PEJU Winery Champions Monarch Justice Center with Heart of PEJU Initiative
NAPA, Calif., Jan. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- This year, PEJU Province Winery—the family owned and operated winery in the heart of Rutherford—celebrates its 40th anniversary and looks ahead to the next 40 years by launching a new philanthropic initiative and community partnership, museum experience on the property, and a series of events at the estate and across the country.
With this milestone also comes the formal transition of ownership from founders Tony and Herta "HB" Peju to daughters Lisa and Ariana. An industry trailblazer, Tony Peju redefined Napa Valley four decades ago with the family's garage tasting room—the first of its kind—as he championed the right of grape growers to sell their wine directly to consumers. In founding PEJU Winery, the Peju family broke the mold and created the Wine Country experience that visitors know and love today. With the next generation at the helm, PEJU continues to operate with a hands-on, boutique approach and a "guest first" mentality as the Peju family looks towards another four decades of hospitality.
The Heart of PEJU
To honor 40 years in the Napa Valley community, PEJU announces the formal launch of The Heart of PEJU—a new philanthropic initiative to support local families through the work of The Monarch Justice Center. A new Napa Valley family center, The Monarch Justice Center provides comprehensive care, advocacy, and resources to all survivors of trauma and abuse. On a mission to create a safer, more equitable community where everyone can thrive, The Monarch Justice Center supports the families of Napa Valley and aligns with the PEJU pillars of accessibility, authenticity, and legacy. Through The Heart of PEJU and in honor of the 40th anniversary, the Peju family has committed to a donation of $40,000 in 2023.
"We are thrilled to announce The Heart of PEJU program and are honored to partner with The Monarch Justice Center in order to give back to Napa Valley and other families in our hometown," said co-owner Ariana Peju. "Family is at the heart of PEJU, and we look forward to supporting and serving our community and customers for generations to come."
"The support of The Heart of PEJU will allow us to improve and expand our services to survivors of violence in Napa County as we work with a wide array of partners to make systemic improvements and create a safer, healthier, and more just community," said Hayley Pescetti, Director of The Monarch Justice Center. "We are incredibly grateful to PEJU and the Peju family for highlighting our work and joining the cause."
PEJU will launch additional donation channels through other 2023 programming, and will continue to support the important work of The Monarch Justice Center through The Heart of PEJU in the years ahead.
PEJU Legacy Experience
In the spirit of bringing the past into its future, the winery has announced plans for a new immersive museum: the PEJU Legacy Experience. Housed in the loft of the iconic estate tower—the tallest structure in Napa at the time of its completion—the Legacy Experience honors founders Tony & Herta Peju, the Rutherford estate's notable history, and the family's expansive plans for the future. A self-guided tour, the Legacy Experience will feature family photography compiled by Herta Peju—including archives of co-owners Lisa and Ariana growing up on the estate—vintage memorabilia, trends of the time, and captures the growth and evolution of PEJU across its prominent 40-year history. Slated to open this summer, the immersive timeline will cover PEJU from its inception in 1983 through to present day operations and beyond.
40th Anniversary Activities
To celebrate this year's significant milestone, PEJU guests will enjoy a host of new activities, promotions, and collections throughout 2023. For the first time, PEJU Winemaker Sara Fowler will host an intimate Barrel EXP tasting event to share her experimental process and winemaking philosophy, accented by professional cooper demonstrations. PEJU Chef Nicolas Montañez will also prepare a coursed wine and food pairing that explores how cooking with wood can take flavors to new dimensions.
In a new year-long program, PEJU will release a special library Reserve wine each month to commemorate its 40-year milestone. Club PEJU will also be heading out on the road, with member-only events hosted by Lisa Peju and Sara Fowler in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The first private Club PEJU event will take place on February 9 in Miami, FL.
To learn more about PEJU and the 40th Anniversary, visit peju.com and follow along on Instagram and Facebook @pejuwinery for the latest events, releases, and news.
Situated in the heart of Napa Valley, PEJU Winery was founded by industry trailblazers Tony and Herta "HB" Peju, who broke the mold and designed the Wine Country experience that guests know and love today. A family-owned and operated estate comprising six vineyard estates totaling 616 acres, PEJU is now helmed by second-generation owners Lisa and Ariana Peju alongside longtime winemaker Sara Fowler. The Rutherford estate is an ode to beauty, in wine and art alike, anchored by a whimsical 50-foot tower, immaculate gardens, a curated sculpture collection, and a stunning stained glass window from 1906. Known for its warm hospitality and approachable exploration, PEJU crafts wines for every palette and offers unique tasting and pairing experiences at the estate that highlight each varietal. PEJU will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2023, and more information can be found at peju.com.
Monarch Justice Center’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Napa opens Monarch Justice Center for survivors of crimes
Local officials celebrated the grand opening Thursday of the Monarch Justice Center that seeks to serve survivors of elder abuse, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and intimate partner violence in an environment designed to mitigate trauma and encourage recovery.
The center, originally funded by a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services, is a collaborative effort between the District Attorney, local community-based service provider organizations, law enforcement, and adult protective services to develop a model for a Family Justice Center that would best serve vulnerable victims of crime in Napa County.
Monarch Justice Center creates a new centralized location where victims of crime can be better served by a team of multidisciplinary partners representing law enforcement, victim advocates, forensic interviewers, government and non-profit service providers, as well as district attorney staff.
Monarch Justice Center is located at the Aldea Children and Family Services' building on First Street in downtown Napa, adjacent to the County's Courage Center Program, a nationally accredited Child Advocacy Center serving child victims of crime and their family members.
Monarch is run by an executive board comprised of members of the District Attorney’s Office, Detective Bill Hernandez of the Napa Police Department, Kerry Ahearn Executive Director of Aldea Children and Family Services, Tracy Lamb of NEWS, Joe Cherry of Comprehensive Services for Older Adults and Katy Mendenhall, community member.
Congressman Mike Thompson attended the grand opening and congratulated the executive team for their commitment to a vision of better service provision – a commitment that has withstood a pandemic, fires, and years of relationship and trust-building.
“Monarch’s design is intentionally rooted in compassion and dignity for our community members,” District Attorney Allison Haley told a gathering of well-wishers, “It is designed to treat people well. We recognized that access to compassionate service was unequal, inequitable, and burdensome. We aimed to gently transform an overly complex and inconvenient system all while honoring the dignity of our community members.”
Pandemic leads to creation of Napa’s own 'Court TV'
A year ago, appearing remotely for a Napa court case was a rarity. In some civil cases, parties could call in by phone. For criminal cases, remote appearance options were even more restricted.
Today, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s completely changed.
To reduce the number of people in county courtrooms, Zoom access has been added to every Napa courtroom, enabling those involved in cases to appear remotely, whether one or 1,000 miles away.
It also led to something else.
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Anyone with a smartphone or laptop can now log in via Zoom and watch real court proceedings in real time. Think of it as Napa’s own version of “Court TV.”
“The challenges of the pandemic were unprecedented,” said Bob Fleshman, CEO of the Superior Court of Napa County. “It came down to access to justice,” he said. “If we didn’t pivot to a digital environment with remote capabilities, we wouldn’t be able to serve the community.”
“I think it’s gone well, overall,” Fleshman said of adding Zoom/remote access to Napa courts.
Napa County Superior Court Judge Scott Young was an early user of Zoom in his courtroom.
“I was really excited for an opportunity to use technology to serve the public and a new way to deal with disputes while keeping the pubic safe and not spreading the virus,” said Young.
In fact, remote video access could remain part of the new normal of the court in post- pandemic times, said Young.
An unintended benefit of the pandemic is that the court system can now provide greater access to those who might have had more of a challenge making an appearance.
Zooming in Napa courtrooms
All nine Napa County courtrooms now have public links to provide Zoom access.
Dozens of cases a day are typically processed in those courtrooms. There are drug, custody, assault, theft, small claims cases, civil lawsuits, family cases and more.
Staffers including bailiffs, judges and court reporters remain on site. Many attorneys seem to be appearing from their offices or homes, but others are in court in person.
Each case is still “called” like normal. The judge begins asking the defendant if they are OK with appearing by Zoom (if they aren’t specifically required to appear in person). Once that is confirmed, the case begins as usual.
Those appearing via Zoom are asked to act as if they were appearing in person, and respect all those present. They are asked to be conscious of what appears in their background as it can be distracting to others. Mute your microphone when not talking, the court requests.
As many as a dozen criminal justice “partners” such as probation officials, the district attorney or public defenders may be on Zoom at the same time. When it comes to more complicated cases, or when a series of defendants are waiting their turn for their case to be heard, that number can reach more than 20.
Anyone can log in, but if asked they must identify themselves. Recording court proceedings without permission is not allowed.
“You can’t enforce it,” admitted Fleshman. To date, “we haven’t had to deal with it yet where someone has illegally recorded” or published such images. “But don’t break the law,” he cautioned.
COVID-19 or not, court proceedings have always been open to the public. Some people make a hobby of watching or observing court cases.
However, “we do not encourage the use of Zoom for passive observance of court hearings,” said Fleshman.
If too many “lookie-loos” try to watch on Zoom at once, “it would muddle the experience for those actually appearing in court remotely, not to mention the ‘crowd management’ challenges that would fall to the courtroom clerk who is documenting official court actions in each case.”
“This is why we haven’t marketed Zoom for mass consumption,” he said. Instead, the court prefers that spectators listen via audio, not via Zoom.
A glimpse into Napans’ lives
Watching court hearings via Zoom provides an unexpected and personal glimpse into the lives of those involved.
Defendants are seen logging into Zoom from inside vehicles, on couches, front porches, at kitchen tables, conference rooms, jail, Napa State Hospital and even hospital beds.
They sip from coffee cups and soda cans. They pet dogs or talk to someone off-camera. Some forget to mute their microphones. Some can’t figure out how to turn on their microphones. Some don’t show up.
Each is like a chapter in a story.
A mother asks for more child support to pay her son’s daycare provider. The boy’s father is told he has two weeks to get a job, any job.
A woman’s attorney claims she was not speeding down Lincoln Avenue this past November; the officer’s radar gun might not have been working correctly. The judge disagrees. She is ordered to pay a hefty fine and attend traffic school.
A recently arrested man asks for his bail to be lowered. A judge does not agree. The man will remain in Napa’s jail.
A drug court participant happily reports his successful progress. Supporters seated around him applaud.
A couple wants a caterer to return their down payment from a wedding dinner that didn’t happen as planned. The caterer disagrees. Plus, he doesn’t have the money.
A man claims he takes cannabis for back pain. The judge asks him to submit a doctor’s note.
When asked, a judge gives a defendant who has a young son about to celebrate a birthday a few extra days to turn herself into jail.
Another defendant doesn’t appear when his name is called. After waiting to make sure he’s not on Zoom, a bench warrant is issued for his arrest.
A resident of Napa State Hospital cries while the attorneys and the judge talk. She’s distraught.
Some defendants talk when they’re not supposed to. Others listen quietly and only give minimum answers.
Others look confused and don’t seem to understand the legalese being tossed around. Judges and attorneys pause to clarify.
Some defendants explain their circumstances and positions succinctly. Others ramble or aren’t able to respond effectively. Those Zooming from hospital beds look particularly vulnerable.
Judge Young said he is mindful that the people who come into the courtroom or criminal justice system are going through significant life experiences.
That includes victims who want their story to be heard, witnesses who may be scared to be testifying in court, and even the accused who oftentimes might have mental health, addiction or other significant issues, said Young.
For victims who need access to a computer to log into Zoom, a workstation is available at the Family Justice Center within the Aldea Children & Family Service building in downtown Napa.
Yuen Y. Chiang, victim services manager with the Napa County District Attorney’s Office, said being able to testify or participate in court via Zoom is particularly beneficial for victims.
“A lot of people are afraid to go to court” for a variety of reasons, she said, including immigration status or fear of retaliation.
Most feel much more comfortable appearing remotely than in person, she said. Appearing via Zoom is much more convenient for those with less flexible work schedules or child care needs, Chiang added.
The ability to appear remotely via Zoom “has taken out a lot of the anxiety,” of testifying, said Chiang. “It’s just more private.”