Thirteen budding Filipino hoteliers from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (SHRIM) recently visited France to personally learn and appreciate the rich heritage of the wine, its production and marketing, and the trends in the various aspects of tourism of the European country in a 10-day immersion in collaboration with Vatel Bordeaux.

The educational program was made possible through the nine-year-old partnership between DLS-CSB, also recognized as Vatel Manila, and Vatel Bordeaux, an international business school for hotel and tourism management with 25 years of excellence in tradition and innovation.

The venue for their activities were the facilities, which included its 12-room ecolabel hotel, event halls, dining areas, and bar and wine lounges, which have served as venues for a cultural exploration of trainees coming from partner-schools around the globe.

Accompanied by DLS-CSB SHRIM dean Angelo Lacson and DLS-CSB SHRIM Hospitality Management chairperson Gil Acuña, the eager trainees were comprised of Charles Cobankiat, Zarina Dela Cruz, Paula Esber, Sebastian Garcia, Yvette German, Joechelle Goma, Samantha Hermogenes, Gino Justo, Lauren La Sangre, Miguel Laig, Nicholas Lichaytoo, Victoria Palomar, and Jowelle Yap.

The apprentices attended a thorough discussion on the viticulture and vinification process, as shared by the owner of the vineyards and cellars of Château Laniote, a two-century-old family business, which was classified as Grand Cru Classé, a term to identify noteworthy wines in the region.

The students were treated to a comprehensive learning experience at Cité du Vin, a decanter-shaped museum in Bordeaux dubbed as a new generation cultural center, which aims to protect and spread the tradition and history of wine to the various regions of the world, its remarkable heritage and culture, and the future of the industry through trends.

Among the several medieval villages visited was Saint-Émilion, a huge wine-growing region, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where they indulged on the breathtaking views of the Monolithic Church, The Hermitage, the Holy Trinity Chapel, and The Catacombs.

Reputable oenologist and wine broker Maguelone de Blasi treated the students to a rare opportunity to explore her fine selections in two-day experiential workshops, as they created their own blends from an array of pure grape varietals, and to be part of a tasting lesson.

The students came up with Fine Vatel, a combination of pure white varietal samples of Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of Muscadel. Another output was branded as Saint Michel, which was produced by merging pure red varietal samples Merlot infused with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Through the cooperation between the Vatel network, DLS-CSB offers Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management (BS-IHM), a transnational course that grants graduates with both Philippine degree and a French degree.

Students from Manila may likewise pursue their graduate studies in Bordeaux with a Master of Business Administration in International Hotel Management with specialization in International Wine and Spirits Management.