A Great Wine Tasting Experience in Napa, CA #WBC09

The Hello Vino crew was fortunate to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference in Napa and Sonoma California back on July 24th-26th. Our experiences with the wineries we visited, and the level of interaction we had with the wine community as a whole was memorable. There will be a few posts detailing our adventures, but I’d like to start with how the red carpet was rolled out from the beginning and how we ended up in a winery owner’s home to start our Napa, CA tour.

On the Saturday morning of the conference, we visited the Culinary Institute of America to start the day. After an entertaining keynote address by Barry Schuler on “The Future of Blogging and Social Media,” and another talk given by Jim Gordon on “The Future of Blogging and Wine Writing,” we departed for lunch at our first winery… Peju Province Winery.

Our bus was not sure where we were headed until we were en route. The tour guide/chaperone then announced we’d be going to Peju for a little wine and food… to which the bus cheered.As we pulled into the winery, we were guided to a private section on the front lawn that had set tables under some umbrellas.  In addition, we had our own tasting bar with some lunch waiting that included fantastic sandwiches, pasta salad, and fresh peaches.  As we were enjoying the atmosphere, Herta Peju herself (founder/owner with husband Anthony) joined our table for lunch!

Herta was such a cool person to talk to about wine, life, you name it.  She just made us feel right at home. She even brought us in her home behind the winery to show us the garage where all the hard work and dedication began to make Peju what it is today… in fact Herta mentioned 7 years, 7 days a week, no vacations.

Peju has gorgeous grounds, period. Apparently the grounds were wild and overgrown when the land was purchased 27 years ago.  However, the Peju family has a love for wine and gardening, so you can imagine what the landscape looks like now. (Or, take a look at the pics on their Web site.)

Back in 2007, Peju Province Winery received Organic Certification for its Rutherford Estate Vineyard from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).  In 2009, Peju was certified as a Napa County Green Winery & Bay Area Green Business thanks to farming efforts led by winemaker Sara Fowler. Notable tastings:
2007 Rose of Syrah, 2004 Zinfandel,
2008 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2005 Fifty/Fifty-Red Wine

Some good food and wine pairings for each:2007 Rose of Syrah - Crab
2004 Zinfandel - Pepperoni Pizza
2008 Sauvignon Blanc - A Salad with Citrus
2005 Fifty/Fifty-Red Wine - Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Great place. Great people. We hope to visit again.I truly believe that we could have stayed at Peju all day, but there was more to see in Napa… stay tuned.

Cheers,Jim from Hello Vino