Sir Peter Michael – is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by bent. As founder of Micro Consultants’ Group and UEI plc, he was a driving force behind a group of high tech companies including Cosworth Engineering and Quantel, the digital special effects company for television and film production. The graphic-arts tool, Paintbox, was just one of several commercial applications his company introduced in its 20 years of operation. From 1989 to 1992, Sir Peter served as CEO of Cray UK, overseeing a turnaround of this legendary technology company. In 1992, Sir Peter founded Classic FM, the UK’s first national commercial radio station with an audience of 6 million listeners. Sir Peter was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1989 in recognition of the prosperity spawned by his work.
As a frequent visitor to the San Francisco Peninsula, Sir Peter developed a fondness for Northern California and its wines. This, in turn, led to a six year search for the property for a wine estate and family retreat culminating in the purchase of a stunning piece of property in the Knights Valley region of Calistoga on the side of Mt. St. Helena. In 1983, Sir Peter and his wife Lady Michael, or Pete and Maggie as they are known to their friends, launched the Peter Michael Winery.
The winery, which produced its first vintage in 1987, reflects the Michael’s farming heart. “Of the many businesses I have founded, this is the only one that carries my family name”, says Peter. “I hope it will remain as a legacy for generations to come.”
Lady Michael – is the woman behind Sir Peter and not particularly retiring at that! With a keen interest in farming, animals and the family, although not necessarily in that order, she has been deeply involved in the ‘Peter Michael Winery’ project from the very beginning more than 25 years ago. She says that the whole idea of a California project came as rather a surprise to her but, having once become accustomed to the idea, she embraced it fully. Her experience as a farmer, for she farms 1000 acres in Berkshire, UK with arable cereals and a pedigree South Devon Red breeding herd, has enabled her to take great interest in the vineyards. They have developed year by year and perhaps she appreciates the work that goes into the earth more than any other member of the Michael family.
“Lady M”, as she is universally known, loves and is very proud of her young family that now includes three grandchildren. She is also proud of the terroir and classic winery architecture where she has created the wonderful ambience and décor most notably seen by visitors in the winery’s ‘Calvin Holmes Suite.’