About the Owner
Jennifer Arant, Winemaker, Owner & Founder, Lions Peak Inc.
Jennifer Soni Arant first saw Lions Peak Vineyards on Valentine’s Day 1991. It was love at first sight; however, quite a different lifestyle from the fast pace LA design world, which was her lifelong career. Paso Robles Bordeaux reds were not known and purchasing a vineyard, farming, and starting a wine business were a life-changing event for her. Being a Texan and having grown up in a family of farmers, Jenn knew the challenges of farming. As Owner of Lions Peak Vineyards and Winery, Jennifer oversees the winemaking, brand development, sales and marketing, the website, newsletter, and the Lions Peak Tasting Room in Solvang. Continuing education at UC Davis and Cal Poly, and her latest achievement of becoming a Certified Sommelier have taken her further on her journey; however, Jennifer would be the first to tell you that the hands-on experience is responsible for the success of Lions Peak. It is a passion for the love of nature and the creative process of making and producing Lions Peak wines that caused her to give up her lifetime career in interior design and set off on a new venture. “Sometimes you wear a lot of different hats, and sometimes you’re just down and dirty. She had to be willing to do what it takes. Its perseverance, creativity, and loving the adventure of the Wild, Wild, West. Her compassion for her fellow man brings her journey of one of giving back to a new world of peace and sustainability.
THE ART OF CREATIVITY
Arant entered the world of wine through the back door. She said, “As a child, growing up in a farming town in West Texas, there wasn’t much to do except watch old Hollywood movies, dance, listen to classical music and the top 40, and dream of being in California.”
Her dreams as a young child led her to a career in which her imagination and creativity flourished, the world of interior design. The world where you could close your eyes and picture all the beauty of the arts, and then you could create it. And, thus the story begins to unfold, from the West Texas farmland to the cosmopolitan city of Dallas, where as a young girl her family would take her to see the splendor of the early days of Neiman-Marcus.
Jennifer became educated in the school of design and architecture at the University of Texas in Denton, and she started her first career as a professional residential and model home designer in Dallas, Texas. Intuitively she knew that this was just the beginning of her dreams. Arant knew that her destiny was to head west, and therefore, she made a decision that was life-changing. Arant rented her home in Dallas, packed up her prized 3×5 Persian rug, oriental lamp, clothes, and headed to LA in her French Peugeot to take a position as a Senior Designer with one of the most prestigious design house in Southern California and never looked back. Jennifer has created a portfolio of award-winning wines of unusual depth, range, and character.
A PASSION FOR FINE WINE AND NATURE
Since 1991 she has lived on the vineyard and has experienced the beginning of each vintage and the excitement of harvest. As a meditator for over thirty years, Jennifer understands the communion with nature and feels blessed to have enriched the lives of many through the wines that she has made and the knowledge that she shares with everyone no matter what their experience is. When asked about her wine, she states that it is a gift and believes that it is to be shared.
Jennifer has traveled many of the great wine regions of the world, and she was mentored by Robert Lawrence Balzer. She has often stated that it was her connection with Robert Balzer, the wine critic for the LA Times for 35 years that changed the pathway of her life. With Balzer recognizing her palette, Jennifer became a guest speaker at his Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer blind wine tastings in LA, California. She traveled with Balzer to France where she tasted some of the most noteworthy wines in the world. This was just the beginning of her travels and wine education and recognition for wines that she produced. She is certified by The Spanish Wine Academy and a Sommelier. She has been invited to judge in the OC Wine Competition. Local organizations include SBV and Paso Robles Wine Association and had been the owner of an international wine shop. Other than her wine background, Jennifer went to Baylor University and finished her BA Degree at the University of Texas at Denton, Texas with a Major in Art/ Interior Design and holds an MA in Art/ English and Education at Tarleton University. She has been published in Texas Homes for her work on Theta Designer show houses in Dallas, Texas, and she has received numerous awards for model home and residential design. She has also been a member of the 500 Club and Symphony Guild. Jennifer has also been a member and officer of the American Association of University Women, North County Symphony League, Sisters of the Vine, and is recognized in Who’s Who in Interior Design and Who’s Who Women in Business. An active member of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, a TM meditator, and member of the Vedanta Society, a supporter of nonprofit organizations, and an activist for women’s rights.
Her experience has also included hosting a Central Coast California radio talk show where she talks about wine and wine education. Her travels and diversity in wine education was the impetus for her Global Boutique Wine Shop and becoming a Certified Sommelier. Jennifer has been the creator of the Lions Peak brand and the visionary behind the diversity of the wines which Lions Peak has been producing since their 1994 Vintage. Currently, her new adventure is seeing that Lions Peak has its own winery on the Estate. This project is in the planning stages and the plan is to convert the historical barn to a winery. Tasters and guests will have the complete wine experience. From the terroir to the vines to the wine and then the bottle, Jennifer plan is to share this experience with our family of friends.