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Jean Hugel (vintage 1924) has just passed away



Jean Hugel has just passed away and Alsace, which he loved and promoted so tirelessly all over the world during more than 60 years, feels a great void.


See his brief biography and recent photos of Jean, taken in 2003, 2005 and November 2008 and a photo album of his lifeIn February 2005 he gave a rare interview on a most secret part of his life: his wartime years. 


Born on September 28, 1924 in Riquewihr, the home town of his family since 1639, Jean Hugel ran the family wine business alongside his two brothers, Georges and Andre, from 1948 until 1997.


A very active retiree, Jean truly never left the business until illness overtook him. Jeanny, for all those who knew him well, worked all his life with great passion and determination for Alsace and its wines, particularly Late Harvest and Selection de Grains Nobles which will be his greatest legacy. He wrote the legislative text regulating the conditions of production of these wines which were OFFICIALLY recognized after 7 years of bitter struggle. It is the strictest law of all French wine appellations.


Jean transmitted to his nephews, Jean Philippe, Marc and Etienne, his know-how, his enthusiasm and his will to carry the banner of Alsace always higher. They will continue to work with this same determination that their uncle taught them: to always strive for perfection. He also leaves behind his dear Simone and their two daughters, Dominique and Judith and four grandchildren. 


Jean's memory will continue to shine in the skies of Alsace, and whenever we have the great joy of opening one of his wines, like his favourite Riesling Selection de Grains Nobles 1976, the last wine he tasted, it will remain a lasting symbol of a very full and meaningful life..


Those who knew him should feel free to leave their own testimony on this Blog. Thank you Jancis, Tom Stevenson, the New York Times, the Telegraph, the Times, the Guardian and so many of you. Mission accomplished Johnny, you may now retire.

Comments (118)

It is very sad for me to know that Johnny will no longer be part of our lives. For me personally his confidence in me and Wildman nearly twenty years ago, when he barely knew me, is a trust that I have never forgotten nor will ever forget. He Has been a giant among his peers and the Wine Industry. It has been an honor to have known him and worked with him. Please extend to Simone and the entire family my deepest sympathies.

Richie Cacciato

I want you to know that I feel privileged to have met your uncle on our trip last December to Riquewihr.

It was very clear to me even after a brief moment that he was a man of great humanity, great humility and great strength.

A true “mentsch” in the best Yiddish sense of the word and idea. He was also a man of another generation. We don’t see many like him anymore and we may never. Knowing that, I am all the more grateful for having met him.

I send you my most sincere condolences and please extend the same to all of the members of your family and to your father and to Johnny’s family.

His memory will be a blessing; of that there is no doubt.

We will carry on Johnny’s work!


I am so so sorry.

Long before the PFV I used to meet Johnny in Scotland and other places, his kindness to people like me, half his age, was legendary.

He was a very great ambassador for your region, for your wines and for your family.

In the wine trade around the world, very few reach the level of affection and respect that Johnny earned from all over his lifetime.

My thoughts are with you and all your family,

Paul Symington

What a wonderfully colourful and warm character Johnny was. His passing has brought into clear relief to me how much richer the old world of wine was in terms of humanity. His was an era of characters rather than corporations, good times rather than good figures.

I have written a very modest tribute to this great man on my website, but my favourite story was a rather complicated one involving our honeymoon, l'Auberge de l'Ill and the Haeberlins' most junior member of staff.

Jancis Robinson

Jane MacQuitty:

I was very saddened and shocked this morning to receive your email that Johnny has died. He was a wonderful man, a tremendous
ambassador for Alsace and its wines and devoted to Simone and his entire
family, especially his two nephews! I will always remember his kindness
and gentle charm. The wine world will be a sadder place without him.
Please send my condolences to all the Hugels. Best wishes
Jane MacQuitty, The Times

Johnny will be deeply missed by all of us here at your company and partners in Japan.

I will never forget the passion and joy Johnny always had for Hugel and Alsace when I saw him at the winery. I only hope that I could inspire people around me as much as he did.

Even last year when I visited in September, Johnny was buzzing around the cellars and talking about the wines like an excited youth. What an inspiration he was to us all.

He will be sadly missed.

Carl & the team at Jeroboam, Japan

Aarno Magnusson:

I have met Jean (Johnny) many times during the last 15 years and I always remember his kind smile and he was always very positive. I had the pleasure to share a Selecion de Grains Nobles with him while talking about the combination of food and wine, a topic he seemed to take interest in. It is a great loss for the family, us friends and the whole of Alsace. In this difficult moment I send a warm regard to the family and participate in the sorrow.
Aarno Magnusson

Rudolf Th. Bijleveld:

First of all I would like to sent you, also on behalf of the entire Oud Reuchlin & Boelen team from the Netherlands, our deepest condolences for the sad news we received that Jean (Johnny) past away.

Johnny and our company know eachother for almost 60 years and we know, also from stories of the past, that Johnny was always very interessed in the developments of 'his' wines in our country.

We will miss him.

Rudolf Th. Bijleveld
Managing Director
Oud Reuchlin & Boelen

Stephen Brook:

Very sad news. I last saw Johnny at a Decanter dinner, when I was seated next to him. He was fabulously good company, as always, and a remarkable ambassador not only for Hugel wines for all the wines of Alsace.

Stephen Brook

I interviewed Jean for a half-hour programme I was making about European economies for the BBC in November 2003.

He lit up the programme - while others sat on the fence he was not afraid to say what he really thought.

From his description of the 35-hour week as "bloody stupid" to the revalation that he was so sick of bureaucracy that sometimes he put in the wrong figures to annoy the government, he is probably the best guest I have ever interviewed.

On a personal note, the way he spoke very much reminded me of my own late grandmother, who also came from Alsace.

I only met him once but will never forget him.

Anthony Reuben, BBC

John Livingstone-Learmonth:

Johnny (I didn't call him that aged 23) received me on my first visit to the then hidden region of Alsace in 1974. I was sounding out various houses about exporting to the USA. He was the most open, expressive, immediately aimiable of hosts, his energy infectious. He remained that way throughout his life. A fantastic ambassador all around the world, a great man of steel and wit. He has done enormous work for Alsace and for French wines. My condolences to all the Hugel family.
John Livingstone-Learmonth

James Ellis:

I was sad to hear of Johnnys passing, he was one of the first great characters I met when I joined the trade nearly 30 years ago and a true gentleman!

He was a fine ambassador for the wines of Alsace and of course passionate about Hugel. His infectious smile and wicked sense of humour will always be remembered.

My family has been customers of the Hugels for more than 100 years and we look forward to a long and continued association with the next generations.

Our thoughts and condolences to you all.

James/Ellis of Richmond

All friends of the Hugel family here share in your sorrow at the passing of Johnny, a dear friend of, decades-long supplier to and indeed member of The Wine Society.

Our sympathies and thoughts are with you all at this time.

Personally I will never forget his unique approach to life, to wine and the art of tasting. I have never looked at wine in the same way since the day I met Johnny.

Ewan Murray The Wine Society

This is very sad news indeed. My earliest memories of Johnny are from the 1980s when I was at Fortnum & Mason and then Harrods; at that time he was a regular visitor to the UK and we would often have a coffee or a glass together and discuss wine and anything else which sprang to mind. As a young man I felt honoured to spend time with such a legendary figure, and he was also the first to introduce me to the pleasures of foie gras! Alsace owes him a great deal, they certainly broke the mould after they made Johnny, and we will be lucky to meet another like him in our lifetime. My sincere condolences to you and all the family on your loss, but he leaves a great legacy for you to remember him by.
Alun Griffiths

Tom Stevenson:

Just checked my emails before setting off on a short trip, and was shattered to hear that Johnny had passed away. I first met Johnny just over 20 years ago, and immediately realised he was one of those rare "larger than life" characters that would always be around. A small number of people have contributed so much to Alsace, but none more so than Johnny. I don't think that anyone would dispute that Johnny Hugel was the single most important person in the development of Alsace wine industry throughout the 20th century.

I can't believe he is gone, but I should not be sad about his loss, I should be happy for everything he gave and I received.

I will forever smile at the memory of Johnny, and I am sure the Hugel family will forgive me if I reveal that for the last 10 years or so, every time Etienne or Marc waved Johnny away with a warm and caring "Go Johnny, we're trying to work here!" only for Johnny to poke his head around the door 10 minutes later and say "Oh, just one more thing ..." I would comment, when he was gone, "I think he is indestructibe, but when he does go, you had better bang down the coffin lid tight, because it would not surprise me to see it lifting in the chapelle, as Johnny pokes his head out and says "Oh, just one more thing ..."

Tom Stevenson

Charles Metcalfe:

Alsace has lost it most charming, witty and down-to-earth ambassador. Johnny's achievements went far beyond his work for the family company.

He will be missed by all lovers of French wines.
Charles Metcalfe

Roger Voss:

Johnny Hugel was the first person I met in Alsace. He epitomised the generosity of the region, as well as its spirit of adventure and openness. For many people, he WAS Alsace. He opened bottles around the world, always wanting the rest of us to appreciate the beauty of the wines and of his native region. He will be missed, but his spirit lives on in his family and his colleagues.
Roger Voss

Volker Hildisch:

The Alsace has lost an active and charming representative. I met Jean Hugel for recordings to my film. It was a great pleasure to talk with him about the production of wine, the history and the long tradition of his family. I offer my condolences to this wonderfull family of wine.
Volker Hildisch, Saarlaendischer Rundfunk, Saarbruecken

Alastair Marshall:

I was saddened to hear this news.
Johnny was the first winemaker that I met when he visited the restaurant in the mid 70's in which I was a waiter at the time. He charmed the customers and when all was over stayed on to relax with the staff and ended up dancing 'le swing' rather expertly with the waitresses. He was an inspiration and I will long remember him.
Alastair Marshall

SO many memories both myself, the ecole d'Alsace in '91 and after falling in love with the place and the people two or three more family visits; and Frank (Stainton)who vividly remembers his first vendange under the wing of Johnny way back in 1964 !

By a remarkable coincidence Frank was drinking Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles 1989 on the same evening that Johnny passed away.
A great wine and memories of a great man.
Salut Johnny.


A truly great man who was not affraid to stand up for what he believed in and he believed that his Alsace wines were the greatest. Only great men make great wines.

What a sad loss to the wine industry. I remember a few years ago at a tasting at Vintners Hall Johnny was an absolute delight. A real character with a true passion for wines. I only had the privilege to meet him the once but he fired my imagination and I will lift a glass to his memory tonight. Alsace and her wines are a favourite of mine and the world of wine has lost a true ambassador.

Please be assured that he was a man much loved, even from those who met him briefly, he had the ability to touch everyone and treated all with the same manners no matter who they were.
A true gentleman.

My sincere condolences to all his family, I know that his values and standards will be honoured for many years to come. His wines will go on talking for as many years as well.

You are all in my thoughts today in this difficult time.

N K Yong:

It was with deep sadness and the sense of a vast vacuum that I read your earlier email about Johnny’s passing. I immediately recalled how very fortunate we were that the last time we were tasting in your cellars with you Johnny peeped in through the door and we did get a chance to see him briefly.

I first met him in 1986 during the International Wine & Food Society’s International Wine & Food Festival in Strasbourg. After the Festival was over a small band of Singaporeans hired a car and we drove down to Riquewihr and visited Maison Hugel and were graciously received by him. He was to Alsace as Mondavi was to Napa, the most well-known and well-loved ambassador. His legacy is enormous.

Please convey our deepest condolences to his family, both immediate and extended.

“Everyman’s death diminishes me, some more than others.”

Warmest regards,

N K Yong

Josef Bonello:

If wine, fun and genuine character are truly linked, then Johnny Hugel epitomises it all in one lifetime! Thank you Johnny! Meeting you even for an hour in Malta is one of my treasured memories of what fine wine is all about! Fun!
Merci monsiuer!
Josef Bonello


Well his Alsace wines will be the always perpetuating his memory, great men never die they are just repositioned. Salut Johnny Enrico Garzaroli Graycliff Bahamas

Serena Sutcliffe and David Peppercorn:

Thank you so very much for letting me know about Johnny at a time when you all must have been so upset and we do appreciate it.
David and I send our deepest sympathy to you all. We would very much have liked to be in Riquewihr next Monday, to honour a great man of huge personality, influence and integrity, but unfortunately we have to be elsewhere, arranged a long time ago. But we shall be thinking of you as you gather in the place he loved so much, his home town.

David first met Johnny in the Sixties and was immediately impressed by his dynamism, knowledge and character. I met him in the first part of the Seventies, when he was unfailingly kind and helpful to such a young, ignorant person. That was just typical of him. One of our best memories is of lunch with him and Simone at their home, some time in the Eighties. What he did for Alsace, in terms of ‘spreading the message’ worldwide, and his work on the Grands Crus and SGNs, remains as his monument. You all carry on his professionalism and devotion to quality.

And then there was his wonderful 80th birthday celebration at the Gavroche which we absolutely treasure. His stories were legendary and we all had a lot of laughs together. It was a privilege to have known him.

We send you all our warmest wishes and thoughts,

Serena Sutcliffe and David Peppercorn

When we visited Hugel in 2004 for a story I did on Alsace
(found here, but only in Hebrew!) http://www.notes.co.il/gross/36628.asp
we were lucky as we came the day after Jean Hugel's 80th birthday, so we were treated to some of the Riesling 1976 SGN that was opened for the birthday. The same wine you mention was his favorite and the last he drank! It was exquisite. I got a bottle which later my partner and I opened with some dear wine friends at our own tenth anniversary. Although I never met him in person I cherish the memory and recall Mr. Hugel's huge(l) contribution to the world of wine, from which we all benefit.

Aeyal Gross

Rolando Chiossi, Emilio Pedron, Davide Mascalzoni and everybody else at G.I.V.:

We are very sad to hear that Jean passed away last night.
We are very closed to all of you and send our heartfelt condolences.
Jean was an outstanding person and he will always be remembered by all of us not only for the very enjoyable moments we spent together and for his deep knowledge of the wine world, but most of all for his wide culture and for his very noble views on life.
We send him our final farewell with all our admiration.

Rolando Chiossi, Emilio Pedron, Davide Mascalzoni and everybody else at G.I.V.

Ene Tohv :

Let me send my condolences to mrs. Simone and to all family members.
I felt like time stopped suddenly for a moment... I never forget my first visit to Alsace to Hugel`s Maison. It was my first trip to wineyards, I only started to learn about wine world this time , and we were warmly hosted in Riquewihr.I was suprised about ideas how life could move, of development during many years in all area,thoughts about wine and results, proffessionalism, quality. Im happy that I had this opportunity.

with all my warm wishes,
Ene Tohv

John McLusky:

Oh dear, so sad; Linda & I send our heartfelt sympathies to all the family, especially Simone, Judith and Dominique. Jeanny was the finest of patriarchs to the 'business' family, the finest husband and father; with his brother, the greatest teacher of future generations.

Of course the memories that come flooding back are exclusively happy........so many wonderful wines, including a Traminer Reserve from my birth year and, in the cellar under Rue des Remparts, the very first red.

So many wonderful meals in Alsace: at home, at L'Auberge, at various 'local pubs' even, dare I say it, when in the UK, he and Parry visited us at The Wine Society. The jars of 'foie gras' at Christmas; leading the inaugural tour of the Ecole D'Alsace, so ably orchestrated and conducted by the maestro.

Mon ami, je t'embrasse.


On behalf of the McAlindon family and Direct Wine Shipments, I must express our deep sadness on hearing the news of Johnny`s passing away. For many years, even during the turbulent years of the troubles, he would come across to Belfast and preach the gospel of Alsace with passion, humour and much warmth. We will never forget him.
Neal McAlindon

Denis Broderick:

Jean Hugel was Alsace's best 'export'. And one of the most memorable characters that ever performed at Direct Wine Shipments' tastings in Northern Ireland. He made wine tastings fun, but never forgot that his mission was to promote the wines of Alsace - and Hugel. He had the time for all.

Visiting 'Johnny' at home in Riquewihr also great fun. With his cloth cap he looked more like an Irishman, with the frankness and sense of humour to match.

Jean may be gone - no doubt to help organise God's vineyards - but the legend and the memories will be acknowledged with every future bottle of Hugel wine. And that bottle would need to be a magnum.

Johnny, thanks for the pleasure of knowing you - and for all that you did for the industry.

Denis Broderick
Northern Ireland

It was my privilege to have known Johnny Hugel. He was an absolute delight.
Johnny served as IWSC President in 1997 and attended the annual gathering the evening before our awards presentations on a regular basis over the years. I have very fond memories of trailing around after him in Verona during his year in office whilst attending our events at Vinitaly. Johnny was fun to be with on that and other occasions – if exhausting - then a sprightly 72 year old he ran me ragged never staying still for long!
His stories will outlive him as will his contribution to the industry and to the IWSC. We will miss you Johnny!
My personal condolences to his wife Simone and his family.

Piero Antinori and family:

Jean "Johnny" Hugel has been a legend in the wine business for his passion, his dedication and for his great "sense of humour".
Everybody in the industry will always remember him as a great "wine man".
Personally, I have always had a great respect, admiration and affection for him and I am close to his family, especially Simone, in this moment of great sadness.
Piero Antinori and family

I only met Johnny once - but what a character - - a great man who made great wines. He was one of a very few personalities in the wine world about whom I can say it was both a privilege and a pleasure to have met. Our sincere condolences to the Hugel family from all of us at WSET

"Der Wein wird nie so schlecht, wie man zunächst befürchtet, aber auch nie so gut, wie man es sich gewünscht hat." Diese seine Weinmaxime könnte man durchaus auf sein Leben übertragen, welches sich mit Leidenschaft und Hingabe dem heimischen Weinbau gewidmet hat.

In der Tat war Jean Hugel einer der grossen Gentleman des französischen Weinbaus. Er hat nicht nur dem familiären Weingut, sondern dem gesamten Elsass ein Qualitätsdenken auferlegt, von dem wir alle zehren und dem wir alle unseren Respekt und unseren Dank zollen.

Eine Begegnung mit Monsieur Jeanny war immer spannend. Das lag nicht nur an den Weinen, von denen mir viele als exzellent in Erinnerung sind, sondern auch an seiner unprätentiösen Art und seinem Humor. Immer zu einem kleinen Plausch und dem dazu passenden Wein aufgelegt, da wurden aus einem Termin auf eine Stunde angelegt auch gerne derer fünf.

Das Weingut Hugel wird auch fürderhin gute Weine produzieren, einmal mehr im Gedenken an Jean und die früheren Hugel, die sich dem selben, hehren Ziel verpflichteten. Der Familie stehe ich in Gedanken bei und erhebe in der Ferne ein letztes Mal ein Glas zu Ehren von Jean Hugel. Ein so erfülltes Leben ward nicht verschwendet!

Reiner Maus, Weinverkoster

Stephen Skelton:

I remember Johnny standing in my vineyard in Tenterden, Kent in about 1982 and marvelling at our crop of Gewurztraminer that we had on the 25 vines of this variety in our trial plot. He said they were far better than anything he'd seen in Alsace! I am sure he was just being polite, but it was one of those moments a viticultralist does not forget easily. Sad that he has now gone, but his memory will be with us all for ever.

Carol Coe:

I knew him only by interviews and by reputation but hoped one day to come to Riquewihr to meet him personally. This is a great loss on so many levels. I appreciated being notified today of this sad event and will open a bottle of his wine to celebrate him. carol coe paris

Fred Myers:

Johnny Hugel epitomized the energy, the conviction, the genuine enthusiasm and pride of the Hugel family and it's magnificent wines. His passing is a loss for his family and for all of us who love Alsace and its wealth of gastronomy and history.

My fondest memory of him will always be hearing him tell stories which wove together Riquewihr during the Second World War, tarte flambee and choucroute garnie, global warming recordkeeping versus harvest dates, vineyard management practices among his neighbors and a thousand other opinions, ideas and generously expressed comments.

He was a character, a radiating presence! He will be much missed and well remembered. Ilsa and I pass along our sympathy and respects to all the Hugels.

Edena and Gary Sheldon:

What can we possibly say!
We are so sorry to hear of your loss of your dear Uncle JEAN, JOHNNY.

We (of course!) remember the evening we met him - standing outside HUGEL in Riquewihr one October night some twelve or so years ago. We all met up, after feasting on "Flamm" together.
You and I went deep down into the cellers of HUGEL, with a lantern lighting our way, where you selected a bottle of wine for Michel Jacob - for us to take home with us to Vancouver for his 40th birthday. Your Uncle and my husband Gary, and our Scottish Terrier Angus, waited for us upstairs. We will never,
ever forget having had the extreme privilege of meeting him.

With his quiet dignity, his twinkling eye, and the unpretentious way he had of letting one know that they were (indeed) in the company of someone great, noble, and unforgettable.

We will never forget that evening.

We hope that he is raising a glass of his favourite Riesling Selection de Grains Nobles 1976 - together with his friend Gerard Jaboulet (who we also had the privilege of knowing).
We will hope that this is so.

With our love,
for you and the entire HUGEL Family,

West Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Werner Schonberger:

Dear Etienne. I was stunned at the news when you phoned, yet I knew what it was about. My condolences’ go out to Simone and all the Hugel Family. I considered myself a friend of a great Man that has done so much in his life for the Business we all love. Thirty years, and hoping for more I knew Johnny. I learned from him, not only about wine but also about Life, People ,History that enriched my live. I will never forget his visits to Vancouver, almost falling in to the lake at Whistler or the many wonderful events here or in Riquewhir including the wonderful 350 Anniversary. My thoughts are with you. I will miss you Johnny.!
To you Etienne, thank you for calling me, bigger shoes to fill now. Regards Werner

ed sands:

Dear Etiennne:
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your uncle Jean, one of the great figures in the wine world who I had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying wine with on several occasions.

Johnny,as he was affectionately known, pioneered the sales of his beloved wines of Alsace in America and we will think of him whenever we drink a glass !!

Ed Sands

Minwoo LEE:

I am very sorry to hear this sad news. We could feel his passion for wines even here in the Far East.

Thank you, Jean for your great wines. Korean wine lovers could discover the pleasure of Alsace wines thanks to you. We will remember you forever.

Berenice Axisa:

A great man which will be greatly missed... from his wine, vines, and wine lovers around the globe.. even those who knew him for just an afternoon.. like myself..
Thanks Johnny through your wines and vines I have discovered the true meaning of great white wines..

Patrick Sawyer:

Etienne, Marc, Simone, Dominique, Judith, Veronique, Andre, David et al, I am very, very sad to hear this. I always wanted to speak personally with Jeanny again. I spoke with him back in 1999 (on the phone for the magazine I launched, Irish Communications) about wine and the internet and I last saw him when I worked the vendange at Hugel in 1982.

He was such a kind and caring soul, and a great winemaker to boot. My brother Mac has also turned into a great winemaker (Conn Valley Vineyards and the renowned Ghost Horse label) and is healing from a life-threatening disease. I shall inform him of Jeanny's death. RIP Jean Hugel.

Greg Melick:

Johnny was a wonderful person,a tireless and entusiastic promoter of Alsace and wine generally who will always be remembered for his warmth, passion and generosity. We will all miss him.
Greg Melick, Australia

Sanjay Menon:

I was only briefly introduced to Johnny during Vinexpo. Having read
the Biography that David has collated and the encomia showered upon him
by stalwarts from the industry I realise the monument that he was to
Alsace, the Hugel name and the Hugel wines. I wish you all the courage
and strength for the work that it will take to fill the void.

I recollect you telling me once what Johnny's advice was to the initiate into the world of wines, that went something like... "Don't read your first book on wine, until you've tasted at least 200 bottles!" Its a piece of advice that I often give to people in my country who are being introduced to wine and to whom the importance of tasting and forming ones own opinion cannot be over emphasised.

Sanjay Menon, Sansula, India

Frank Stanton:

Such a sad loss to the world of wine.
I have happy memories of Johnny going back to 1964.
A dear friend and wonderful ambassador for Alsace wine.
Remarkably last evening I was hosting a tasting and included a 1989 G V Gewurztraminer which in the event of his sad passing was a tribute to a marvelous wine maker and great human being
My sincere condolences to Simone and the family

Frank Stainton

Anthony Barton:

It is almost impossible to believe that Johnny Hugel has left us. He has been a personal friend to me and many others for so many years; we and all his family are going to miss this very special man who seemed indestructible such were his qualities of life, energy, enthusiasm, friendship, generosity in its fullest sense, an infections sense of humour and a great love of all that concerned Alsace.

Thanks Johnny, for some great times shared.

Anthony Barton

Chris Davey:

I have just heard the sad news about Johnny, via Jancis Robinson. Your words on her website brought a tear to my eye. No doubt you are drowning in messages, but I would just like to add my small message of condolence. I have never forgotten the first time I met Johnny in the summer of 1979. I turned up with my girlfriend and two friends in a Citroen Dyane. I was the lowest of the low in the London wine trade and we were on holiday. Johnny had been entertaining at lunch and was very jolly (!) and led us through a complete tasting of the wonderful Hugel 1976s, from bottom to the very top. We had a wonderful time, and bounced off down the road in our little car very happy indeed.

Also, I remember that Vinexpo about 4 (or was it 6?) years ago, when Johnny had the problem with his face ‘drooping’. Despite that, he was the life and soul of the dinner party at a Chinese restaurant (that you kindly invited me to) that evening. I remember him walking around the great table making us all laugh.

No doubt he was not the easiest man to work with, but to us ‘outsiders’ he was unique. A great man.

I wish you and all the family the very best of luck for the future.

Chris Davey
O.W. Loeb & Co Ltd

Helga & Fred Baumgaertel:

We not only have lost a wonderful winemaker, and a great ambassador to the Alsace wine-region, we also have lost a dear friend!

We do hope that you will have up in heaven many many glasses of your own fine wines. Bye-bye, dear Jean!

Helga & Fred Baumgaertel

Hans van Neijenhof:

Johnny was a man of perfection which you can find in Hugel wines !

We will remember you forever and will salute you whenever we drink a glass of Hugel Gewurztraminer.

Our tribute to a GREAT winemaker.

Hans van Neijenhof

What a huge loss - to Johnny's family, to the world of wine and to all who knew him. His was a hugely generous spirit, he was unfailingly welcoming to all comers, always ready to share and celebrate the best of his beloved Alsace. I just pulled down off the shelf the book he gave me to commemorate the Hugels' 350th anniversary, with his inscription:

'Alsace has become your second patrie. We are happy...'

So are we. The patrie is poorer without him, but the memory of that wicked smile (and those deliciously quotable aphorisms) lives on.

Sue Style

Steven Spurrier:

I am so sorry to hear this very sad news, but what a life Johnny had. Nobody could have been more loved and admired than he. His warm and generous welcome to me as a stagiare back in 1965 stays with me to this day. Please give me condolences to his wife and to all the family.
Steven Spurrier

Martin Lam:

Sad to read the news of your uncle today, via Jancis.
My condolences to all the family.
A great life, and one we will all remember. I am glad that I had the opportunity to meet him, and had the chance to share in his joie de vivre, both in Riquewihr and here at Ransome’s Dock.

Meanwhile, very nice to see you last week, and hope to see you again soon

Very best wishes

Martin Lam
Ransome's Dock Restaurant, London

Sebastian Payne:

Everyone at The Wine Society is saddened by your news. Johnnie was a great man and a wonderful ambassador for all good wine as he was for Hugel. What he taught us all has been memorable and invaluable, and it will ensure that we never forget him.

It is our AGM tonight, and he will be remembered by everyone(perhaps some 400 members come and many will have met him) there.

Marcel will come to Riquewihr to represent us at the service. So I shall be thinking of all Hugels and particularly Johnnie on that day from England. Please accept my sincere sympathies.

Sebastian Payne
The Wine Society


I never met Jean, but I see the void he is leaving behind. Living a life with hard working, thank you very much for the special wines you crafted for us! May family and friends find eachother to overcome this loss.

Roel van Gestel
The Netherlands

Ellen Bax:

The news of Jean’s death struck me deeply. He was the first winegrower/producer I met when entering the business more than 30 years ago. My first winetasting was guided by Jean : a new world opened and throughout the years grew a deep friendship with the Hugel family. I cherish the memories of his many visits to The Netherlands and mine to Riquewihr preaching his Hugel message. Jean’s dynamisme, frankness, vision and dedication to Alsace, its terroir and wines impressed me a lifetime and the memories will stay with me forever. The world has lost an example of integrity and professionality. My profound feelings are with Simone and the whole Hugel family, Etienne in particular. He could not have wished a better teacher and friend. I shall be honoured to pay Jean my last respect next Monday .

Ellen Bax, The Hague, The Netherlands

Tim Sykes:

I have just heard the sad news about Johnny. My sincere condolences to you and the Hugel family.

I have very fond memories of your uncle, he was a charismatic and charming man. He will be missed by the wine world.

I shall be at Vinexpo and will drop by to say hello.

Kind regards,

Tim Sykes

Yasuhisa Hirose:

We are very sorry to hear this news and we really feel deepest sympathy for him.

Please accept our condolences. Our thoughts are always with you.

Best regards,

Yasuhisa Hirose

Kentaro Abe

Team Enoteca

Odila Galer-Noel:

A tremendous loss for the Hugel Family, for Alsace and for the entire wine industry.

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting Johnny only twice in my "wine life", and I am very sorry to know that I will not have the opportunity to hear the stories that many in his life--business and personal--have experienced.

My sincerest thoughts and sympathies go the entire Hugel Family.

Odila Noel and family

Andrew Parkinson :

On behalf of Negociants New Zealand I offer our sincere condolences at your loss.

Jean Hugel was a great ambassador his company and for the wines and the region of Alsace and I am sure that

his influence will be felt for many years to come.

We will raise a glass of Hommage Riesling in his honour.

Andrew Parkinson
Negociants New Zealand

Per-Kristian and Karin Lund:

I am sad to hear about Jean. He was the first man, who introduced me in to Hugel familie in sixtes.

I myself have been very ill with my diabethes and transplantation and I have be laining in bed the last year. Many greetings on David and yourself for the many years with Hugel.

Many greetings

Per-Kristian and Karin Lund
Doc Trolle Denmark

Mort Hochstein:

Johnny Hugel was the first French winemaker I ever met and I counted him as a friend for more than thirty years. His opening remarks to a group of ill informed winewriters went this way... 'you americans never know anything about alsace until the germans invade us every twenty years'.
I visited whenever I was in Alsace and shall never forget him and his wonderful family. I am proud to have been one of his thousands of friends.

Mort Hochstein

Marcel Orford Williams:

A little light of infinite brightness has been dimmed by this sad news. Johnnie was a friend and a teacher who shared his boundless energy without reservation, who made us challenge tired precepts and made us better wine merchants albeit with a curious bias towards wines in tall green bottles and yellow labels.

Johnnie was the first to know of my engagement to Fiona so he will always have a very special place in our hearts. We shall miss him dearly.

Please accept our sincere sympathies

Marcel Orford Williams
The Wine Society

Justin Weston:

I hope it is some comfort to Johnny's family to know that so many of us in the global wine family are thinking of them at this sad time. I had the honour to sell Hugel wines when I was with Jardine Wines & Spirits in Japan in the 1990's. Remarkable wines made by a remarkable family, many of whom I was lucky enough to meet on a visit to Riquewihr in 2002 to buy the wines for my wedding!

My thoughts and prayers are with all at Hugel,

Justin Weston

Jeremy Lee:

I only met the remarkable Johnnie once when holidaying in the Riquewihr area and will never forget! Even here in Slovenia, his name is known!
This is a truly sad loss, not only for the family, but the civilised wine world at large. I'm sure many, including me, will raise a glass of the finest in his living memory. My condolances to you Etienne and all the Hugel family

Jerry Lee
Slovenia Wine Tours

Rick Caudle:

I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Hugel family. The passing of Johnny was yet another sad moment in the wine industry. Johnny was a pioneer in the wines of Alsace and establishing the Hugel Law.
I will always remember his stories of WWII and the work he did to preserve France and his efforts toward the liberation of Alsace. I was touched when he was sure to fly the American Flag in the courtyard to express his appreciation to the American people. A toast of Selection de Grains Nobles to your honor Johnny!
My prayers are with you all.
Rick Caudle

Johnny had such a huge heart full of love for people, for wines, for France. He was always so welcoming - I remember when I first met him about 30 years ago as if it were today. Any and all who have had the joy of knowing him will miss him terribly. My sincere condolences to the Hugel family.
Margaret Swaine

On behalf of Australia's oldest family owned winery and the official importer of Hugel for some 20 years we join others in remembering and honoring the great character Johnny Hugel . I met him in 1978 and will not forget it. In thinking of it I want to return immediately and have him promise to continue the story telling !
He made a huge contribution to his family wine name and Alsace and his wit and largesse will be missed by all . Like others we shall toast Johnny next week in the company of our team at our conference celebrating a mere 160 years of family winemaking.

Robert Hill-Smith

Alex Bernardo:

Hugel was one of the first wines I enjoyed. That was many years ago but that distinctive yellow label is etched in my mind. I thank Mr. Hugel for that introduction to wine.

Brendan O'Toole:

The tributes that have already been posted underscore the stature of the man and the loss that his passing represents. Johnny was as much a legend, an ambassador, an inspiration as any man can be for their region and industry. Ian and I feel truly privileged to have met Johnny in Riquewihr. The warmth of his hospitality, his vigour, his humour, his graciousness … we recall with deep fondness. On behalf of everyone at Summergate we extend our most sincere condolences to Simone, Dominique and Judith, and to all members of the extended Hugel family. Although Johnny has gone, the wines and the family which he so loved and strived for throughout his life live on. We will certainly be joining the legions of Hugel fans around the world at this time in raising our own glasses here in Greater China in tribute to a truly great man.
Brendan O'Toole and Ian Ford.

Pui Hong:

Thank you very much for all the Hugel family all along done. As a wine lover from hong kong, the visit we (together with my mother) did in the year 2007 to Hugel was a lifetime highlight. i am sure that all the Hugel members will continue the spirit and great work of Johnny.
Pui Hong
Hong Kong

Andrew Higgs:

It was so sad to hear of Johnny's passing. Alsace has lost an inspirational ambassador and the wine world has lost one of its greatest characters. Meeting Johnny, either in Riquewihr or England, was always a whirlwind experience such was his enthusiasm and passion - the Hugel office will seem very quiet from now on. I am sure that I will be one of many people opening a special bottle with the yellow label to remember Johnny by this week. My sincere condolences to all the Hugel family.
Andrew Higgs

On behalf of Ta’Frenc Restaurant Gozo-Malta, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Hugel Family and all the staff employed within his winery. We will always remember our pleasure of meeting Johnny in Alsace on several occasions and as well at the opening of our wine cellar in 2005.

Our sincerest thoughts are with you and all the family.

Ino Attard
Ta'Frenc Restaurant, Malta

Please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of Jean Hugel. It has been our privilege and pleasure to be associated with your family and your fine Alsace wines for many years. While he is no longer with you in person, his values and your memories continue to live on and offer comfort in this difficult time.

Brian Cabral and the entire Stansfeld Scott team

My condolences to all members of the Hugel family for this huge loss.

When I was starting out in the wine trade I won a WSET scholarship trip to Alsace. In Riquewihr, Johnny hosted us himself; his enthusiasm, love of Alsace and total dedication made a big impression, and I still quote his "salami theory."

At the end, he opened an extra wine for us, one that was not on the list. It was the Riesling SGN 76. It was young then, and he clearly knew it was something special, but his natural instinct was to share it.

David Wrigley MW

Anthony Tabone:

1924 was certainly a good vintage...judging by how Johnny Hugel developed over the years. I can also count myself priviledged to be among the many thousands of friends he had! It was always a pleasure to be in his company and I sincerely feel that our industry lost a great member. People of his calibre and character are not that easy to come by nowadays. How sad to lose someone like Johnny.
Our consolation is that he did manage to pass on his enthusiasm to his nephews knowing fully well that they will continue carrying the Hugel family tradition.
My sincerely condolences and those of many Maltese friends go to Simone and the rest of his family as well as to the Management and Staff at Hugel.
Tony Tabone

Dr. Alan Ho:

My first visit to France was to travel the Alsace wine route beginning from Thann, and ending in Strasbourg.I was travelling with my wife and 2 daughters in the summer of 2003. How can we forget the village of Riquewhir, and the hospitality of the Hugel family ?
I brought along the book ' Wine and wars',which encapsulates the brave winemakers of France in general, and Alsatian winemaking families in particular, hoping to meet Jeanny Hugel to have him autograph it.
I was unable to meet him as he was indisposed, but was given warm welcome by Mr. Etienne Hugel who, despite his busy schedule, brought us down into his fantastic cellar where we saw the biggest wine barrels in our lives.
I want to express my commisserations to the Hugel family of their loss, Alsace's loss, and France's loss.
Generations come, generations go, but the vines spring eternal.

Alan Ho,

Frank Schneider , Berlin:

Ich hatte die große Ehre bei einer Hugel-Probe
im Hotel Adlon neben Ihm sitzen zu dürfen.
Es war ein so einprägsames Erlebnis , welches ich wirklich nicht vergessen werde.
Unter vielen Journalisten und Profis war ich einer der wenigen " einfachen Konsumenten ".
Monsieur Hugel lachte und sagte : Junger Mann,
Sie sind der Wichtigste heute hier !
Sie sind der mit dem Korkenzieher !! "

Frank Schneider, Berlin

Stefano Francini:

Etienne and Family,

Although I have never met Johnny, I know from reading history that he wine a pioneer in Alsatian wine history. My sincerest condolences to you and your family.

-Stefano Francini

Herbert Engelbert:

I vividly remember every one of my infrequent meetings with Jean Hugel. He was always positive, upbeat, and dedicated to spreading the word about wine, especially the wines of Alsace. He was one of the vintners responsible for my intronization into the Confrerie de St. Etienne in 2003. Long live Jean Hugel !
Herbert Engelbert
Newtown Square, PA, USA
Sommelier, Internationnal Wine & Food Society, Philadelphia Chapter

Fredric Koeppel:

By the way, all the wine world, as I'm sure you know, was saddened by the death of "Johnny" Hugel. By coincidence, this week I discovered in a (non-temperature-controlled) closet in the house of some friends we were helping to move a small cache of wines from Alsace, some going back to 1998. Among them was a Hugel Gewurztraminer 2001, which I opened yesterday. It was wonderful, bright, young and dynamic and tremendously satisfying. I'll be writing about these wines on my blog, but I thought that you would lke to know.

Best regards,

Fredric Koeppel

Sir Noel Power G.B.S.:

How good of you to fax me with the sad news.
Irma joins in sending our deepest condolences to Simone and the Hugel family.
I am honoured to have been a friend of Johnny Hugel. He was a giant in the world of wine - always courteous, knowledgeable and entertaining.
How fondly I remember the 80th birthday lunch in London. I shall always greatly treasure our friendship.
Irma joins in sending our fondest regards,

Sir Noel Power G.B.S.

Mark Miceli:

We are sad to learn of the passing away of the respected Jean Hugel – a paragon of quality in the wine sector and a person of admirable human qualities.

We shall pray for the repose of his soul.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Miceli
Ambassador of Malta
to the United States of America

Allen Gibbons:

We at the IWSC are all very sad to hear of Johnny's passing, he was a great supporter of the competition and it was a privilege to know him. One of my most abiding memories was chatting with him walking back to his hotel in London last year after the President’s Dinner, though when I say walking I was almost running to keep up such was his energy.

He will be sorely missed.

Allen Gibbons
Executive Director
International Wine and Spirit Competition

Peter Jakob:

I am sad to hear of the passing of Jean Hugel.
I met him last summer and we talked a few hours about the history of wine and Alsace at the Thirty Years' War. It was an outstanding experience and a great enjoyment that I will never forget.

I send my most sincere condolences to all the Hugel family.

Peter Jakob, Dortmund

Corinne Hofland:

I am so sorry to hear the loss of your dear uncle Johnny. Please accept my sincerest condolences. I do remember Uncle Jean as a great personality; an inspiring, enthusiastic and charming person of the Hugel family. It was always a pleasure to meet him in Riquewihr; his great hospitality and fascinating stories; I will never forget! Personally I cherish the last time I met him in Riquewihr, end of November 2008. During our tasting he put his head around the corner and said like always; ‘hello my dear friends…’, and he joined the tasting with of course his inspiring comments and stories .That November we had also the honor to receive a bottle of this fantastic 1976 SGN and he told me only to drink this with a very special person. Well, I did and will never forget……
My thoughts are with you and all the Hugel family.
Warm wishes,

Corinne Hofland
The Netherlands

I’ve met Uncle Johnny only once, but heard a great deal of him and his stories through my wife Corinne. A truly amazing character and absolute warm personality. A man of great knowledge and wit as well. Who else was there to tell you the vibrant and life-giving qualities of white wines in general and Hugel’s in particular? Met him only once? I’m proud I have!

My sincerest condolences to the Hugel family.

Best regards

Arthur Schobben

Thor Iverson:

Such a loss...for the family, for Alsace, and for wine. I doubt anyone who met Jean could easily forget him. And those of us in the States who love the wines of Alsace owe him an immense debt of gratitude for his tireless promotional work.
Thor Iverson

Tom Reynolds :

It is with great sadness that I read about the passing of your wonderful uncle, Jeanny. How lucky I was to have been his and Simone's guest back in 1988 on that Rotarian trip! Jeanny was my first and greatest teacher about wines and again, how fortunate to have had my "wine roots" planted initially in Alsacian wines, with the clarity of tastes of each varietal and the history of your wonderful part of the world. To have had Jeanny as my "tour guide" was to also have a real mentor. His passion, humor and joie de vivre made him one of the most compelling and unforgettable figures in my life. I feel truly blessed to have known him.
Please extend my heartfelt condolences to Simone, who was so generous to me when I was a guest in her home.
My kindest regards to you and yours, Etienne. Your uncle bragged on you a lot! I look forward to seeing you again sometime in Riquewihr and hope that you can come through here and stay with us sometime.
Tom Reynolds

Esther & Sam Sarick:

It was with great sadness that we read in the paper of "Uncle"Johny's passing.
We both remember fondly our meeting him in the shop and his teaching us that you can't taste back.
we send our condolences to you and the family and to his wife and children

Esther & Sam Sarick

Dominic Symington:

I was very sorry to hear of the very sad loss of your Uncle Johnny.

I remember him extremely well when I was starting in the wine-trade in London in the middle 1970’s. As you know there are all sorts in our business but your Uncle Johnny always had time for the young in the business, he always found time to spend a little time with us at tastings, explaining the wines, recounting stories about not only his wines but the wine-trade in general. It was always a great pleasure to be with him and I am absolutely sure that there are many, now not so young, in the wine-trade who will remember him as a kind and generous man who always had the interests and the education of the young at heart.

It was therefore for me in particular, a great pleasure to meet him again in the PFV family at some of the events that have been organized.

I know that Paul has also written to you but please pass on my personal condolences to all your family as I remember a very special person.

With my deepest sympathy

Dominic Symington

CH’NG Poh Tiong :

Johnny was a very dear friend.

Whenever I saw him (not often enough), he always made me – and everyone else around him – laughed.

I once joked to Johnny that the reason his family has been doing it for so long was because it was still trying to get it right. He laughed.

Then there was the time, some 20 years ago, when we were invited to judge wines for pouring on South African Airways. The other three international judges were Hugh JOHNSON, Pamela VAN DYKE PRICE and Alexis BESPALOFF.

After a week of judging in the Cape, the judges went our separate ways.

We were staying the whole week in the private accommodation of a winery.

Johnny and I were the last two to leave. While we were waiting for our respective cars, I noticed that the gardeners were mowing the lawn and, to be honest, making a bit of a racket.

“How considerate of our hosts, that they postponed the gardening until the day of our departure,” I observed, adding,“in Singapore, a house like this with so much ground would cost a bomb and, even if one were to own one, the proprietor would probably not be able to afford five gardeners, because domestic help is so very expensive.”

Johnny didn’t bat an eyelid before replying, “In France it’s even worse. We have to marry.”

People who make us laugh never really die. We just miss them more.

CH’NG Poh Tiong

Tony Aspler:

Deborah and I were so sorry to hear of Uncle Johnny’s passing. We know he had been ill with cancer and trust that it was a merciful release from the pain he must have suffered. I met Johnny in 1985 on my first visit to Alsace and have many found memories of him, not the least of which was our Alsace tour in 2008 with our Pauwels Travel group. We all loved his performance and could have stayed in the cellar with him for hours. He will be sorely missed.

Tony Aspler

Michael Willis:

While I hope this finds you all well we were saddened to read of the death of Uncle Johnny. He was a true legend throughout the wine world. We all share your loss but also know that Hugel is in very capable hands that guarantees the certainty of success for many years to come. Hope to see you soon but always know that you're in our thoughts.
Michael Willis

IN VINO Belgrade:

I have just found out the sad news. I have that privilege to meet Jean Hugel,
that great man, who revealed to me in only half an hour so much life wisdoms,
as much as you can not hear from some people for their whole life. Your family, Alsace,
like the whole world of wine had been left without great founder, but also with the great heritage,
which will inspire future generations.

Warm hug from all of us.

Ćira, Božana, Marija, Jelena


Arlene Willis:

Please extend our sincere condolences on the death of your "Uncle Johnny" to you and your family from Michael and I. Thank you for affording us the distinct honor of having met him on many occasions at Hugel et Fils in Alsace. He was an amazing man and I'm sure his death will leave a void in your heart and that of your family.

Take care,

Arlene Willis

Aidan MacManus:

My Deepest sympathy to you and all. A very sad day for the house of Hugel and the world of wine,a real legend who will be sorely missed.

I will fly to Frankfort on Sunday and will be in Riquewihr Sunday afternoon and depart on Tuesday. Could you please book me in somewhere? Joan will not be able to travel,so please convey her best wishes and thoughts to Simone.

See you on Sunday.

Aidan MacManus
King Sitric Restaurant, Howth, Dublin

Guy Nightingale:

I am so sorry to hear the very sad news about Johnny. I shall never forget my time staying with you in 1987 leading up to the harvest. He has given me along with both of you such enthusiasm re the wines of Alsace. I remember talking to him on a journey to the airport all about his past in the Army and wine trade.
He will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with you during this very hard time.
With best wishes,
Guy Nightingale

Ritta Roosaar:

It is a sad news for the Hugel Family and for entire wine community.

We have lost a pioneer and guiding light. Although I have only met Jean once, his shiny personality and tremendous wisdom left unforgettable memory.

My sincerest thoughts and sympathies go to the entire Hugel Family.

Ritta Roosaar and all saff from restaurants "Karl Friedrich", "Balthasar", "Postiposs" and "Paat". Estonia

Richard Girling:

I wanted to send my personal condolences to you and your family for the very sad loss of Johnny.

Having only met him once when Colin, Steve & I visited Riquewihr I could see what a huge character he was. He had immense passion for the region, and certainly made history with the region’s ultimate recognition of the great late harvest and SGN wines.

It is certainly a great sadness to lose one of the Trade’s greatest and highly respected characters, my thoughts are with you and your family and wish you all well.

We will continue to establish the wines of Hugel in the flagship eateries in London as I am sure Johnny would have liked.

Regards as ever,

Richard Girling


We all would like to send you our deepest sympathies on your sad loss.

He will be greatly missed by everybody who knew him, particularly those who, like us, had the good fortune to personally meet him.

I can only guess at your feelings.

With kindest regards,

Your Sincerely,





Guy & Mika Rigby:

Sadly I never had the chance to meet your dear Uncle Jeanny but I know how much he meant to you and your family. Our condolences to you on his passing. I believe we have one bottle of the Hommage a Jean Hugel Riesling left and we will drink a toast to him and all he has done for Alsace this weekend.

warmest wishes
Guy & Mika Rigby

Kim MacDonald & David Barron:

It is with shock and sadness that we learned, through an article in the National Post newspaper in Canada, of the news that the wonderfully larger than life Johnny Hugel had died.
Our association with Hugel goes back to 1982 as teachers working with the Canadian military stationed just over the boarder in Germany. On our many trips to Hugel to enjoy their wines in the tasting room we met Mr. Hugel several times and on one occasion he asked us to sign their special guest book. We did not realize the significance of the event and I proceeded to draw a cartoon of our meeting. It was only years later that we realized the book had been started during WWII and that he had bestowed a great honour on us. That is how he was, welcoming and kind to a fault , especially to anyone who enjoyed Hugel and indeed Alsace wines. A model for us all. I think we'll crack one of our '76 Vandage Tardives in his honour.

Kim MacDonald & David Barron
Toronto, Canada

Bruce Tyrrell:

Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your uncle. He was one of the great characters of the world wine industry which today can ill afford to lose them. Please pass our sympathies on to the rest of your family.
Bruce Tyrrell

Dear Etienne & family,

May I extend mysincere sympathy and condolences as you grapple with such an immense loss. Though- we have all, throughout the world, both consumers and the wine trade alike, gained immensely from such a great spirit having walked amonst us.
No doubt his gentle hand will guide you along your way, his humour uplift you spirits should they slip, and his wisdom lighten your path.
It is only fitting that so many whom have written will celebrate your great Uncle with a glass of golden sweet nectar-heaven sent.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Roisin Furlong
Dundas,ON Canada

Allan Cheesman:

I had the privelege of meeting Johnny in 1982 when he was "persuaded" to supply a Hugel wine to Sainsburys in the UK! Full of life and energy he was one of the real characters of the wine trade and I am truly grateful that I have known him. The Hugel family of course lives on but the bit that was Johnny Hugel is now gone!! I bet he is currently talking non stop to St Peter and most probably asking him for a cigarette!!!!!!

Best wishes to all and lets cherish his memory

Allan Cheesman London UK

David Schildknecht:

Has ever a single individual so epitomized the strengths and destiny of a wine growing region as Jean Hugel did those of Alsace?

It was always impossible to think of him without becoming infused with the enthusiasm for wine that he exuded, and now it is impossible to think of him without dedicating one's self to better honoring the gift of wine, and of Johnny Hugel.

David Schildknecht

Hayo Cölle:

Jean Hugel and the Hugel family was always a high honoured friend of mine and the Segnitz family. I have a nice photo of a meeting in Riquewihr in May 2008 when he explained the problems of this world I will never forget this serious Wineman.

Hayo Cölle
retired General Manager
of A. Segnitz & Co. Bremen

Victor Castellani:

August 20, 1984: The unforgettable day I first met the unforgettable Johnny.

I shall celebrate that occasion's quarter-centennial in the German Pfalz, but with a bottle of his wine--a ripe Tokay d'Alsace that I tasted with him at a more recent meeting.

I saw him four times in all, most happily with my wife Cheryl in July 2006, after we had read about his youthful heroism in the excellent 2002 book WINE AND WAR: THE FRENCH, THE NAZIS, AND THE BATTLE FOR FRANCE'S GREATEST TREASURE.

Three summers ago Johnny was still robust in spirit that we both remember fondly--himself one of France's greatest treasures.

Although I recall his lively disdain for the monotheistic religions, nevertheless I pray:
requiescat in quam optime merita pace.

With condolences to the family and close friends and associates,

Victor Castellani
University of Denver

Romeo Sia:

My condolences to your family, Etienne. I feel sad for your uncle's passing.

As someone just starting in the wine appreciation and wine trade, I didn't know your uncle. But based on what I have read about him reading by the people who knew him well, I can see that you have all the great qualities of your uncle.

You certainly made me feel welcomed when I went to your booth even though you don't know me and Philippines is just a very small market. Your passion and genuine enthusiasm made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. I hope I shall have the opportunity to introduce your fabulous wines (which you generously let me taste last week at the VinExpo) to the people of the Philippines soon. Again, thank you very much.

Best wishes,
Romeo Sia, Wine Story, Manila, Philippines

Adrian Laird Craig:

I only met him once, in awe, but was put immediately at ease.
He was a hero, how proud you must be amongst the debris of his loss. He'll already be working on the other side, tirelessly, though probably SGN 76 is a normal everyday drink up there!
We show your wines tomorow at a dinner in Edinburgh, very thoughtfuly, and will raise a glass.
With sympathy,
Adrian Laird Craig
Inverarity-Vaults, Scotland

We were deeply grieved at Jean's loss.
He was a great man and it will be impossible to forget him. We are close to Simone and all Hugel family in this moment of great sadness.
Vittorio Moretti and his family

Paul Pearce:

Having been abroad I missed the notice in the Daily Telegraph announcing the very sad death in June of your uncle Jean, - hence the very late date of this note

Johnny was so well known, loved and respected worldwide that I am sure you have been inundated with letters of condolence, but I do wish to add a few words of my own.

As you know, J H Jaffe and Co were Channel Island's agents for Hugel et Fils for over 40 years. I joined Jaffe in 1968 as assistant to John Picot. In the early days we sold a good range of Hugel Vins d'Alsace to several of the Wholesale Wine Merchants who then operated in the Islands. Promoting wine to restaurants and hotels was one of my first jobs for the Company and I very much enjoyed it. Selling Hugel Wines was a delight. The excellent quality of the product was enhanced by the personal contact with Johnny who was always so ready to share his enthusiasm, passion and encylopaediac knowledge of all things gastronomic! Our customers, the Jersey and Guernsey Wine Merchants, regarded your uncle as a personal friend and eagerly looked forward to the Hugel annual tasting and lunch in Jersey which was always very well attended.

Johnny was so very kind to us at Jaffe. Despite the relatively small size of our market and thus limited sales he always made sure to visit us in the islands and gave us as much attention as if we were a major customer. We were always included. The perquisites included invitations to the annual Trade Tastings and lunches he hosted on his visits to the UK. I was so pleased to attend several of these occasions and especially your Grandfather's 90th Birthday celebrations at Claridges, and later Johnny's 70th at the Savoy and then 80th Birthday party at Le Gavroche in London.

I was so very sorry when the contraction of the CI Market meant the cessation in 2008 of Jaffe's wine-selling operations and the subsequent move of the Hugel agency to our remaining major customers in Jersey and Guernsey.

Everybody mattered to your uncle Jean and he always made us at Jaffe feel "part of the bigger picture". It was a real pleasure to work for and with him.
I am very sure that I join many, many others in the deep regret and loss I feel at his passing.

What a man! I am sure his spirit lives on.

May I express sincere condolences to you and all members of the family on your sad loss.

Yours sincerely

Paul Pearce

John L Kennedy:

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Jean Hugel.

May I express my condolences to Marc and all the Hugel family on the passing of a legend who made friends around the world.

It was always fun to meet Johnny on many trips to Riquewihr and such a pleasure to transport him into his vineyards in a vintage Rolls-Royce even older than him. He seemed to know everyone we passed and driving through Ribeauville to see his daughter or through the even narrower cobbled streets of Riquewihr he was in his element.

I have such fond memories of one visit in September 1993. After travelling round the vineyards with Johnny, then sampling (of course!) some wonderful vintages, there was a comment about birthdays. His was the following week; mine was the week after. He asked if it was a 'big' birthday - I said that it was. He then disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a bottle which he said was a birthday present - 'to be drunk on my birthday with just a few friends who would appreciate it'. It was a wine from 'my' year - 1943, made during the war and with all the difficulties that entailed. I did as I was told and opened this amazing bottle of Gewurztraminer on my big day.
What a taste - especially when taken a drop at a time.

Thank you Johnny. That wonderful gift and your memory both remain so vividly.

John L Kennedy

Roddy McDonald:

Whilst working for Peter Thomson(Perth)Ltd I had the privelege of meeting Johnny and hosting a dinner with him in Edinburgh.He was larger than life, I always remember him saying" Some people think my wines develop and peak after 3 years and then go downhill, but I tell you they just level out and go on and on" I have a picture of him and his old friend Parry de Winton with the entire PT sales staff, I will send you a copy!My sincere condolences to the family, he is a hard act to follow.
Roddy McDonald

Gerald McCarthy:

Dear Hugel Family,

In 1996 my wife and I had the grand pleasure of Johnny Hugel giving us a tasting and a tour of his grand wines at the winery. This was a memorable experience, made so by his exhuberant personality, extensive knowledge, and sheer joy in sharing it all with us.

A few years earlier we had met him at a special dinner at Paul and Marie Elbling's La Petite France in Richmond, and enjoyed the Confrerie de Ste Etienne presentations and honors.

He was so true to his calling and his heritage and we send our sincerest sympathies and appreciation for his life to his family.


Jerry McCarthy

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