It all Started with a Grape…

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Wine is an integral component of gastronomy. Wine has a place at the table. It is the heart of the meal.

First day of Sommelier School in Paris. That was the opening sentence from my British translating professor, Benjamin Preston.

Can I just say that I feel totally aligned being here. I feel this class was made for me… especially when the first day of class ends with a glass of champagne 🙂 BUT let’s backtrack…

I arrived at my school about 10 minutes early for orientation. I walked into a jury of french administrators standing at attention in the lobby to guide me. Leading me back to the classroom was Jane, also a girl from the states that took a job in the administrative department as a way to stay in Paris. Once in the room, I was given a stack of papers to fill out. There were several other students in the room already…I could not tell yet if anyone else was from America, or spoke any english.

Even at my age of 30, there is still this nervousness about starting anything new. “The first day of school” feeling where you are in observation mode and a million thoughts are running through your head. As I am filling out my Parisian address I am lightly bumped, “Oh sorry, excuse me.” I look next to me as the girl sits down. She smiles, “Hi, I am Samantha. How are you- please tell me you speak english…a little?” Phew. We exchange a few sentences and I find out she is 28 and from Seattle. Instant comfort.

Two other women hear us and introduce themselves. Anna Marie is from Greece, specifically the island of Rhodes. Suzette is from Bordeaux but speaks perfect english as her father is American, and hails from Virginia. 

A few minutes later, in walks our Professor, Franck Ramage. Along side him, our British translater, Benjamin Preston. I made note that both were dressed to the nines wearing none other than Hermes belts with the signature H at the buckle. Their suites must have been Gucci… 

That was an exerpt from my journal.

Just wanted to give you all a brief introduction into my sommelier class. Yes, there are 14 women- 🙂 and 6 men. The students come from all over the world- Armenia, Greece, Spain, Hong Kong, Korea, India, and yes France. A couple are native to Paris. Samantha, myself and one other are from the States. I feel incredibly lucky to be among this group. This is what I envisioned for the next evolution of myself …being around people that are cultured and know other parts of the world. Most of them are fluent in a minimum of two languages.

My french Professor, Monsieur Franck Ramage, went on to speak about this year ahead and the program in general. Turns out, I will be having some pretty incredible experiences. I will be traveling to 5 vineyards in the regions of Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cognac, and the Rhone Valley. I will also be apart of the ASP (Association of Paris Sommeliers) where as part of my education, I will be attending some of the top sommelier tastings/food and wine pairings. Basically, it was explained as this ~ I will be sitting next to some of the best wine makers in France… over 7 course meals paired with wine at the Ritz Carlton and George V Hotels in Paris.  A huge grin lined my face. WHAT?! Very cool. I better get my game on 🙂

We are following the Latin module for tasting. We are going to be experts at expressing the emotion and the sentiment of a wine to allow others to enjoy the pleasures of the mouth.

This was another statement from Benjamin Preston. This makes me more motivated than ever to be a wine expert, sommelier, wine enthusiast, journalist or whatever is in store for me. I feel this passion as he speaks.

There is a sophistication here. The french view wine not as a means to get “drunk” or even slightly buzzed. They view wine as another food group. I will be talking more about this later but there is definitely a difference between cultures.

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More wine adventures to come. First day of school … a success!

In other news, I am still in love with my flat, my neighborhood and Paris in general. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure 🙂

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(Eiffel Tower up close and personal)

I have been eating gourmet meals with my classmates during our 1 hour lunch break, so naturally I have stayed in for dinner this week. Leftover Coq Au Vin is delicious. I set up my own makeshift outdoor cafe. Did I mention the weather here is absolutely beautiful?!

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Finally, how cute are the doors in my flat?

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26 thoughts on “It all Started with a Grape…

  1. I’m so excited for you! XO Mom


  2. Hello! I adore your blog and am so excited to see what you post next. What a grand adventure, thanks for taking us along.


  3. Oh my dear krista,it’s as though you are on a year long vacation,what’s there not to like?? It’s just beautiful..I love the pictures and of course the food my favorite..Your flat is charming and I do love the doors..I’m so glad someone at least speaks English.Get friendly with the Greek girl and she can teach you Greek. I look so forward to your blog sweetie..And yes the weather looks perfect as Sacramento is 105 YUCK,keep writing EAT PRAY LOVE


    • Evelyn! Wine school will get hard..lol. Promise it’s not ALL a vacation. But mostly! I am really friendly with the greek girl. We go to lunch everyday! Knew you would love that one 🙂


  4. I’m loving your blog! You are definitely Frenchkissinglife!


  5. Love everything ! Fabulous!
    Aunt Jenny


  6. DIvine. Exquisite. So so exciting. Can’t wait til the wine news and info starts so I can learn through you 😉


  7. This is so exciting to read your blog and see your experience unfold. We get to learn right along with you. I can’t tell you how valuable that is to me. Thank you for doing this because it is so inspiring.


  8. Such fun. I think a future post about wine the appropriate stemware to use for each wine would be fantastico!


  9. Such fun. I think a future post about the appropriate stemware to use for each wine would be fantastico!


  10. What a great adventure you are having. I am really enjoying reading your posts from Paris and your pictures are terrific.


  11. Your blog has quickly become my favorite part of the day. The fact that you traveled across the world to follow your dream is so inspiring. Your flat looks so lovely and I’m so excited that your classes are going well! Thank you for sharing your journey with the world, you motivate me to follow my desires wherever they may lead me. Xo


    • Alessia ~ Wow. Thank you! I finally decided to do what I always knew was in my heart. It is possible for anyone. I love the saying “follow your bliss” Thank you for the kind words and I am SO glad you are following along.


  12. Krista
    Sounds too good to be true but it is true! I look forward to every blog journal —you go girl!



  13. I am beyond excited for you and a little jealous ;). I have had the amazing luck of visiting Bordeaux several times and can’t wait for your posts on your field trips! I’m also studying wine. I will be starting the Diploma course for the WSET at my Manhattan school, the International Center for Wine. Amazing yes, but, not Paris! Need to live vicariously through your experience! Cheers! Shari


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