The Proust Questionnaire: Randall Grahm
17th May, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
The original Rhône Ranger, Randall Grahm is the founder and owner of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, California. He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu and their nine-year-old daughter, Amélie.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A magnum of ’49 Comte de Vogüé Musigny and a corkscrew.
What is your greatest fear?
That it will be slightly corked.
Among wine writers, it has to be Andrew Jefford. More globally, the Dalai Lama.
What is your greatest extravagance?
A number of bottles of ’05 Burgundy that I purchased when I was feeling more flush. I’m glad that I did; they’re a great consolation in these most uncertain times.
What is your current state of mind?
Low to mid-level anxiety with occasional glimmerings of hope and sunny skies.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My daughter, Amélie.
When and where were you happiest?
When I lived in Bonny Doon on my estate vineyard and was able to futz around in aforesaid vineyard every day.
Which talent would you most like to have?
A green thumb.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be more present and observant, and more sensitive to the needs of others.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is yet to come: a sincere commitment to producing a “real” wine in the New World, i.e. a vin de terroir.
Where would you most like to live?
Right where I am.
What is your most treasured possession?
My 1972 Citroën DS-21, which is currently broken.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Intense curiosity about some things, great indifference to a lot of other things and an ability to think orthogonally.
Who are your favorite writers?
Vladamir Nabakov, Richard Powers, John Barth, Günther Grass, David Mitchell, Miguel Cervantes, David Foster Wallace and Henning Mankell, my guilty pleasure.
Who is your hero of fiction?
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
Selling my vineyard property in Bonny Doon after a serious infestation of Pierce’s Disease, and the sale of my potstill.
What is your motto?
Vini terrae faciles sunt.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?
German Existentialist Martin Heidegger (though I’d have to be careful not to mention the war), German American political theorist Hannah Arendt (I’d love to see the sparks fly), Albert Hofstadter (Heidgger’s translator and former professor of mine), French philosopher Jacques Derrida and Burgundian vintner Henri Jayer. If an older vintage of Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Auslese doesn’t revive them, nothing will.