“A Field Study on French Wine, Culture and History”
We had a rather small group of 3 female students and 2 male students this year, which made a homey atmosphere.
We arrived in Bordeaux through Amsterdam. In Bordeaux, we had Mme. Toki again as an interpreter. At CIVB, we had a seminar on the launch of new wine information using mobile phones, the reorganization of Bordeaux appellation. At Rothschild Winery Centre, we learnt about their various environmental activities. For the first time, we visited Chateau Lagrange which is owned by Suntory France. It is a beautiful chateau with a pond with swans, surrounded by vineyards. Mr. Shiina gave us detailed explanation in Japanese on the different types of vineyard in this property. We subsequently purchased the wine from this chateau as a souvenir. At Chateau Lafite Rothschild, one of the top five chateaux of Bordeaux, we had the privilege of tasting a precious wine from the 70s. The unfortunate fact was that all the students had not yet developed taste for red wine, and they took only few sips of this precious wine. I am certain that they will regret this in the future... The last day in Bordeaux was spent in St. Emilion, which is a world heritage site.
After Bordeaux, we took a train to Sarlat, where a goose festival was taking place, with many shoppers and stoles selling foie-gras. After having a delicious lunch together, we rejoined with our guide to go to Rocamadour. This is a middle age pilgrimage town made on the wall of cliff. We heard that the town was destroyed badly during the Religious War and the French Revolution, and had been restored since then. It was a beautiful town despite the unfavorable weather we had. We then headed to Toulouse, and spent our Sunday in Arbi visiting the famous cathedral.
After spending the weekend learning about French culture and history, we had a series of visits and seminars on Monday. We visited the wine cooperative of Gaillac, the Vine Research Institute of south-west, and a special nursery where we had a very interesting visit observing how different types of grafting plants were produced. Although Gaillac wine is not as well-known as Bordeaux or Bourgogne wine, we could see that the producers are dedicated to producing good wine. We are extremely grateful to Mr. Rousillon, the former Chef of the South-West Region Cooperative, who has made all the arrangements and who have treated us so well.
Our last days were spent in Paris. We had an enjoyable luncheon seminar with Ms. Miyake of Suntory France, and an interesting seminar with Mr. Sanchez of OIV. The students learnt that Paris is full of thieves as we encountered them, yet it was fortunate that nothing serious has happened to our group.
We had truly memorable and valuable experiences in all the places we visited during this field study, and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who had made this visit possible.