What’s the best thing about your job?
The fact that no one is ever sad to see me – most likely as I usually have a bottle of Champagne with me. I’m so fortunate to be able to visit some of the UK’s most incredible restaurants, hotels and bars and educate the teams that serve our Champagnes to their guests. Not everyone knows the stories behind these famous labels, and it’s a pleasure to be able to share my knowledge.
And the worst?
When people only focus on the investment aspect. There’s nothing wrong with smart investments, of course, but it’s not the reason I got involved in wine and Champagne.
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
That I spend all my time drinking Champagne! I do a lot of tastings with restaurants and consumers, but a lot of work goes into planning the events, dinners and tastings. There are many wines in the world, and so our job is to ensure that we’re not being complacent and that we are constantly pushing ourselves to offer consumers the best experiences with our brands. It’s not just tasting amazing wines and waxing lyrical about them.
Your greatest moment?
It’d have to be enjoying a barbecue with Olivier Krug and the winemaking team in the Clos du Mesnil. It showed that Champagne is all about pleasure and doesn’t need to be ultra-extravagant. We tend to overthink rare Champagnes, but my best memory of Clos du Mesnil is drinking the Champagne where it was birthed, surrounded by like-minded and fun-loving people, sharing barbecued chicken and summer vegetables in the sunshine.
And your greatest mistake?
When I first joined Moët Hennessy, I was due to meet Olivier Krug at London’s Le Gavroche for staff training, and I had never met him before. There were train strikes that day and I arrived late. I introduced myself to everyone while asking if they were excited to meet Olivier, to which Olivier said, ‘I am right here’. I was so embarrassed. Luckily for me he’s a gentleman and laughed about it. During our tasting the fire alarm went off and we were forced outside, including Michel Roux Jr. We all enjoyed a glass of Krug together on Upper Brook Street.
From X-Factor to Champagne ambassador – that’s an unusual path…
You’ve found the skeleton in my closet! Food and wine aside, one of my main passions has always been music. When friends encouraged me to audition for The X-Factor, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I made it all the way to the final auditions. I don’t regret it, as that’s where I met my wife, but while I still love music, these days I prefer to let the wine do the singing in the glass!
How’s your work/life balance?
It can be tricky – in the evenings I am usually hosting events. If you work in the wine trade or hospitality, the hours can be intense, but if you are passionate you don’t count the hours.
The most useful advice you’ve had?
Be kind and stay humble.
French-American born Ethan studied French gastronomy and wine at the Ferrandi culinary institute in Paris, before working as a chef. He joined Moët Hennessy in 2016, and in 2018 became UK ambassador for its portfolio of Champagnes, which include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Dom Pérignon and Krug.