The Proust Questionnaire: Brent Marris

Former chief winemaker of Wither Hills, Brent Marris runs Marisco Vineyards in Marlborough where he makes The Ned range, named after the mountain he used to cycle up as a child.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Fishing with my wife and four daughters – normally at least one is available.

What is your greatest fear?

That I may not live to see all my dreams come to fruition.

Which living person do you most admire?

Sir Graham Henry. Under huge personal pressure he coached the New Zealand All Blacks to victory in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Building my dream winery during a recession.

What is your current state of mind?

Energised, excited, buoyant and upbeat – the worth of my extravagance is finally proving itself.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

The latest one going.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, Rosemary.

When and where were you happiest?

Anytime I’m at my river hut on our vineyard sharing wine with friends and family.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to be the best clay pigeon shooter in the world.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m starting to notice the consequences of the pace of my life. Lord give me more energy!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating two international wine companies and wineries from scratch.

Where would you most like to live?

At our recently finished beach house on Waiheke Island, spending my days fishing, relaxing and entertaining.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Maserati Quattroporte, which I had custom made in the colours of The Ned brand – black with red stitching.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My passion, enthusiasm and attention to detail.

Who are your favourite writers?

Ken Follet, in particular his book Pillars Of The Earth – an epic and inspirational story.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Bart Simpson – he often gets into trouble and always manages to talk or act his way out of it.

What is it that you most dislike?

Raw celery – why did God make this vegetable?

What is your greatest regret?

Not taking my family to France after I sold Wither Hills.

What is your motto?

Celebrate success.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them? 

In 1988 I travelled to France for four weeks as a young winemaker. I had memorable meals with the winemakers of Joseph Drouhin, Château Coutet, Hugel, Guigal, Chapoutier and Château Margaux. I’d like to dine with those winemakers again, sharing the wines that inspired me alongside the wines I’m making now.

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