Alsace wine champion Etienne Hugel dies

Etienne Hugel, a respected figure in the Alsace wine region in eastern France and the public face of one of the world's top wineries, has died at the age of 57.

Famille Hugel in Alsace confirmed the death of Etienne Hugel in a short statement released on 10 April.

Etienne died suddenly on the previous day, the family said, without disclosing further details. He was 57 years old.

Etienne Hugel was commercial director at his family’s namesake winery in Alsace, having overseen operations with his brothers, Jean-Philippe and Marc. Famille Hugel is a member of the Primum Familiae Vini club, which includes a select number of the world’s best family-owned wineries.

Etienne Hugel was also a respected figure and strong voice in the Alsace wine region.

‘A visionary and a hard worker, my son Etienne travelled the world relentlessly, showing unparalleled people skills and infectious enthusiasm,’ said André Hugel.

‘Throughout his life he was able to communicate his passion, his professionalism and his personal values to all those with whom he worked.’

Etienne joined the family business in 1982, and was in charge of promoting exports. The winery now exports to more than 100 countries.

Members of the Famille Hugel winery said in joint statement that were deeply saddened by Etienne’s death, and extended condolences to his father, André Hugel, his wife Kaoru and his two children, Charlotte and Jean-Frédéric.

Etienne Hugel’s death follows closely after that of other highly respected wine world figures: Paul Pontallier, of Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux; and Louis Latour, of the namesake Burgundy negociant house.

A full obituary will follow.