The Peju family’s second winery, Liana Estates, has opened at the former site of Acacia Winery.
With a purposeful divergence from Peju Province Winery’s bustling location at the edge of Highway 29, Liana Estates sits on 100 acres in the hills of Carneros, with views of San Pablo Bay.
Liana Estates gets its name from the merging of the names Lisa and Ariana, the second generation daughters of Peju Province owner Tony Peju. They have both been immersed in the family business for more than 30 years.
“This is something we’ve grown up with. It’s what we love, it’s what we know and it’s just what we do, and that’s why we created Liana Estates,” said owner Ariana Peju.
“We were so fortunate to come across this beautiful property ... and that’s really what we want to highlight here, that natural beauty of Carneros and that relaxing environment that we really want to share with our guests.”
After an unofficial opening, Liana Estates team is planning a grand opening for early fall.
The one noticeable Liana Estates parallel to Peju Province is the myriad diverse tasting and entertaining spaces available. Otherwise, the new winery has taken a completely separate and modernized direction. Lead designer Lauren Tapper of Lauren Pique Designs drew outdoor inspiration from the surrounding land and incorporated it into textures, colors and other elements inside the winery building.
Enter Liana through the roll-up garage door and into the cellar, doubling as the main tasting room. Just a glass partition will draw a line of separation between the tanks, hoses and forklifts and the posh (and dry) tasting lounge, so visitors can get up close with wine production, viewing first-hand some of what went into creating the finished products they’re sipping.
On the way to the stairwell, backed with chalkboard drawings by regional artists, is a small mercantile shop, selling the fresh goods of local purveyors. To the left is the barrel room, a place for storing wine and for candlelit tastings.
The second-floor private wine club tasting lounge features a porch and fireplace for whatever weather; the third floor loft boasts a 180-degree bird’s nest panorama of the Petaluma Gap and on a clear day, Mt. Diablo. It’s an ideal space for groups, seated around a live-edge table built from fallen trees on the family’s property, next to a natural succulent wall.
Outside there’s an expansive hillside, an olive grove, bocce court and the rustic, soon-to-be refurbished Bayview Barn. All will be used for tastings and experiences.
Focused on guest experience
Liana Estates’ primary focus is on the guest experience. The winery plans to offer lifestyle and educational programs like Sunday hillside yoga (complete with a bento box brunch) and a Vine Cross boot camp, followed by a wine tasting.
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Picnic tables, hammocks, blankets and pillows are set up at the property’s vista view for those who want to relax resort-style. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Liana plans to host romantic evenings of wine and oysters at sunset, overlooking the bay.
Culinary offerings and classes, led by Liana’s executive chef, will complement the wines.
“We are looking at creating some great lifestyle experiences at Liana,” said experience manager Ann Marie Howle. “We’re looking at a place where it’s a destination of leisure, libation, a little relaxation and some food, keeping true to the area, keeping true to what’s growing in this region.”
Echoing that sentiment was president Abdullah Vural. He said, “It’s not about selling wine. We want to create a living room feel. It’s about creating that home feeling.”
Liana will also be looking to partner with corporations for team-building activities.
Daily wine tastings by appointment in the main tasting room will be $35 per person, with private events, experiences and group tastings ranging in price.
The Lost Grapes
While Liana will pay homage to the Carneros region’s notable pinot and chardonnay, winemaker Sara Fowler, who has been with the Peju family since 2006, is especially excited to focus on “the lost grapes.”
She plans on searching California for hard-to-find varietals or hidden gems that have either been forgotten or are generally unheard of. Her first embodiment of this is the 2015 dry orange muscat, with grapes from a grower in Mendocino.
“The orange muscat is a good segway into what we’re thinking,” said Fowler.
“We’re going to have some really creative and interesting stuff.”
Other current releases include the 2015 Vintners Blend, a white proprietary blend primarily of chenin blanc, a proprietary red blend, pinot noir and chardonnay.
All wines will be exclusive to Liana Estates, taking a new approach to wine that’s a pendulum swing from Peju Province’s traditional Bordeaux style.
Liana Estates is at 2750 Las Amigas Road, Napa. Info, www.lianaestates.com.