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CEA Paris Alumna Transforms Learning into Profession

November 16, 2012
by CEA CAPA Content Creator
  When I signed up to go to Paris with CEA, I went with an open mind and a willingness to learn about a city and society I knew nothing about. Along with this attitude I chose to study the Enology class offered. I knew nothing about wine, but I figured that it would be a great opportunity to study wine while in the country of France. The course opened my mind to a whole new culture and industry that I had no idea existed: wine. My Enology professor, Olivier Magny, was very knowledgeable and experienced in the wine industry and I learned so much from him. Fortunately he also owns one of the best wine bars in Paris, where I could go after class and actually see and taste the wines and varieties we were studying in class. This hands on part was where I learned the most. I began to understand how wines taste, are classified, and labeled. Not only did Olivier teach me about tasting wine, but he also taught me about the ethical and controversial practices of winemaking. I gained an appreciation for French winemakers and the history of wine. This part is what I find most fascinating about wine.

  Since returning to the United States, I have furthered my education and experience in wine. I searched out jobs where I could work with wine and I landed a position being a tasting room assistant for a local winery near my school in San Luis Obispo, CA. The tasting room is an old historic school house in the Edna Valley called Baileyana. This job has brought me more happiness and fulfillment than any other job I have held in the past. I get to interact with new people visiting our winery each day in a beautiful setting surrounded by colorful vineyards. Each day I work I gain new knowledge about wine from the tastings, the winemakers, and from visiting other local wineries. I use my knowledge from the Enology class each day when I describe wine to our customers during tastings. I also have joined a club on my campus called Vines to Wines where we have winemakers come and speak to us about the current wine markets and we do a tasting with their wine. I also took a position working for DAOU Vineyards in Paso Robles for promotional pieces and events. 

  My experience with wine while abroad in Paris has forever changed my outlook on my academic and professional career. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to take the Enology class because it helped me to find something new that I am enthusiastic about. Wine has not only become a new direction in my career path, but it has also become my passion. In the future after I graduate college I plan on continuing my work in the wine industry. I hope to become more invested in a winery by taking a full time position. I hope to gain some experience in the wine making process also. I can see myself working in the marketing side of wine. I plan on attending an educational sommelier program and my dream would be to own a winery sometime in the future. 

Jody Watkins
CEA Paris Alumna
French Culture & Society
Summer 2012

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