About Peter F May
T hanks for visiting my site. I have been a wine enthusiast for many years. My first love was the red wines of Bordeaux, but I soon discovered there is wide variety available throughout the world. I take every opportunity to taste unusual wines and I am intrigued and amused by the weird names and strange labels given to some wines. This site lets me share some of them in the hope you get the same enjoyment from them that I do.
I enjoy travelling and am lucky to have been able to travel widely both for pleasure and business. I lived for periods in both United States and Sweden. I have extensively toured the vineyards and wineries of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, Temecula Valley, Texas Hill Country, Canada's Niagara Peninsula, New York's Finger Lakes and South Africa's Cape. I have visited vineyards and wineries in several other US states and in England where I live.
As my interest in wine grew I decided to study it formally. The local catering college held evening classes for restaurant staff to study for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses and the public could book on these. These courses are the foothills that can lead all the way to the Master of Wine qualification. But in those days only the first two courses were open to the public. I gained the WSET Certificate and the WSET Higher Certificate with Honours. But was unable to sit the Diploma classes.
My favourite wines are red. Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone, California Zinfandel, South African Pinotage, Chilean Merlot, Argentinian Malbec and Australian Shiraz. I love Champagne, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Greek Retsina. In the past few years I have been most impressed with the quality of wines from Greece, especially those made from local varieties. And English wine, although taxed to the hilt by an unappreciative government, is excellent and I believe its sparkling wines will be one of the surprises of the new century.
I came to realise there were many enjoyable wines being made from grape varieties they never mentioned when I was learning about wine. And the more I looked, the more I found. And while I was looking I also found outrageous and amusing labels. So this site came into being as a place where I could share my enjoyment of the labels.
I don't just collect labels. I was instrumental in naming a wine. In 2001 I proposed the name 'classic' for a new bordeaux style blend made by Lanzerac Winery. The wine, named Lanzerac Classic is now on sale.
In 2003 I passed as an lecturer for The Cape Wine Academy, which is South Africa's official wine education body, and in February 2004 I was awarded Hononary membership of the producers Pinotage Association. In May 2004 I was an Associate Judge at the 2004 International Wine Challenge in London and in September 2004 I judged at The South Africa National Wine Show 'Veritas' competition in Paarl and at the ABSA/Pinotage Association 'Top 10' Pinotage Competition. In 2005 I again judged at the ABSA/Pinotage Association 'Top 10' Pinotage Competition and was on the WINE magazine Sauvignon Blanc tasting panel; the results were published in the November 2005 issue.
In 2005 was commissioned to write a book on wine labels by Quirk Books of Philadelphia, and Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape - Odd Wines from around the World" was published world wide in 2006.
My other interests include history and pre-history, language and the meaning and derivation of words, writing, reading and listening to the music of Michael Nyman, The Stranglers and Beethoven. Also creating web-sites (this one and some others) - it's all done by hand using Notepad. I was a GeoCities Community Leader and you'll likely to find me at the UK Wine Forum, WLDG or Stratsplace, or in person at a wine tasting. I am members of The Verulam Wine Tasting Club (and past Chairman), The Welywn Wine Society and the Central London Wine Society and I am a member of The Circle of Wine Writers.
Thanks again for visiting. Do send me any interesting labels you come across, and if you email me I promise to reply.
My articles on wine, labels and wine travel have been published by several magazines in United States, South Africa and Rumania. I write a column for the New Zealand wine website www.wineoftheweek.com, am a writer for the South African wine site www.wine.co.za .
Peter F May
U n u s u a l
14 October 2007