Some recognize him as the creator of Blue Nun, one of the first international wine brands. Others know him best for his influence and time in the CIA. To Peter Sichel, he’s just an ordinary American who wants to share his life story and maybe enjoy a little vino while he’s at it.
In his new book, “The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy”, Sichel takes the reader on a journey from his childhood as a Jew in Nazi Germany to France, where he escaped imprisonment to live in the United States where he immediately joined the military during World War II. He even shares stories from his time as an intelligence officer during the Cold War—which of course had to be cleared by the CIA. After a seemingly eventful early adulthood, he returned to the business he is most passionate about.
“I first worked in my family’s winery in Germany during the general strike in 1929, wrapping bottles,” Sichel said. “I was trained in cellar management in Bordeaux, filling barrels and fining wine. I would taste and blend wine during my short period as apprentice before the German Army came.”
After escaping to the United States, Sichel enlisted in the Army where he spent 17 years in the Office of Strategic Services and later the CIA, spending his last seven years as a senior official, even winning the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for his work with the organization. “The Secrets of My Life” touches on his critique of what America has done wrong in foreign policy and intelligence and advice for how we can improve in the years to come.
In 1960 he took over the wine business after leaving the CIA, working hard to grow Blue Nun. 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.”
About the Author:
Peter M. F. Sichel was educated in Germany and England and fled France in 1941 to end up in the United States. He spent seventeen years with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency in some of the top hot spots of the Cold War before joining his family wine business. Before publishing “The Secrets of My Life: Vintner, Prisoner, Soldier, Spy”, Sichel wrote a basic guide to wines on the American market in 1975 called, “Which Wine”. He currently resides in New York City with his wife, Stella.
Visit Peter Sichel for more information.