Each year, the students of the Wine & Management Programme have the chance to delve into the heart of the Cognac region to discover the history of the appellation, the terroir, the economy, industry structure and secrets of production.
For three days, five producers welcome the programme's students, accompanied by Mr Franck Ramage, head of the programme, Mr Ben Preston, translator, and Mr David Boileau, Cognac ambassador with the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).
The first day, Mr David Boileau unveile the secrets of the Cognac appellation, giving students a better understanding of the history and the specifics of Cognac, from its production to tasting. They then had the opportunity to taste the Tesseron Extrême cuvée, a blend of more than 100 year old Cognacs. A unique experience!
The second day, the group start by visiting Cognac Delamain. Delamain is one of the oldest names in the business, and has been in Jarnac since 1824. The Delamain Cognac House is synonymous with tradition. Delamain is specialised in the maturation of top quality spirit, basing its business on traditional, artisanal Cognac.
The next visit is to Frapin in Segonzac. Located in Grande Champagne at the Château de Fontpinot, the estate of the Frapin family was founded in 1270. The family farms more than 240 hectares respecting traditions, taking into account of known and controlled parameters such as the biology of the vine and its parasites, climatic conditions, soil etc
The group then tour the estate of Hennessy Cognac, whose distillery was founded by Richard Hennessy in 1765. Students were especially interested by Hennessy's desire to innovate.
To round off the day, students watched barrels being engraved at the Doreau cooperage.
On the third day, Mr David Boileau do a presentation of Cognac’s economy and trade structure for students. In the early 2000's, sales boomed, thanks mainly to the American and Chinese markets. Interestingly, 5 bottles of Cognac are consumed every second. However, Cognac represents only 1% of world spirit sales.
The group then visit Remy Martin, where students are treated to a presentation of their knowledge and passion for Cognac. The visit was followed by a tasting of several cognacs (XO and VSOP), along with macaroons and appetizers.
The students continued with a discovery of Paul Giraud Cognacs, a sanctuary and an invaluable opportunity for them to taste the unique, the crème de la crème of brandies, but also to discover outstanding savoir-faire, a heritage of tradition.
The group finish the trip by visiting De Luze Cognac. Since 1640, the Boinaud family has been producing Cognacs in strict compliance with the demanding Cognac appellation.
This trip to Cognac is an opportunity for students to learn about Cognac from vineyard to glass: distillation, maturation, cooperage, blending and bottling.
Every year, students are given the opportunity to follow different journeys of discovery of the region, its estates and producers.
I was, once again, delighted by our trip: the experience was extremely enriching and I really enjoyed discovering Cognac. Visiting the different Cognac Houses provides a thorough understanding of their style and philosophy. Not forgetting the Doureau cooperage visit, because I hadn’t realized the importance of wood in influencing different styles of Cognac. In addition, the meetings with David Boileau teach us so much and, I would go as far to say, are essential in order to fully understand the history and economy of Cognac. From a professional point of view there are, without a doubt, many development opportunities in the field of oenotourism.
I was very happy when I found out that one of our trips would be to Cognac. I really wanted to see the production methods and all the cellars. It was interesting to learn about the different facets of Cognac, from small wine-growers to large groups. At first glance, the programme seemed to have a lot of visits for just one product, but by visiting lots of different Cognac Houses we were able to understand the differences in quality, style, production and the way in which the different Cognac Houses are run. We always received a very warm welcome in a magnificent setting. I would like to thank Le Cordon Bleu once again for enabling us to have such amazing experiences: we are extremely lucky!
Our class visited a variety of cognac houses from smaller and more "artisan style" houses such as Tesseron to very famous and large ones such as Hennessy. We were able to taste numerous selections of cognacs and we also had food pairings with each. Every host was extremely hospitable and made me feel so welcome and at-ease especially.Getting to see the hands-on approach each distiller takes was also very special. . It was truly an incredible experience to be across the world tasting cognac that is very special to me! This trip was quite luxurious too as the château we stayed in was very classic French and ornate.
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