It all began one day with just a simple dinner at the school’s fine dining restaurant, Le Tacot. A couple of students were enjoying their bleu steak and roasted lamb rack with a bottle of local Pinot Noir and Chile’s Merlot dinner after a long week.
The dinner was about to end when the waiter suggested they try a bottle of sweet Angeline. Facing the fact that both of them shared the same passion in wine, they were not able to refuse this offer. After some thirty more minutes had passed, the conversation turned from common chitchat about everything to something more specific: wine. Even after the dinner had ended and almost all the guests of the restaurant had already gone to enjoy the rest of the evening, they were still sitting there talking until it was already late in the evening and it was time to leave.
Dear reader, as you could probably comprehend, I (WSET level 2) was one of the guests who made the waiters wait until we finished our bottle of Angeline. On the next day, my friend Lily (CMS Introductory Sommelier) who was sharing the table with me at this wonderful dinner came up to me with an idea:
“Danila! Yesterday I was not able to sleep and kept thinking about our conversation and …” – Lily stopped for a while – “and… I know we are not the only ones who have this passion for wine. Remember the couple sitting close to us, and those people at the table for six, and what about all the waiters who know exactly what to recommend?” I could see that Lily started breathing more rapidly.
“I think I know what we should do! Because wine is not a simple alcoholic liquid, which people should just swallow, it is much more, and we should make much more out of it as well…” – she stopped for a second again and kept thinking.
I could almost see her thoughts sparking all around: “what do you think if we organize something like a wine club, where all the Les Roches students will be able to share our passion in wine with us?” To me, this is the moment we will remember as the birth of the Les Roches Wine Club (LRWC).
Lily and I had a vision for LRWC. As one of the top hotel schools in the world, we feel that it is important to embody the spirit of service in combination with the knowledge and passion for wine.
We wanted to nurture the knowledge as well as spark interest and passion into future hoteliers of the industry in a fun, knowledgeable manner by organizing trips, having lectures, weekly wine tastings and socializing sessions for members and those interested to come and share the passion.
THE LAUNCH OF THE CLUB
More time had passed and shortly after, Lily organized a meeting for us to discuss all the details with the F&B Director of the school and everything was set. We were given a location, advisory teachers and support from the school. Straight after the meeting we started thinking about getting more members in order to run the Wine Club in a more efficient way and to finally get going with the project. Christopher Shen agreed to be our treasurer and a couple of days later we started posting the advertisements.
Wednesday, the 2nd of October was the launch of LRWC to the public. We received a lot of positive feedback from the meeting, where we introduced our ideas and vision as well as asking prospective members for their opinions about the club.
Due to the fact that a large segment of our school is F&B oriented, we were afraid that there would be too many people interested, but in the end, due to LRWC being a self-funding organization, we managed to cultivate 18 members, the perfect amount to be a part of the LRWC family and we are happy.
As you can see, Lily and I were the ones to start this project we now call our baby, thus we have called ourselves the Founding Members. Christopher is our Treasurer, but we felt that we needed more. Therefore, on the first gathering we gave out the surveys to our members on their expectations, their level of commitment as well as how much they are willing to pay. We gave them the option of applying for the LRWC Core Team positions of: PR Manager and Assistant Manager, and Trip Manager and Assistant Manager, and we were able to fill the spots in time for the second meeting!
LES ROCHES WINE
After all positions were filled, we could finally start operating LRWC with the first plan of action being creating Les Roches Wine. Organized by Le Tacot’s service instructor Ms. Sylvie Fornage, a local winery in Corin, Cave St. Michel agreed to let 20 selected students harvest the grapes we needed in order to create the school’s own wine. The one-day trip started off with a cellar tour, to learn about the viticulture and vinification processes. Later, we went to the vines to harvest our grapes to make our wine, ending the day with a hearty, enjoyable lunch of Raclette and charcuterie, consumed together with bottles and bottles of Gamay.
After the trip, members felt more engaged with wine, as they were able to roughly understand the concept from vine to bottle. Members gradually became able to share their knowledge and questions during the meetings, creating a relaxing learning environment – a meeting everyone looked forward to every week. From this, our members, previously lacking in knowledge about wine are now familiar with the concept of viticulture, vinification as well as basic characteristics of international grape varietals.
The beta testing of our wine club had been a success and we have great things planned for semesters to come. We are all working on this project, as a team from different parts of the globe, in order to quickly build a foundation for LRWC and plan exciting wine events as well as organize educational adventures into different wine regions of Europe.
SPONSORED BY SPIEGELAU GLASSES
As previously mentioned, LRWC is a self-funding organization. As a young group, a certain sum of capital had to come from the Core Team, but we were more than happy to contribute as LRWC is the fruit of our mind and labor, and we wanted everyone to be a part of this team which is now family. After looking for sponsors, we can now say that we have Spiegelau glasses, a luxury glass brand we use at our fine dining restaurant as our official glassware sponsor.
We would like to say a large thank you to Spiegelau as well as all the people who have supported us to start LRWC, we will work to our best potential to enrich and develop wine knowledge within the Les Roches community!