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Proust Q&A: Etienne Hugel

Fresh after releasing his 2007 Schoelhammer, Etienne Hugel from one of Alsace’s leading winemaking families speaks to db about dining with David Letterman and having no patience to sit down and read a book.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To continue my life just as it is NOW.

What is your greatest fear?

That I will one day run out of Champagne.

Which living person do you most admire?

Probably the Perrin family as a family unit and Marc Perrin as an individual.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Running my life just as I do now with the full trust of my entire family at home.

What is your current state of mind?

I am conscious that I am very blessed by life and I am at least one of the happiest vintners there are.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Exactly those I see every day in my wife Kaoru with whom I share this most amazing life.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

It is equally divided between my wife and my passion for fine which we both share.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I’m not sure, I think my constant talking prevents me from listening to myself…

When and where were you happiest?

Yesterday or perhaps it will be tomorrow?

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

I would stop the ageing process even though it has been rather kind to me so far…

Which talent would you most like to have?

I clearly do not devote enough time to culture and the arts.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The many friends that I am fortunate to have met throughout the years – at home and mostly away from home on my wonderful wine travels.

Where would you most like to live?

Just as now, as a citizen of the world.

What is your most treasured possession?

It must be the love of my wife, Kaoru.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Being irrepressible?

Who is your favourite writer?

I’m afraid I do not have much patience to read!

What is it that you most dislike?

Fundamentalism. The situation in the Middle East is simply intolerable to my human conscience.

What is your greatest regret? 

Frankly, I do not have many regrets. How could I not be happy with my life of travels and meeting so many great people?

What is your motto?

Wine is the best social lubricant.

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

My dream was always to be on the David Letterman show so perhaps a dinner in his company and I would serve Champagne, Riesling and red Burgundy.

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Yes, take me to the Asia edition No