You know you’re in for a good chat when the first thing your interviewee says is, “You have your questions, and I have my answers, but there might not be a link between them!” A throaty laugh and a smile follows.
Frenchman Loïc Pasquet, is owner and vigneron of Liber Pater, the world’s most expensive wine. Accompanied by two friends (and clients), he meets me in the lounge of a luxury hotel in Singapore, not in a tailored suit — the uniform of Bordeaux’s noted winemakers when meeting their flock — but in an old pair of blue jeans and a comfy sweater.
“We make luxury wine,” he says to me, matter-of-factly. “The rarest and most expensive in the world”. The wine, by the way, is named for the god of wine and male fertility. Each bottle, sold on a strict allocation basis, goes for an eye-watering 30,000 euros (S$42,225).
Why not 20,000 euros or 40,000 euros for a Liber Pater?
“Loïc is a socialist!” Ravi Viswanathan, Pasquet’s designated translator — not that he needs one — offers an insight. A Singapore-based investor and a vintner himself, Viswanathan has heard the story told before. “Prior to the release of his first vintage of 100 per cent ungrafted vines, he asked his clients: ‘What would you pay for a bottle that is 100 per cent ungrafted?’ The average turned out to be 31,000 euros. But because he is a socialist, he decided to lower the price!”
Pasquet, I learn, is a man of conviction and confidence.