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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for June 9, 2000


Winery of the Week

Much Ado About Peju

Peju Province Winery  


God, in His goodness, sent the grapes
To cheer both great and small;
Little fools will drink too much,
And great fools none at all.




"When I fainted at lunch, I realized this was not working out," recalls Tony Peju. It was not a case of too much wine, it was too much work. He was pulling two jobs, florist by day, play director by night. with the encouragement of Herta Behensky (the future Mrs. Peju), he wound up with only one job, a winegrower on some 50 acres he found for sale in the heart of the Napa Valley at Rutherford. He had some pretty classy neighbors, like Mike Grgich and Robert Mondavi. Now, we covered the Peju (pay-zhoo) heroics in several earlier WineDays; e.g., some years ago he fled Azerbaijan with only $300 in his pocket.

Why are we writing about the winery again...

Blame the Tasters

We're writing again because my tasters keep giving the winery's wines such high marks. Examples:

Cabernet Franc - The 1996 came out of the chute with one gold and two silver medals. My tasters gave it an EXCELLENT.

Merlot— The 1997 is a dazzler. My tasters gave it a SUPERB.

Cabernet Sauvignon - Rutherford lays claim to producing some of America's best Cabs, and the Peju is one of them. Medals galore.

Peju Winery

Chardonnay - This is a suprise. The vineyard is pretty warm for Chardonnay, EXCEPT...Tony has a cooler, tree-shaded area along the Napa River. When I last checked, the Wine Spectator's James Laube had rated it as high as the Cab Franc. So my tasters are not alone in their rating of Tony's efforts. (He is the winemaker.)

Just the Facts

Peju Province Winery
Rutherford, Napa Valley
Owners—Herta and Tony Peju
Aesthetics—See the photo of Herta's handiwork, Peju Winery.
Contact: Ph. (707)963-3600, FAX (707)963-8680,
Price Range—$20 to $35
Production—15,000 case range


Not so long ago Wine & Spirits named Peju Province the Artisan Winery of the Year.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created June 2000