Lauren and Lyvia. Still, he retains a bit of the ringmaster, always trying to leave his guests and customers wanting more.


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