Head wine-maker for Dom Pérignon, 54

Luck is clearly part of the wine-making process. Don Pérignon may have an image of luxury and glamour, but it all depends on Mother Nature in the end: the variations in the seasons and the different amounts of rain and sunshine. As a wine-maker, it makes you feel humble.

Many people think the enjoyment of drinking comes through the volume, which is a misconception. I drink very little, but still enjoy it to the full.

You don't have to have an extensive knowledge of wine to enjoy a pricey bottle. It's about emotions – feeling the harmony and complexity of a great wine. As a wine person, spending a few thousand euros on a bottle is worth it, as you can tell the difference.

People are too impatient. You should slow things down, enjoy the world around you. Pleasure is about pacing yourself.

While there are a few rules when it comes to pairing food with wine – excessive bitterness is a big no-no – Heston Blumenthal knows how to push those boundaries. Two years ago he came to our château and cooked a slow-baked salmon in a jelly of liquorice – an ingredient which will normally kill a wine – served with a Dom Pérignon Rosé 1978. Even now people who were there keep telling me how amazing the meal was.

Wine-makers shouldn't try to carbon-copy champagne. The future of wine lies in expressions of the local climate and culture – they must create their own.

My favourite Dom Pérignon vintage is not necessarily the greatest one, but the most challenging. The 1980 crop made by my predecessor had a lukewarm reception at the time, but it needed to open up. Under my guidance there was a second release 20 years later. At last I was able to do it justice.

If you're not kept on your toes, life is not a challenge. Comfort is the greatest risk to humankind.

Dom Pérignon's 2000 vintage is available at all good wine shops (www.domperignon.com)