Biographical Non-Fiction posted November 22, 2022

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Champagne in Reims

French Diary: Champagne in Reims

by Sarah Robin

When Don was invited to participate in the Academy of Marketing Science 15th Biennial World Marketing Congress at the Reims School of Management in Reims, France, we decided to make one last trip to the Champagne Region. And what a trip it was! The city of Reims as well as the Management School rolled out the red carpet for almost 500 attendees from 49 different countries.

Reims is the largest city in Champagne and is known as the City of Coronations since 30 of the French kings were crowned there. Although many of the historic buildings were destroyed during World War II, those that remained are magnificent. Having a chance to wander through the district was an exciting history lesson since thousands of events are recorded in this one place. And Reims is the home of the most famous champagne houses and wine cellars in the world.

We were so thrilled to be in this lovely old city and took a walk to get oriented and to get some exercise. We visited the Musee de Reddition which was General Eisenhower's supreme headquarters. This is where the Germans signed an unconditional surrender on May 7,1945, ending the war in Europe. The room where this occurred (Salle de la Signature) is still intact and has many photos and newspaper articles. The museum holds other documents and period pieces that trace the local military history in the Second World War.

I was invited to attend the session in which Don gave his presentation on Business Ethics: Past, Present, and Future. It was a real pleasure for me to attend and hear the many comments of others.

After the work ended, it was time to play. We boarded a bus for a tour of the Champagne Villages. Our first stop was at the vineyards of Moet Chandon. Learning about the grape varieties -pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay- and the agricultural methods used by the producers were very informative. The cold temperatures where these grapes are grown allow for more acidity. This is perfect for sparkling wines.

At Hure Freres, we climbed down into the cellar where champagne is processed and stored. The riddling process (turning the bottles ever so slightly every day) was explained as a way to get rid of dead yeast cells. Watching the winemaker disgorge the dead cells without losing a drop of wine was amazing.

We enjoyed a tasting of some fine champagne. When I lifted my glass, the taste of wine was on my lips and came from the aroma or nose. I don't think I had ever tasted a wine so good. Needless to say, we bought a couple of bottles to take home.

We have fond memories of our visit to Reims. We had the opportunity to see the beautiful buildings and to learn about their history and culture. We renewed some old friendships and made some new ones with good folks. Our wine hobby has allowed us to taste some of the world's best wines and allowed us to travel through the glass!


'The picture with this post is the Reims Cathedral.
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