The Master Winemaker 100: Régis Camus, Rare Champagne
The drinks business recently published a guide celebrating the talent of the winemakers who have scooped the highest accolade of our Global Masters tasting series, an award which is judged almost exclusively by MWs. Each week we profile the winemakers behind these medal winning wines – the creatives, scientists, mavericks and dreamers who are at the pinnacle of winemaking.
Régis Camus, former chef de cave at Piper-Heidsieck, currently cellarmaster at Rare Champagne
Acclaimed winemaker Régis Camus studied food science at Reims, but found his calling when he switched to oenology. His career started in a Champagne co-operative in the mid-1970s, and he later became resident of the Regional Union of Winemakers. In 1994 he joined Piper-Heidsieck, working closely with chef de cave Daniel Thibault, taking his place after Thibault’s untimely death in 2002. In 2018, he announced his retirement from PH, moving to lead the Champagne house’s exclusive line, Rare Champagne.
What or who inspired you to become a winemaker?
I hadn’t thought of becoming a winemaker, but life inspired me; it is this universe that picked me up.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Every single part of my job is a pleasure. My favourite moment is when I am with my team at 11am and we talk about the wines, taste them and think of their evolution and maturation. The hardest part? Elaborating the wine is hard, the selection is crucial, deciding which year for Rare is hard. Working with nature can be hard as well when the climate is not really appropriate… But this is why our challenge is so exciting too.
What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?
First, a glass of water. Then when spring and summer is coming, I love sharing a glass of Rare Champagne with my beloved.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust yourself, listen to your intuition to follow your own path. What was your greatest winemaking mistake? There are no mistakes, only solutions.
Which wine-related achievement are you most proud of?
The first Rare Rosé. I knew exactly which colour Rare Rosé 2007 would have in 2017. I had decided the exact Pantone reference and this is what happened. It was a good achievement as the colour is special.
If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be doing and why?
I would be a teacher. I love sharing.
Which wine (grape/style) do you find it impossible to get along with?
Nothing is impossible.
How has your taste in wine changed over your career?
I would say maturity. My own “olfactive library” has increased, it is quite huge now (I am not so young [he laughs]). My taste remains the same, but experiences make me more demanding.
Which type of wine do you drink most regularly?
Champagne without a doubt.
Which wine would you most like to drink, and who would you share it with?
Champagne! There is no room for doubt. With my wife, my family, my friends. This is the most important for me.
To buy a copy of The Master Winemaker 100, please click here.