The Proust Questionnaire: Chester Osborn

Chester Osborn is the gregarious, curly-haired, loud shirt-wearing chief winemaker of d’Arenberg. He lives in McLaren Vale with his partner Kath and three daughters.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Dancing wildly after lots of Barolo.

What is your greatest fear?

Tearing my other Achilles tendon.

Which living person do you most admire?

Mark Zuckerberg for the simplicity and world domination of his design and development.

What is your current state of mind?

Chilled but full of life and seeking fun.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Taking my clothes off on stage in front of 1,000 people as part of a speech I made at the Wine Future conference in Hong Kong.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Fun!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I hate saying it now, but: “If you really work it out”.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My partner Kath and my three daughters: Ruby, Mia and Alicia.

When and where were you happiest?

I’m always happy, at work and play. I’m still making mud pies like I did as a child, using the raw ingredients of earth, sun and water.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Singing. It’s such a soulful experience and a release. My girls say I’m not bad, but I doubt I could get people to pay to watch me.

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

The size of my stomach and the weakness of my Achilles, which I tore on New Year’s Day.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Other than my girls (a given), it would be my work as a winemaker. I’ve produced over 60 different wines and people keep telling me all of them are great.

Where would you most like to live?

Right where I am in McLaren Vale, perched on a hill in a lovely house set amongst the scrub and vines.

What is your most treasured possession?

My (ever expanding) collection of loud shirts.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Loud shirts, long curly hair and being gregarious.

Who are your favourite writers?

I love the way Nick Stock writes about wine.

Who is your hero of fiction?

I mainly read science magazines, but if push came to shove I’d have to say from Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

What is it that you most dislike?

Rude, aggressive people.

What is your greatest regret?

Going home early or missing a party usually upsets me most. I guess I wish I’d started making Dead Arm ten years earlier than I did (1993), and also that I’d started on the Amazing Sites project of single vineyard and sub-regional wines before 1999.

What is your motto?

You’re a long time six feet under so make the most of life.

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

Issac Newton, Albert Einstein and Galileo. I’d show them our 12 single vineyard Shiraz’s from 2010, along with some great old Barolos and vintage Champagne.

Click here for the Proust Questionnaire with Randall Grahm, and here for Adolfo Hurtado of Cono Sur.

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