à plus tard, Bordeaux; salü Turckheim!

School’s. Out. For. Summer! It’s brilliant to have all the assignments behind us now. (Actually, all but one. A surprise take-home exam snuck its way onto the roster juuuuust before the last day of school. But, mentally and certainly geographically as much as one can say that, the semester is over, and that’s what’s important.) We have put a lid on the technical audit that has consumed our time for the last two months, culminating in our final presentations.

The fruits of our labour! A lot of work analysing the domaine, including the age of the vines (these ones were just planted), the soil, and the vigour (like how fast they start budding). Excel spreadsheets galore. Some moments of insight! And finally one of the presentations.

The fruits of our labour: a lot of work analyzing the vineyard, including the age of the vines (these ones were just planted), the soil, and the vigour (like how fast they start budding). Spreadsheets galore. Some moments of insight! And we’re finally ready to present.

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here comes the sun

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune, must be in need of more wine. In a pinch, a half-decent fortune will do. Or in times of great need any spare change in the wallet will suffice. You know, whatever is available can always be converted, magically, into a bottle of ambrosia. With the change in seasons – a whopping 22°C (or 72°f) this weekend – I’ve been on the hunt for lighter reds and more whites. Fortunately both temperature and opportunity conspire fortuitously to bring Alsace to the Médoc, in the form of a visit by Becker wines – the same that seem to keep cropping up in my blog and on my wine shelf – and otherwise an outdoorsy weekend in the sun.

Scenes around Bordeaux: my morning run to the river; sheep safely graze on campus, an old Romanesque church in Moulis-en-Médoc glistens in the sun. The Garonne River mirrors the lights from Place de la Bourse. And is that a giant sundial or the helical obelisk in Place de la Victoire? What time is it...? Time for a drink!

Scenes around Bordeaux: my morning run to the river; sheep may safely graze on campus, an old Romanesque church in Moulis-en-Médoc glistens in the sun. The Garonne River mirrors the lights from Place de la Bourse. And is that a giant sundial or the helical obelisk in Place de la Victoire – what time is it, you ask…? Time for a drink!

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here’s looking at you, alsace

“It’s possible that I have some control issues…” I begin saying, but my friend’s chuckles cut me off before I can finish the thought …after nine years of being a project manager… Dammit. OK, there’s probably some truth in that, particularly as I’m determined to write about the past week in chronological order, even though the bits at the beginning of the week are suspiciously blurry. After three days in Alsace, stumbling about in a food-and-drink stupor, you’ll understand why I leave you with mostly pictures for this post. Apologies for the brevity of this post (though 1000 words x # pictures… surely counts for something?), but it’s another busy week which I’ll get to in the next post (coming soon, as there was too much to put into one entry). Read More

the belles of st emilion

Internet watch: it is now 14 days since the technician was here. Me: 0; French administration in the service sector: 1.

Making sure we know a little about what we're tasting.

Making sure we know a little about what we’re tasting.

There’s no accounting for taste. We start the week out with an introduction to our audit teams. There are three different companies and six different teams involved, to identify what’s going on with the fiscal numbers from real wine estates in the Bordeaux area. We have almost two months to complete the work, so you can imagine that it’s going to be complex. The first half of the exercise will be to decipher the French documentation and accounting style and identify a few areas worth further analysis. I’m going to need a few drinks for this one… Fortunately, there’s an international wine dinner schedule early in the week. This is our opportunity to a) drink wines not from Bordeaux, which is harder to come by than you may expect, if you’re located in Canada or the US, where availability of a wide variety is the norm. And b) mingle with the other wine students here at the school. It’s my first time drinking Russian wine (no, no, not vodka), so truly an international experience! Read More

all the world’s a stage

Talk about an awkward ele-vader encounter.

Talk about an awkward ele-vader encounter.

Although I like to tell myself that I am the soul of wit and easy repartee in English (constantly…validation is so comforting!), it’s becoming painfully obvious that I’m nowhere close in French. Generously, I’m about the level of awkward elevator dialogue: my conversational one-two punch is 1) the weather and 2) how’s it going..? – with the hope that the answer is a simple ‘fine’, or ‘ça va’ as, with nothing left in my verbal arsenal, my follow up usually reverts back to 1) the weather. Fortunately, I am somewhat less terrible at hearing and understanding French, more so in person than, for example, over the phone. I’ve made much more progress here, but I need to focus very hard to pick up on facial and vocal cues to understand the words and context. Were I to be less forgiving, I might admit that it probably looks suspiciously like staring. So: awkward elevator encounter with someone who says next to nothing and stares, probably stands too close, and that’s French me in a nutshell. (I’m a hoot. We should totally hang out some time.) …This is why I prefer to communicate via email. Read More