Tell me your Wine Story.

Hi, I am Cristina Otel. I embraced Burgundy Culture and its Wines when I moved to this region in my late teens. At my arrival back in 1999, I lived with a passionate family, Becky Wasserman and Russell Hone in Bouilland, 10 km from Beaune, the capital of Burgundy Wines. Becky Wasserman and Russell Hone are part of my Burgundy family and their passion for Burgundy Region and Burgundy Wine is contagious. I met at their table many of the “Rock Star” Growers of Burgundy and one of them became my dear husband.

In 2000 I have attended the BPREA ( Brevet Professionnel Responsable D’exploitation Agricole) from the Centre de Formation Professionnelle (CFPPA) in Beaune. I was looking for a “métier” (a profession) as Becky was saying. The Ten months degree accomplished at the CFPPA turned out to be a great time and money investment ( thank you Rusty Staub for helping me Finance this Project) and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to learn abut Burgundy and its wines on a Full Time One Year Basis. Plus it allows you to do a Winemaking Internship of a few months. I did mine at Maison Camille Giroud in Beaune.

This First Wine Degree raised so many questions that I needed to continue to learn about wine. During the summer of 2001 I will work for Maison Moillard in Nuits Saint Georges as a Laboratory assistant.

In Fall 2001 I decide to go back to HighSchool at the Lycée Clos Maire in Beaune in order to get a Science HighSchool Degree, the prérequisit, to attend the Lycée Viticole de Beaune, BTSVO ( Brevet de Technicien Supérieur en Viticulture et Oenologie). After accomplishing the Two Year Degree I will continue to learn about wine and enroll at the University of Burgundy in a Bachelor in Vine Science in 2005.

From 2005 to 2007 I will continue my studies with a Master in Vine, Wine & Terroir at the University of Burgundy. and did my intership in Bordeaux at Chateau Cheval Blanc. During my studies I have lived in Beaune and worked during the weekends in order to support myself. I worked for Hôtel Le Cep in Beaune, Domaine D’Ardhy in Corgoloin and for the Wine School at the Association of Burgundy Growers BIVB.

In Fall 2007 I decided I had enough wine related studies and started my travels abroad. I will work harvest 2008 in Margaret River, Australia for Woodlands Wines and Howard Park. Fall 2008 I will get a job as Winemaker assistant for Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot in Beaune. Summer 2009 I will work as a viticulture technician for the Institut Français de La Vigne et du Vin in Beaune. Mai 2009 I will start my company that will eventually evolve into the Burgundy Wine School of today.

Why did you start Burgundy Wine School?

I like working with positive and passionate people that understand what I have to say to them or at least they are open minded to hear what I have to say. I started Burgundy Wine School first because of my innate desire of independence. I wanted to be my own boss and create my own profession based on everything I have learnt but also listen to my heart. I wanted to blame only myself for my mistakes and grow from them.

Through Burgundy Wine School, I want to share my knowledge and experience in the Burgundy Wine Trade with people that want to learn from others or at least see how they can position themselves in this Burgundy Universe. I want to empower these individuals to be themselves, to follow their hearts and to stay aways from clichés.

We are all unique individuals, with unique preferences, with a unique “wine childhood” and it is important for me to give them tangible tools in order to understand themselves, their likes and to be able to find the wines they like and the pleasure we are all seeking. Burgundy Wine is the story of life, of a past, present and future. There is a Burgundy Wine suited to any palate. My job is to point you in the right direction, to help you understand why you like what you like and how to consistently reach your likes in terms of Burgundy Wine.

There is nothing mystical or complicated about Burgundy. Burgundy is complex and complexity if well structured can be understood. Complicated can not be understood. Burgundy is many interconnected layers of thoughts, like an oignon. I will do my best in showing you all the intricacies of Burgundy, through its history, geography, visits to the grounds and of course wine tastings.

Over 11 years of Burgundy Wine School activity I had the time to evolve and build myself many layers of thought in order to easily bring Burgundy Wine to light. Words themselves are not as powerful as the experience you get from any of the Burgundy Wine School Courses. Words are only part tools, they can clumsily express the living senses. The other senses, like visualising the concepts via the drawings I build, hearing the stories I have experienced, smelling vines, soils, rocks, wind, valleys and wines, tasting the related components of the previous senses, touching ( as the old verbe Tâter = a blend of to taste and to feel) with your hands, mouth, heart will all be stimulated through vivid personal experiences.