VÍ vid´s aim has, from the outset, been to promote Valencian Wines and Gastronomy and this year has seen us design, develop and deliver courses for two official bodies in the Valencian Community.
We have just completed our fourth , having designed a course for Sumilleres and Restaurant staff in Valencia. This was given at the Centre of Tourism, (CdT) which is the Governments training centre for Hotel, Restaurant and Catering trades (HORECA), in collaboration with Proava.
It introduced the participants to the use of English in Restaurants and over nine hours (spread over three afternoons) covered the most common terms they would encounter from English-speaking clients ordering wine and food, etc.
The course included three tastings of wines from across the whole Valencian Community because apart from being able to serve English speaking clients in English, recommending Valencian wine to match the Valencian food they accompany was also considered a priority. Some 70% of visitors to Valencia come for the wine and gastronomy according to Government surveys, (incredible when you consider Valencian wines were almost unknown 10 years ago).
The tastings each contained four wines for which we prepared comprehensive tasting notes and in the final tasting one wine for the students to taste blind and create their own descriptions as part of their examination. The following wines were chosen not just for their quality and characteristics but also because they gave us the widest choice of descriptive terms and use of technical wine terms in the English language.
- White Wines:-
- Bodegas Daniel Belda, Verdil 2015, DO Valencia ( Terres dels Alforins)
- Bodegas La Viña, Icono Chardonnay 2015, DO Valencia (Terres dels Alforins)
- Bodega Finca Collado, Blanco Chardonnay/Moscatel 2015 , DO Alicante
- Roques Negres, Blanco Macabeo 2015. Les Useres, Castellon.
- Celler del Roure, Cullerot Blanco 2015, Chardonnay/PX/Verdil, DO Valencia ( Terres dels Alforins)
- Rosé and Cavas:-
- Latorre Agrovinicola, Parreño Rosé Bobal 2015, DO Utiel-Requena
- Bodegas Bocopa, Marina Alta Espumante Moscatel de Alejandría, DO Alicante
- Bodegas Vegalfaro, Brut Nature Reserva, DO Cava (Requena)
- Pago de Tharsys, Millesimé Brut Reserva, Chardonnay 2013, DO Cava (Requena)
- Red Wines:-
- Bodegas Ontinium, Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, DO Valencia (Clariano)
- Bodegas Sierra Norte, Pasion de Monastrell 2013, DO Alicante
- Bodegas La Viña, Venta del Puerto 2013, DO Valencia (Terres dels Alforins)
- Bodegas Murviedro, Cueva de la Culpa, Bobal/Merlot 2012 DO Utiel-Requena
- Blind Tasting Exam:-
- Dominio de la Vega, Reserva Especial Rose Pinot Noir 2013, DO Cava (Requena)
With tourists increasingly using the services of Tripadvisor, Facebook, Instagram etc good reviews for the use of English is a sure way of increasing business and profit and gaining return clients whether it is a bodega or restaurant.
It all began with our delivery of Wine tastings in English for PROAVA, the Government agency charged with promoting the quality wine and food sector, a task that complemented our English Language tastings for other groups including the Pedralba Wine Club.
Last year we were approached by the controlling body of DO Utiel-Requena and asked to design a basic level course for owners, wine makers and their employees in bodegas affiliated to the DO. We spent the last few months of 2015 compiling our own specific dictionary of terms and vocabulary relating to the vineyard and the vine, the climate and soils of the region, inside the winery, the wine-making process and terms in English used in a wine-tasting.
When we presented this to the DO for review we were also asked to develop it further and to produce an advanced level course ( using more technical and advanced English) and to include sessions on Marketing, Shipping and Customs.
Both courses included formal written exercises to continually test the progress of the students and wine-tastings which added a light-hearted element to the course but also training for what was becoming an increasingly important development….the rise of wine-tourism in the area and an increasing number of English speaking visitors to bodegas many of whom want to learn more about the wines and gastronomy of Utiel-Requena.
The first course took place in the HQ of the DO in the Bodega Redonda in Utiel in January of this year and was followed a week later with the Advanced level course. The students included administrative staff, commercial staff and bodega owners and wine-makers as well as some staff from the DO itself. All the wines used came from Bodegas within the DO so that participants became familiar with the varieties, the characteristics of the wines and their ideal food partners.
The courses were both interactive, based around our Powerpoint presentations and the supporting printed materials which we provided. Student participation was intense and although the subject was serious we tried to make the courses fun so that the students participated more.
By the end of the sessions the participants had sufficient vocabulary, phrases and, we hope, confidence to put a basic tour in English of a bodega together with a tasting for their visitors.
It was immediately clear however that more was needed and we were asked to design a course specifically dealing with techniques needed to improve the wine-tourists´experience.
We immersed ourselves in the subject, adding to our own experiences of bodega visits with research into the background and developments worldwide, creating a course based on what we had learned for June. This was specific once again to Utiel-Requena concentrating on the incredible local history covering 2700+years BC, advertising, facilities, the need to incorporate visits with gastronomic experiences and using local accommodation, special events such as food and wine fairs etc to maximise returns.
Over 20 students including some from the areas biggest bodegas with a long experience of wine-tourism participated in this course, which was also held in the Bodega Redonda.
We are happy and proud to have been able to play a part in improving the visitor experience to Valencia but we know we have barely scratched the surface and that there is a huge amount more to be done.
Our courses are flexible, can be adapted to different environments and can be rolled out quickly now that the basic materials have been designed and produced. They can be delivered for any client whether they be Bodegas, DO´s, private colleges or Employer Associations in HORECA and we are looking at providing courses for individuals and small groups to improve the language skills necessary to deliver a flawless service to visitors to Valencia.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details as we can help you improve your services and thus maximise your potential income!