Sir Peter Michael

Richard Boll
Sir Peter Michael

Born and raised in damp London, Peter Michael fell in love with sunny California in the 1960s. But though Michael made his fortune as a tech entrepreneur, founding the successful firm Quantel, he pronounced Silicon Valley a home of "lunatics" and looked for a country retreat. He settled in Sonoma's Knights Valley, buying an old ranch and 600 acres on the slopes of Mt. St. Helena in 1982.

From a family of wine lovers, Michael embraced the business. Few were growing grapes in Knights Valley then, and those who were did so on the valley floor, but the Englishman planted his Cabernet and Chardonnay on steep slopes. Within a decade his wines were rivaling some of the best in the world, putting his appellation on the map. He has since expanded to the Sonoma Coast and to Oakville in Napa Valley. With the help of a series of talented winemakers, Michael has succeeded with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. He earned Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award in 2014.

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