The Proust Q&A: Bernard Hickin

Melbourne born Bernard Hickin is the chief winemaker of Jacob’s Creek. Having graduated from Roseworthy College with a degree in oenology, Hickin has worked for the brand since 1976, starting out as assistant winemaker at Rowland Flat. In 1997, he was made group winemaker for white and sparkling wine, launching Jacob’s Creek’s first sparkling wine range a year later. Having worked as chief winemaker since 2006, Hickin travels the world promoting the Jacob’s Creek brand and the wines in its portfolio. He lives in the Barossa Valley with his wife Carolyn.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Drinking a glass of Chardonnay on the deck of a sailing boat in a light breeze on a warm Saturday afternoon.

What is your greatest fear? 

Falling off the boat (and spilling my Chardonnay).

Who do you most admire?

David Attenborough for his love of all things living, or fossilised.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I’ve developed a keen interest in rocks and minerals.

What is your current state of mind? 

Relaxed, with an eye on living life to the fullest.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

Someone with shared interests who I can talk to in a meaningful way.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

My darling wife Carolyn and three intrepid sons.

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

Schussing down a Cardrona ski slope near Queenstown, NZ, where my only care in the world was to avoid breaking a leg or running into a boulder.

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

My obsession with chocolate.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be a mesmerising guitarist.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Fender Stratocaster guitar.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My three grown-up sons, who are now, finally, fully engaged in the workforce.

Where would you most like to live?

In spite of the cold winters, I couldn’t imagine anywhere better than the Barossa.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Some people have told me that I look a bit like Harrison Ford.

Who are your favorite writers?

I’ve a great respect for James Halliday and his passion for and knowledge of both New and Old World wines.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Indiana Jones, of course. Who else?

What is it that you most dislike?

People who don’t appreciate good Riesling.

What is your greatest regret?

That there is a great wine out there somewhere that I haven’t tasted yet.

What is your motto?

Live life to the fullest, both within and outside of work.

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

English comedy actor Peter Cook, Australian geologist Reginald Sprigg and English national treasure Sir David Attenborough. I’d begin them on 2005 Steingarten Riesling and would move on to 2010 Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne, ending with 2004 St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon.

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