Hello from Aix!
Is time moving as fast for you as it is for me? It is already MIDTERMS here at IAU! How did that happen so fast?!
Since my last post, I feel like I made some big strides in the right direction and I am excited to share them with you… A few weeks ago, I travelled to Nice and watched the sunrise from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Last weekend, I spent three days in Bordeaux where I got to see the new wine museum, Cite de Vin, go wine tasting at a beautiful vineyard in St. Emilion, and indulge in some of the most delicious pastries in the world while sitting next to the Garonne river.
I have been learning more and more French every day, and finally know enough to hold (rather short) conversations with my French host family. I go to the market and find fresh vegetables, meats, and cheeses to use for dinner, I go into wine shops and buy wines that I have never heard of, and I’ve been baking cakes and cookies with my host mom, converting every “cup,” “pound,” and “teaspoon” into grams. Needless to say, I am learning so much!
Speaking of learning, I have been wanting to write about the Wine Studies Certificate and overall wine education I am receiving here for some time now. For those of you who do not know, Linfield’s Wine Studies department has partnered with IAU to provide an opportunity for students to travel to Aix-en-Provence, France for one semester to study wine. At the end of the semester, the student emerges with a Global Wine Studies Certificate. Ergo, “Hello from Aix!” ?
My curriculum consists of a Biochemistry and Chemistry of Wine course, a Wine Marketing course, a Food and Wine Pairing for the Sommelier course, and a French language class that, oddly enough, is kind of like a wine course in its practical application when I go to the local wine shop and speak with the French wine steward!
Other classes that IAU offers for the certificate are an International Wine Trade course, an Overview of Wine course, and a course on Major Wine Regions and Economics.
Overall, the education here is wonderful. Why? Because the topic at hand is an integral part of the French culture and way of life. It is everywhere, inside and outside of the classroom, and therefore it is truly an immersive field of study. If you are a wine studies student who has taken the 200 level wine courses from Linfield and is planning on travelling to Aix to obtain the Global Wine Studies Certificate, you will most likely find that there is a considerable amount of overlap on the information shared when you get to IAU. However, I believe that this is nothing but a testament to Linfield’s wine education – it is thorough, relevant, and comprehensive on a global scale. It makes me feel good knowing that the information we are receiving in the classrooms in McMinnville, Oregon is the same as the information they share some 5,600 miles away in Provence, France.
Overall, if you are considering this program, would like to learn more about wine from a global perspective, or are looking to solidify your foundational knowledge of wine, I recommend this program. However, if you are looking for something more intense and challenging, I might recommend considering other options. The course work here has been straightforward and the homework is minimal (knock on wood…)! This allows for ample time to explore, reflect, and enjoy where you are for three short months of your life.
I hope you are well, I will check back in after midterms are over!