Sir Peter & Lady Michael

“When I looked at the creek, looked at the mountain, listened to the noise of the birds, I thought this is the most extraordinary place on earth. But I couldn't have imagined just how well it would work and how lucky I was to have found it.” —Sir Peter Michael

Sir Peter’s education and interest in wine was nurtured at his father’s side in Bordeaux and Burgundy, but it was at the Fairmont Hotel in California, while enjoying a performance by Peggy Lee, where the inspiration for Peter Michael Winery was born.

The chardonnay that Sir Peter and his colleagues shared on that fateful evening in San Francisco—and which later won the Judgment of Paris in a competition against France’s very best wines—was like nothing he had ever tasted before. The experience not only shifted his European point of view about great wine, but it ignited a passion in him to create terroir-driven wines of unsurpassed quality, as rich and singular as the California land itself.

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Paul & Emily Michael

   

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.”

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.

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Nicolas Morlet - Winemaker

   

Wine has always been a way of life for Nicolas Morlet, as it is for his brother and predecessor at Peter Michael, Luc Morlet: both grew up working on the family domaine, Pierre Morlet & Fils, in Avenay-Val-d’Or, Champagne. Born in Epernay, France to a fifth generation wine-grower family, Nick and his brothers grew up spending all their free time from school working on the family estate. At 40 acres, it was small enough to be managed by the family alone most of the year, but large enough to require the efforts of all its members.

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Javier Aviña - Vineyard Manager

   

Born in Patzimaro de Aviña in the Mexican State of Michoacan, Javier has worked his entire life in agriculture. As a teenager, he began working with his brother on sugar beet and tomato farms in the Central Valley. When his brother decided to move north in 1977, Javier followed him to the Napa Valley. In 1981 Javier worked at Robert Mondavi Winery where a supervisor recognized his talent and helped develop it. His experience there, and later at Monticello Cellars, brought him to Peter Michael Winery in 1991 as vineyard manager.

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