I visited with the author by phone and was fascinated to hear him tell his story. It’s such a fascinating read I told him if he had submitted it as a novel no one would have published it because it is simply unbelievable. He replied “It should have been a novel. It would be easier to sell! It’s been a very lucky journey. Very lucky that I survived and that I had all these interesting things to do.”
Sichel is a 4th generation wine merchant. His great-grandfather started in the wine business in 1857. He grew up in a family immersed in wine as both growers and salesmen. His daughter Bettina has Laurel Glen winery in the Sonoma Hills and he has six cousins who grow and sell wine in Bordeaux.
After the war, he said he couldn’t imagine working in the family wine business with an older generation whose ideas were “not my ideas.” He left his money in the business and spent 17 years in the CIA, finally as chief of the Hong Kong bureau. The book has several historical photos and documents, among them a letter from then CIA director Allen Dulles following his resignation. The two remained friends.
The Secrets of My Life is an absolute page-turner and I highly recommend it.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.