The Proust Q&A: Charlie Holland

One of English sparkling wine’s brightest stars, Plumpton graduate Charlie Holland recently swapped the South Downs in Sussex for Kent, having taken up the role of winemaker at Gusbourne Estate after a four-year stint as winemaker at Ridgeview, where he helped to put English fizz firmly on the map.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Enjoying a bottle of something good on a sunny day with the important people in my life.

What is your greatest fear? 

Claustrophobia – being buried alive would be terrifying.

Who do you most admire?

Pioneers who have confidence in their convictions and are courageous enough to break the barriers of conformity.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Wine (predictably).

What is your current state of mind? 

Relaxed. After bottling is finished for another year and all the bottles are safely stored away in the cellar, summer provides a brief pause before gearing up for next year’s harvest.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

Sincerity.

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

My handwriting.

Where would you most like to live?

I have been lucky enough to live in picturesque wine regions around the world, but in my heart of hearts I’m very content living in the beautiful Kent countryside. England is a truly exciting place to be making wine at the moment and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

What is your most treasured possession?

I honestly don’t think I have one.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Perseverance.

Who are your favorite writers?

The late, great Gabriel García Marquez.

What is it that you most dislike?

Rudeness and celeriac in equal measure.

What is your greatest regret?

I have no regrets.

What is your motto?

Who dares wines.

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

I’d invite Bill Hicks (to keep us amused), David Attenborough (for interesting anecdotes) and Ernest Hemingway (because he likes a drink). I think we’d start with Gusbourne 2007 Blanc de Blancs followed by something full bodied like a bottle of the fantastic L’Ermita from Alvaro Palacios. I have a sweet tooth, so would finish with a bottle of Trockenbeerenauslese from Robert Weil in the Rheingau.

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