The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy
Peter M. F. Sichel
How many of you are old enough to remember Blue Nun wine? Blue Nun was wildly popular during years 1950 to 1980. It was a semi-sweet German wine that took the U.S. by storm. It was by many standards the first hugely successful wine promotion in the U.S. This was with the help of Peter Sichel.
I just finished this thoroughly enjoyable book. “The Secrets of My Life” would certainly be an interesting read for not only wine enthusiasts but anyone who enjoys learning more about life during WWII. We recommend adding this title to your summer wine reading list. Peter Sichel’s most interesting autobiography begins with his life as a Jewish child growing up in what would soon become Nazi Germany. Born in 1922, he was the 4th generation in a very successful family of wine merchants. He was sent to England for his education and moved to France in 1939. After being imprisoned and then released, he fled Europe and settled in the United States in 1941.
After joining the Army, he became a member of the U. S. Office of Strategic Services. He eventually became a senior official in the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1940s and 1950s. This book highlights Sichel’s incredible resilience in dealing with his family’s dilemmas, his disrupted childhood and his career with the OSS and the CIA.
The last third of the book covers Sichel’s return to Europe in 1959 and his role in his family’s wine business. The business at that time was mainly bottling Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhone wines under the Sichel label. He learned the business very quickly and became a wine personality on his own. He wrote “Which Wine,” a consumer guide to wines available in the U.S., and was a guest on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.” The family’s success with their Blue Nun wines enabled Sichel to become involved in the International Wine Community. Sichel looks back on each chapter of his incredible life and thinks fondly of where he has been and the legacy he has left, saying, “I was fortunate to have three unique experiences that shaped my life so dramatically.”
Purchase the book from Amazon or find it at your library. Maybe you can find some Blue Nun and enjoy a glass while reading this fascinating autobiography.