NEW YORK - Sir Peter Michael, engineer and entrepreneur, has just celebrated 30 years since founding Peter Michael Winery in 1982, in Knights Valley, Sonoma - the winery is renowned for its world class Chardonnays and the Les Pavots Bordeaux blend, but also has just released three Pinot Noirs from their exciting new vineyards at Seaview on the Sonoma coast. Sir Peter was the driving force behind multiple technology companies including Quantel, creating digital special effects for television and film, but is probably best known as the founder of Classic FM in the UK, when many skeptics thought there would be absolutely no interest in classical music on the radio. Sir Peter's vision for the winery is "100 by 100" - 100% family ownership for at least 100 years. Together with his wife, Lady Michael, they set up the Peter Michael Foundation, which focuses on the identification, treatment and management of prostate cancer.


Where were you born?
Croydon, England. That was then a small town just south of London.

What was your best memory growing up?
The street parties at the end of World War II (I was seven years old).

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Brilliant, handsome and rich - I achieved one of these.

Where/what did you study?
Engineering at London University in the East End of London, which was very close to an English pub called the "Prospect at Whitby" that was the centre of gangland in John Buchan's The 39 Steps.

Any formal wine training?
None whatsoever, but I lived in a house with conspicuous consumption, as my father lived in France for much of his life.

Who was your mentor?
A series of patient men who eventually knocked the sharp edges off without killing my spirit.

How do you keep in shape?
By walking my wonderful black Labradors - Ziggy on Maggie's farm in England, and Tucker on the Ranch in California.

What are you reading now?
The Paris Wife a story of Earnest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, by Paula McLain

Wife/Husband/Lover?
My wife - recollecting what Baron Philippe de Rothschild said; "All my life I have loved wonderful wine and beautiful women, but at some stage you have to make up your mind".



 

Favorite place to vacation?
Island hopping on a sailing boat with good friends.

Favorite local hotel?
I cannot tell a lie - it is our family's 5 star hotel: The Vineyard at Stockcross, just to the west of London Heathrow.

Favorite local restaurant?
The Vineyard, of course.

Favorite restaurant in the world?
Some of the best restaurants in the world are in London: Wiltons and Clos Maggiore, or the very smart Kong in Paris.

Favorite wine/vintage from your winery?
2002 'Les Pavots' (99) - Ann Colgin's 'Tychson Hill' pipped it by one point.

Favorite wine/vintage that is not yours?
Chateau Margaux 1982 - I bought all the Grands Crus of '82 'En Primeur' and stocked "The Vineyard" cellars.

Disappointment?
Murray just failing to win Wimbledon this year.

Achievement?
Starting and chairing the UK radio station called Classic FM twenty years ago, that has changed the lives of many people in the UK for the better and become the most profitable UK radio station with 6 - 8 million listeners.

If you can choose your perfect last supper before leaving this world, what would it be, who would it be with and what would you drink with it?
With Leonardo da Vinci and would have to be multiple courses, in order to learn as much as might be learnt from this amazing man. It would be a series of never ending small tastes from Thomas Keller and friends to simply titillate the palate. I would sup a small glass of two wines with each course; one from France and one from California blind and then score the result as in 'The Judgement of Paris'.