Ariana Peju is the co-proprietor of Tess Winery and General Manager of Peju Province Winery.
She moved to Napa Valley when her parents, Tony and Herta (HB), bought a plot of land in Rutherford and relocated from Southern California 30 years ago. They brought with them a vision, an unwavering work ethic and their two young daughters who soaked in the couple’s entrepreneurial spirit and determination to build a winery from the ground up.
Ariana and her sister Lisa were involved every step of the way. The two harvested grapes and hauled them in the vineyard tractor, suckered vines for an allowance of $1 and welcomed some of the winery’s first guests to the tasting room, then housed in the family’s garage.
After attending college in rural San Luis Obispo, Ariana returned to the Napa Valley in 2003 and began working in the tasting Room at the neighboring Rubicon Estate. Then in 2007 she officially joined the family business taking on new projects with enthusiasm.
Ariana organized a number of important environmental initiatives demonstrating her commitment to the land and sustainability. She spearheaded the “Harvesting the Sun” project which installed 720 solar panels over 10,000 square feet of the winery roof, supporting 35 percent of the winery’s energy. Her ecological efforts are also reflected in the vineyard, as the family’s Rutherford estate is now certified organic, the Wappo vineyard is farmed organically with certification in process, and their Tess and Persephone vineyards practice 100 percent sustainable farming.
In 2012, Ariana and her sister Lisa created Tess, a wine that pays tribute to their parents’ hard-earned success and represents their family’s commitment to crafting unique wines from superior estate fruit.
Ariana lives with her husband Ian White in St. Helena and they enjoy hiking in the Mayacamas Mountains and Tahoe, listening to music, and sipping on a chilled glass of Tess after a long fought rally of tennis with Lisa.