During an earlier sojourn in Los Angeles, fate intertwined his journey with that of Herta Behensky, HB—the woman who would become his beloved wife. HB, hailing from Austria, had embarked on her own adventure, traversing continents and overcoming unforeseen obstacles which had shaped her own remarkable story.
Having spent her formative years in South America, HB embraced the vibrant culture that surrounded her, and also mastered the Spanish language. With aspirations of pursuing a medical education in Italy, her dreams were abruptly halted when a fire reduced her school transcripts to ashes, rendering acceptance into European colleges impossible. Undeterred, she found solace and purpose as an apprentice in a photo studio, where destiny guided her toward Antony’s path.
The couple’s entrepreneurial spirits ignited a shared vision as they embarked on their first joint venture—a chain of floral shops, followed by a nursery. The allure of life beyond the bustling city drew them to the Napa Valley in 1982. Armed with determination and a Ford Mustang as their down payment, they acquired 30 acres of land, replete with a charming 1900-era house and sprawling vineyards bearing witness to decades of winemaking history.
In 1982, the couple crafted their inaugural vintage in the humble confines of their garage. With just one employee diligently juggling multiple hats, their dream began to take shape. A decade later, in 1992, that destiny presented itself in the form of a resplendent stained glass window, acquired by Tony at an auction. A magnificent masterpiece once adorning the walls of a New York City mansion (circa 1902), it held within it a promise—a symbol of grandeur that whispered of future possibilities to the determined couple.
Though financial constraints threatened their ability to bring this exquisite treasure home, Tony remained steadfast in his unwavering commitment to the symbolic piece. HB reminisced, recounting the days of hardship, “We were broke. We couldn’t afford it. But Tony believed we would one day have an equally magnificent tasting room in which to display it.” And so, the window slumbered in storage, gathering dust as the years unfurled.
But the tale did not end there. The tides of fate shifted, and Peju Winery burgeoned into a resounding success. The seeds they had sown blossomed into fairytale-like structures, evoking a sense of wonder on their estate. Finally, the time arrived when the magnificent stained glass window claimed its rightful place as the centerpiece of the majestic tasting room, where dreams alighted upon the threads of reality.
When I had the privilege of visiting Peju Winery with my dear friend Jack Canfield and fellow members of the Transformation Leadership Council, HB herself shared this remarkable tale. Filled with awe and excitement, I tugged at Jack’s sleeve, urging him to witness the magic unfurl before our eyes. Together, we stood in that enchanted space, where dreams once whispered in the depths of uncertainty had come to life.
This story echoes a resounding message—a call to dream audacious dreams, even in the face of uncertainty. External evidence may be scarce, but the power of belief can manifest miracles beyond imagination. For within the depths of our dreams lie the seeds of possibility.
All images courtesy of Peju Winery: https://www.peju.com/