Viking in the Vineyard
Stories from a Revolutionary Winemaker
A Danish aristocrat turned roving winemaker who on escaping his studies at the Sorbonne one summer found himself on Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, suddenly besotted. Peter’s first foray into wine took him to the Cape (via a quick turn parachuting into the war-zone in Vietnam), where he learned vineyard ways and wine science. Next came a dazzling decade in Bordeaux, where his pioneering exploits began to catch the world’s attention. He then ventured to Bulgaria, Brazil, Spain, Chile and Hungary earning himself the title ‘Flying Winemaker’ (he was one of the first!). Along his wine journey, Peter has frequently had to call on his Viking ancestors for help – not least in taming his ‘Montecarrubo’ vineyards on the wilder side of Sicily – but whether by accident or by design (mostly the latter), he has always found himself at the forefront of vinous discovery…
- Peter recognizes the potential for oak barrels in the maturation of Bordeaux’ fine white wines (1979)
- …and is the first to advocate the grippy aromatic Sauvignon Gris grape as a blend partner (1980s)
- From rotten eggs to rave reviews: Peter discovers the use of dry ice (carbon dioxide in solid
form) as a means of chasing-out sulphur contaminants in wine (1983)
- The yeast revelation: Peter’s conviction that each vineyard has its own unique ‘wild’ yeast earns him worldwide praise and recognition as a maker of fine wines (1985–)
- Peter establishes one of the first vineyards in Spain’s prestigious Ribera del Duero region (1989)
- Peter restores to the world the classic vineyards of Tokaj, lost in the chaos of the communist era (1990s)
- Flying winemaker: Peter is one of the first (alongside Miguel Torres) to establish hillside vineyards in Chile’s Maule region (1990–93)
- Peter leads the way in establishing modern winemaking facilities in Brazil and Bulgaria, bringing these wines up to export quality (1990s)
- Includes tributes to Peter from wine luminaries Anthony Barton (of Château Léoville-Barton), Adam Brett-Smith (Corney & Barrow), Jean-Michel Cazes (Château Lych-Bages), Johnny Goedhuis, Hugh Johnson, Tony Laithwaite, Peter Sisseck (Pingus), Eben Sadie and Miguel Torres
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