Frédéric Drouhin is President of Maison Joseph Drouhin, where he works alongside his siblings Véronique, Philippe and Laurent, who are the fourth generation to run the family business, which was founded in 1880. He received his MBA from the University of Hartford, Connecticut and is also the new President of the Primum Familiae Vini association. After wine, his passions include cooking and gardening.
Where were you born?
I was born at the Hospices de Beaune, in Beaune, France. A good start! At that time the maternity building was next to the historical building.
What was your best memory growing up?
I remember a drive in the Rolls Royce of the Luxembourg Ambassador to France who came for the Hospices de Beaune auction. The city was closed to cars, but because of his status of Ambassador, we were able to go through. I was 10 and very proud.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A chef in a restaurant and, following a trip with my parents in Tuscany, I thought it would be beautiful to live there.
Where/what did you study?
The US is our most important market so I went to live in America, to better understand the culture, while studying Marketing and Management at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
Frédéric Drouhin, President of Maison Joseph Drouhin.
Any formal wine training?
I remember the formal "tasting sessions" we had on Sunday lunch with the family. My father would pour a great bottle from his cellar and we had to guess what it was. Of course, we were all wrong. So he explained why. A couple of months later, he would pour the same bottle again, blind, and then we had better be right!
Who was your mentor?
For wine training both Laurence Jobard and the whole team at Drouhin. For politics it was John Fitzerald Kennedy. He was a man that gave so much hope to his country.
What are your views on agriculture: Sustainable? Organic? Biodynamic?
Definitely biodynamic, in both our estate and in my personal garden. I now have indigenous flowers that had disappeared but are now back.
What was the best advice you ever received?
Always trust your first impression. It works very well for the people you meet, the decisions you have to make in the business and the wines which are served blind.
What instantly makes you frown?
A corky wine, especially when it is a bottle that you have kept for a long time in your cellar.
Outside wine, what is your passion?
Cooking and growing roses. The last one came by chance when I discovered a rose bearing our name: "Zephirine Drouhin." It's a beautiful rose bush with no thorns. The flowers have an intense pink colour and a marvelous smell.
Frédéric Drouhin and his pink roses.
What are you craving right now?
I can't wait to go mountain biking in Corsica, followed by a nice meal of local charcuterie and cheeses.
Sunday: Brunch or Lunch?
Breakfast, aperitif, lunch and dinner. I am so French!
Who was the first person you spoke to today?
My dog! I'm the first one to wake up to get the house ready and my dog, a Parson Russell named Darling, always comes to me to say hello.
How do you keep in shape?
Mountain biking. I live in a hilly area of Burgundy with so many trails. Only my dog follows me.
Diet or eat everything?
When I travel I like to try local dishes to get some inspiration and back home I try to cook them.
Married for 16 years.
Three: Romane (15), Gabriel (14) and Oscar (10). And a horse, a cat, a dog, a rabbit, a bird, a chicken, soon bees and under negotiation a sheep. I said no to a billy-goat, because it eats everything and I fear for my roses.
Frédéric Drouhin and his three children.
Favourite place to vacation?
Corsica, because you can enjoy both mountains and beaches and there is a distinctive smell of pines, fruits, herbs and flowers that you don't find on the French Riviera.
Favourite restaurant locally?
Favourite city to visit?
Venice for its history and uniqueness; New York for its energy.
Favourite wine/vintage from your winery?
Clos des Mouches blanc, because it has a unique personality and it was the first vineyards planted by Maurice Drouhin, and the Musigny for its grace, complexity and length. In Burgundy I love the 1959 vintage. I wish I could have been born in such a vintage.
Favourite wine/vintage, that is not yours?
Pol Roger vintage Chardonnay. I like its freshness, purity and complexity and also the people making this Champagne.
Raising three happy children.
I wish I could have met Maurice Drouhin and hear all he went through during his life. And, also Nelson Mandela for his achievements.
If you can choose your perfect last supper before leaving this world, what would it be, who would it be with and what would you drink with it?
I would ask my best friends and close family members to bring their best bottle that they would consider giving to their best friend. I would also ask to cook in the kitchen of a three star restaurant with the Chef and share the meal all together.