The Proust Questionnaire: Michel Chapoutier

Quixotic and outspoken, biodynamic trailblazer Michel Chapoutier owns and runs Maison M. Chapoutier in Tain-l’Hermitage in the Rhône. He lives on a small farm near the estate with his wife Corinne, where he raises livestock and poultry. He has two children: Maxime and Mathilde.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

When happiness is considered as a consequence of a philosophy of life and not like a goal.

What is your greatest fear? 

Fundamentalism and extremism.

Who do you most admire?

My neighbour.

What is your greatest extravagance?

To let derision live everywhere and at all times, even in death.

What is your current state of mind? 

Optimistic and positive.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

A blend of humour, sensuality and spirituality.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

You have the right to not agree only if you have the courage and honesty to say it.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Love itself.

When and where were you happiest?

At the birth of my children and when I discovered the deepness of the soul.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to see the good in people and ignore their defects, that way you can love everybody and never be polluted by angriness.

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

I’d like to be more patient and less demanding.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

It’s yet to come: I’m working on integrating a farming school for mentally handicapped people into my estate.

Where would you most like to live?

On a farm high up in the mountains.

What is your most treasured possession?

My hopes and dreams.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My demanding nature.

Who are your favorite writers?

Rudolf Steiner, Khalil Gibran and François Rabelais.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Don Quixote.

What is it that you most dislike?

Condescending people with a superiority complex.

What is your greatest regret?

To have wasted too much time before understanding the importance of spirituality.

What is your motto?

Fac et spera – do and hope.

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

I’d invite six Jewish men who marked the history of humanity: Abraham (everything is God), Moses (everything is law), Jesus ( everything is love), Karl Marx (everything is money), Sigmund Freud (everything is sex) and Albert Einstein (everything is relative). On pour would be Bollinger 1964, Chapoutier Ermitage de l’Oree Blanc 2011 and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux 1999.

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