The Proust Q&A: Eileen Crane

22nd November, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Eileen Crane is the CEO and chief winemaker of Domaine Carneros, considered the jewel in Napa’s sparkling crown. Crane has worked at the Taittinger-owned estate for 25 years, where she makes a number of different still and sparkling wines, including prestige cuvée Le Rêve. She lives in the Napa Valley with her husband.

1: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sitting outside on the deck as the sun sets on a Friday night with a bottle of bubbles by my side.

2: What is your greatest fear?

The moment when I have to blend Le Rêve every year. As it only happens once a year, when the moment comes around, there’s always that fear that you won’t be able to do it again.

3: Which living person do you most admire?

Margaret Thatcher – not because I agreed with her beliefs but because she stuck to her beliefs.

4: What is your greatest extravagance?

Two hot fudge sundaes on my birthday.

5: What is your current state of mind?

Relief that Obama has been re-elected.

6: What is the quality you most like in a man?

Compassion and the ability to cook well.

7: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband.

8: When and where were you happiest?

In the early ’90s I was asked to lecture on wine on a cruise ship that travelled from Monte Carlo to Istanbul. The boat was filled with food, wine and art lovers, and we talked late into the night, hopping off all over the place and having dinner on cliff edges as the sun set. It was magical.

9: Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to sing beautifully.

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

I’d like to be able to give up my addiction to sweets and stop obsessing about things.

11: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating and maintaining Le Rêve.

12: Where would you most like to live?

Right where I am in Napa Valley.

13: What is your most treasured possession?

A Japanese scroll my late parents gave me with an illustration that looks like the drive up to Mendocino. I have it displayed in my front room.

14: What is your most marked characteristic?


15: Who are your favorite writers?

Jane Austen and Margaret Frazer – I love a good mystery.

16: Who is your hero of fiction?

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

17: What is it that you most dislike?

People who posture over wine. I can’t stand wine bores.

18: What is your greatest regret?

That I was not as kind as I could have been early on in life.

19: What is your motto?

The famous Will Rogers quote: “Even if you’re on the right track, if you’re just sitting there you’ll get run over.”

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

I’d like to mix it up with characters from history, so I’d have Thomas Jefferson, Jane Austen. Ghandi, Mao Zedong, Genghis Khan and Noah. I’d begin with Le Rêve 2006 to show them Napa can make sparklers as good as Champagne, then we’d move on to the famous 1787 Lafite that purportedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson who could authenticate it. We’d then try one of Noah’s wines, as he was said to be the first person on earth to make wine, and we’d end with a bottle of Champagne from the 1850s. Conversation would definitely be flowing by then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation McKinley
London, UK

Experienced Sales Account Manager – On Trade

Cantina Goccia
London and the south, UK

National Sales Manager – Premium Drinks

Core Recruitment
London based with national travel

Wine Trainee

Stone, Vine & Sun
Twyford, near Winchester, Hampshire

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more