Peter Franus Description
Peter Franus, a distinguished figure in the Napa Valley wine scene, represents more than just a winemaker; he is a storyteller of the vine. His journey in the wine industry, spanning over three decades, showcases a profound connection with the terroirs of Napa, particularly the celebrated Mount Veeder region. A Connecticut native and a Berkeley alumnus, Franus’s path to winemaking was as organic as the vineyards he cherishes.
Franus’s roots can be traced back to Greenwich, Connecticut, where his initial interests diverged significantly from viticulture. It wasn’t until his time at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1960s, majoring in journalism, that he discovered his affinity for wine. This revelation was more than a mere fascination with flavors; it was an appreciation for the symbiotic relationship between nature and winemaking, and the intimate bonds formed within the wine community.
In 1978, Franus took a decisive step towards his passion by enrolling in Fresno State’s viticulture and enology program. This academic pursuit paved the way for his professional journey, starting at Mount Veeder Winery in 1981. His tenure there was marked by a deep appreciation for Zinfandel, which inspired the launch of his own label in 1987. By 1992, Franus had fully committed to his personal brand, leaving Mount Veeder Winery to focus on the Peter Franus brand.
Franus’s approach to winemaking is a blend of intuition, minimal intervention, and a respect for the vineyard’s natural characteristics. He believes in the integrity of the wine, arguing that over-manipulation strips it of its unique personality. His philosophy extends to his selective vineyard partnerships across Napa, each chosen for their distinct voices and the quality of fruit they yield, with Mount Veeder remaining a cornerstone.
Beyond his personal label, Franus is a sought-after consultant for various burgeoning wineries. His influence in the industry is underscored by his humility and the genuine connections he fosters. Residing in Napa and Sacramento with his wife, Deanne, Franus balances his winemaking artistry with his passion for running, often seen traversing the trails and streets in the early hours. His story is a testament to following one’s calling and the beautiful symphony that can result from a life well-lived in pursuit of passion.