The Proust Q&A: Veronique Sanders11th September, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Veronique Sanders is the general manager of Bordeaux grand cru classé estate Château Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Leognan. Her husband, Alexander van Beek, holds the same position at Château Giscours and Château du Tertre. She lives in Bordeaux with Alexander and their five-year-old son Adrien.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To live my dreams.
What is your greatest fear?
To lose what I love.
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
To have time for myself.
What is your current state of mind?
Happy and positive.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Courage and a sense of humour.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
When and where were you happiest?
When my son smiles.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Ubiquity – being able to be everywhere at once.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be more patient on the road to perfection.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When people sincerely thank us for the “smile of Haut-Bailly”
Where would you most like to live?
I really feel at home in Bordeaux. I was first attracted by the beauty of the city, then I became attached to its charm, and I have settled here for my work. I’m amazed every single day by the architectural splendor of the city, which I think is the most beautiful in France. It’s a city of business and culture at the same time, and the world capital for wines.
What is your most treasured possession?
Good health, and good wine to maintain it!
What is your most marked characteristic?
Who are your favorite writers?
Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Goethe, Dostoïevski, Gide, the list goes on…
Who is your hero of fiction?
Superman and La Princesse de Clèves.
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
I have no regrets; I love life.
What is your motto?
Humilitas occidit superbiam: humility kills pride.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what three wines would you serve them?
Cleopatra, American President Thomas Jefferson and French King Louis XIV. They never confused efforts with results and they all loved wine. I’d pour a great white Burgundy, a top red Bordeaux and we’d end on a high note with Yquem.