Wine Convention


Peter Franus

Peter Franus grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, then headed west to the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a degree in journalism. His increasing passion for wine led him to enroll in the viticulture and enology program at Cal State Fresno in 1978. He arrived in Napa Valley in early 1980, becoming the winemaker at Mount Veeder Winery in 1981. There he remained until the end of 1992 when he left to devote all of his attention to Peter Franus wine.

Mount Veeder’s Zinfandel was the inspiration for his first wine - a Zinfandel of course - that he produced under the Franus label in 1987. Over the years he added other varietals to his portfolio. Today he produces only single-vineyard wines from what he considers three of the best vineyards in the region.

Since 1991 he has produced Zinfandel from the acclaimed Brandlin Vineyard on Mount Veeder. These magnificent dry-farmed wines are over 90-years old. The field blend is roughly 90% Zinfandel, and 10% Mourvèdre, Charbono, and Carignane - an atypical Zinfandel with layers of complexity. It has rightfully earned the title of his “flagship wine.”

In 2016 he came full circle to his earliest winemaking roots with his first Cabernet Sauvignon from Brandlin Vineyard. This initial release met with rave reviews, confirming that Brandlin is one of the great properties in Napa Valley for both Zinfandel and Cabernet.

Stewart Vineyard is in Carneros, Napa’s cooler, southern section, and that’s his source for Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot. It is a unique site, impacted by a degree of saltwater intrusion that has a magical impact on the vineyard. He has worked with this vineyard for over 20 years.

Lake County lies just north of Napa Valley, and in that region there’s a unique sub-appellation called Red Hills. The Fore Family Vineyard there is 3,000 feet up on Cobb Mountain. The setting is spectacular as is the quality of fruit emerging from this newer appellation. This is the source for his Red Hills Mourvèdre.

As a winemaker, Peter’s greatest satisfaction comes when he sees a smile and hears the simple comment, “This is delicious.” Wine for him is a sensual experience, and his goal is to provide as much pleasure as he can. He believes that all the great wines he has enjoyed have a few features in common —richness, complexity, harmony, balance, and a certain elusiveness. They invite you to come back and discover something new with each taste. Intuition, a non-interventionist attitude, and respect for tradition guide his winemaking decisions.

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