I'll be working with Isabelle this semester, along with four other CEA students. Isabelle has a French blog (femivin.com) and American blog (winewomanworld.com - this blog is not updated as often because Isabelle only speaks French), and she wrote a book called Elle et Bacchus. This book was the first wine guide to be published that is devoted entirely to women. She wants to get more women involved in wine culture, because she discovered (through her own observation and eventually research at a university in France) that women have a stronger sense of taste then men. The reason for this is linked to evolution: long ago, while men hunted, women were responsible for finding plants that were safe to eat. Years of meal preparation has given women more sensitive taste buds than men. So, Isabelle asks, why aren't we asking more women about wine?
As members of the Wine Team, the other CEA students and I will have a variety of responsibilities. Isabelle would like to update her American blog, so we will translate articles she writes from French to English. She is working on developing an e-book version of her wine guide, which I am particularly interested in helping with. Additionally, she would like to create an online boutique to sell wine accessories to an American audience, which we will also be helping her with.
Unlike the Cannes Film Festival interns, the wine team works with Isabelle during the semester in addition to working during the festival. In exchange for our help, Isabelle will teach the wine team members about wine culture: how to taste wine, describe wine, pair wine with food, etc. Her grandparents owned a vineyard, so she has been surrounded by wine and wine culture all her life and consequently has a lot of knowledge to share with us.
Isabelle usually has us over to her house for dinner when we meet. This picture shows ham wrapped around cheese on small slices of bread, with the first bottle of wine we drank. This dinner was an "apéritif dinette," which is when you have lots of small entrées instead of a dinner with an entrée, main dish and dessert (according to Isabelle it's a very popular dining style in France right now).
I feel so lucky to be able to work with Isabelle! I'll be able to get even more practice speaking French, and I'll learn a lot about an important part of French culture: wine.
Lucy Havens is the 2014 CEA MOJO for the French Riviera. She is currently a junior at Carnegie Mellon University.
Read more about our CEA Content Creators.