Paul Michael – Paul recalls the first time he set foot on the land that was to become the Peter Michael Winery: “I was a teenager on summer vacation in 1982, and my father took us all up the valley and into the sticks to see this beautiful spot on the mountainside. Standing there surveying the scene, he told my brother and I that we were going to plant some vines. By ‘we’ he meant, my brother and I. Sure enough, the following April we found ourselves on that rocky, hot, steep but extraordinarily beautiful hillside above Knights Valley planting the first 16 acres of vines that were to become Les Pavots. I had just turned 18 years old, and the winery has been part of all of my adult life.”
Today, Paul, along with his wife, Emily, oversees the winery and the family holdings, which includes hotel and farm holdings and a portfolio of early-stage and growth-company investments. Paul graduated from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in 1990 and spent his early career in the hotel and restaurant business, living in London, Zurich, Lausanne, Paris and Dubai, before completing his MBA at Ashridge Management College in 1994 and joining the family business.
Paul was also the executive producer of the preschool educational television series Tiny Planets (Pequeños Planetas in Spanish speaking territories), in co-production with Sesame Workshop. Critically acclaimed for its educational and early computer-generated animation, Tiny Planets earned two BAFTA awards (British Academy for Film and Television Arts) and was broadcast in over 100 territories.
Emily Michael – Emily’s first visit to the Peter Michael Winery was in 1996, when she and Paul were newly engaged. “We’d been engaged a week, and I was still speechless, I think, from that, and then speechless at the property. It was just so breathtakingly beautiful.” Six years later, she found herself without words once again, when at Sir Peter and Lady Michael’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration, Sir Peter dedicated the latest chardonnay to Emily, naming it Ma Belle-Fille (French for my daughter-in-law). Inspired by the vineyard at the winery’s highest elevation where the vines for the chardonnay grow and the fog rolls off the morning hills to open up to the first sunlight, the dedication was both a celebration of Emily joining the family and Sir Peter and Emily’s shared connection to the extraordinary land.
After growing up in Wiltshire, in South West England, Emily moved to London where her work in the advertising industry and a diploma from Le Cordon Bleu laid the foundation for a successful career in event management, producing numerous music festivals and charitable events, including concerts on behalf of Diana, Princess of Wales, AIDS awareness and leukemia.
Today this accomplished background serves Emily well in her role overseeing the winery’s brand marketing, interior and landscape design. Additionally, Emily currently oversees guest-experience operations at the award-winning Vineyard Hotel in West Berkshire. A Relais & Châteaux hotel and spa, the Vineyard is an iconic destination that marries world-class cuisine, award-winning wines and luxurious accommodations. Additionally, Emily holds a seat on the advisory board of the Michael family’s hotels and serves as an ambassador for the Peter Michael Foundation. The Foundation contributes significantly to prostate cancer patient care and the identification, treatment and management of the disease.
From the earliest days, the winery, ranch and surrounding land has become a cherished home away from home for Emily, Paul and their three children, and it continues to be the backdrop for some of their most treasured memories.