Every year, the Wine and Management Programme, taught by Franck Ramage, trains around twenty students of all ages and nationalities: American, Indian, Chinese, Korean, French, etc. These students all come from different backgrounds and their knowledge of the wine industry varies greatly, ranging from novice to the well-informed enthusiast.
Students follow theory lessons on oenology and French vine-growing and wine-producing geography. On the practical side, 3 work placements totalling 10 weeks are carried out: 15 days with a winegrower and the other two with an importer, cellar master, agent, or starred restaurant. They also carry out food and wine pairings and numerous tastings throughout the year.
Every year, Wine and Management students go on educational trips to deepen their knowledge of the world of wine. These trips provide them with the opportunity to discover the history of the estate, to meet cellar masters and to taste exceptional wines. We joined them on their latest trip to the Rhone Valley.
Day 1 :
The trip began in Ampuis with a visit of the Stéphane Ogier Estate, a winegrower in the Côte Rôtie. This estate dates back over seven generations. Stéphane Ogier joined the estate in 1997 and focused on discovering new terroirs. The elegance and finesse from his previous experience in Burgundy are still evident and are key characteristics of his wines. During the visit, students were able to taste numerous wines and also understand the evolution of different vintages and terroirs.
The students continued with a foray into the terraced vineyard of Côte-Rôtie with Alexis Gerin, of the eponymous estate. The vines are situated on extremely steep land with a 40% to almost 60% incline. They then went on to carry out a tasting.
The first day ended with a visit and tasting at the Georges Vernay Estate in Condrieu. This estate has played a significant role in the history of the Rhone Valley, thanks to Georges Vernay saving the Condrieu appellation at the beginning of the last century, but also today thanks to the international recognition of the Côte-Rôtie vinified by Christine Vernay.
Day 2 :
The 2nd day began with a visit to the Chapoutier Estate which has been in the Rhone Valley for two hundred years, but also in Roussillon, Alsace, Portugal and Australia. The Chapoutier Estate produces exceptional wines: Hermitage, Côte Rôtie, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Saint-Joseph, Crozes Hermitage etc. The cultivation of these vineyards is either organic or biodynamic out of respect for the terroir.
The group then visited the Hauts Chassis Estate, located in the south of the Crozes-Hermitage appellation. Franck Faugier told the group how important he believes it is to respect the fruit and the vine (green harvesting, leaf removal and manual harvesting) in order to allow consumers to experience the full complexity of Syrah based wines.
To round off the day, students took part in a tasting at the unassuming estate of Vincent Paris. A winegrower since 1997, he created his estate with one hectare of vines belonging to his grandfather and, since 2007, has owned eight hectares from which he makes an exceptional cuvée: “Geynale”.
Day 3 :
The last day began with a vineyard visit followed by a tasting in the cellars of the Château de Beaucastel. The estate is made up of 100 hectares of vineyard of which ¾ are in Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC (Registered Designation of Origin) and ¼ in Côtes-du-Rhône AOC (Registered Designation of Origin). The Perrin family continues blending 13 historic Châteauneuf-du-Pape grape varieties to create a unique style every year.
Lastly, the group had a tour and tasting of the wines at Philippe Viret’s estate. An estate which is committed to using production methods which respect biological, biodynamic and cosmic balance: cosmoculture. This is a practice which aims to return energy to the vines via an interconnection between the sky and the earth.
The students are now getting ready for their next trip: a discovery of Alsace wines.