Monday, July 2, 2012

Visiting a Winery, New Opportunities, and the Power of a Picture

This last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a vineyard here.

How did this opportunity come about?  A former student of mine contacted me asking for help checking his grammar and writing in English for a paper, and then his mother asked for some classes to prepare for an international business visitor.  In order to get to know the visitor (I translated and did a presentation in meetings later in the week) and thank me for the classes they invited me to go with them on a tour of the Concha y Toro vineyard on the outskirts of Santiago.

When it comes to wine, Concha y Toro is a very well-known name in Chile as well as other parts of the world.  The name translates to shell and bull, but the name comes from the last names of the owners.  It´s the second largest winery in the world, with only one in France being bigger.

The tour was in English and showed the areas where grapes were harvested, the home that was now being occupied as an administrative office, and the cellar where they store the wine in the barrels until it ages.  The cellar is called the casillero del diablo, or cellar of the devil.  Inside it was cold and they had a mini show with the devil telling the history of the winery.

Chile is also home to camanere, which is a specific type of grape or wine that isn´t found in any other part of the world.  It was discovered by accident, and its name is supposed to be the color of the last of the wine that is left at the bottom of your wine glass.

After the tour and some wine tasting along the way, we had a delicious lunch.  We had appetizers of fish and empanadas, lasagna, chocolate mousse for dessert, and of course some wine to go along with it.

Unfortunately I didn´t think to bring my camera, but my former student Rodrigo agreed to take some pictures along the way for me:

Inside the winery.  Wish I could take a few of these home with me.

In the field.  Even though there weren´t any grapes and it looks cold it was about 70 degrees and sunny.

The infamous camenere grapes

The owner´s old house/current administration building

A view of the vineyard
Later in the week I worked with the same family during some meetings.  I helped translate between the visitor from the UK and the Chileans there, and I also presented a Powerpoint presentation in English that I helped them write.  Another day I helped translate and also got to attend a conference and see the stand where the family had their business set up.  It was an interesting change from my usual work routine and satisfying knowing that I helped bridge the communication gap between different countries and cultures.

Talking about different countries and cultures brings me to this photo:

This photo is from my exchange year in Germany, and it was roughly taken in October of 2000 in either Weimar, Dresden, or Berlin.  I posted it on Facebook about a year and a half ago, but only until recently was I able to start to reconnect with the people in the picture.

Of the 16 people in the picture, we represent Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Poland, Estonia, Peru, and the United States.  One of the girls from Mexico is from the same town and knows a girl that was an exchange student in my school in New Jersey during my senior year of high school, and one of the guys lives in Mendoza, Argentina (which I visited twice during my first year in Santiago).

At the time of posting the picture I was only in contact with one or two of the people in the picture, but as of today I have gotten back in contact with about half of them.  We've discussed what's we're doing with our lives and how much we value our time in Germany and miss it, and the photo has almost 70 comments about our times and trying to reconnect with others from our exchange year.  We've even discussed making plans to visit each other.

I feel so grateful and fortunate not only to have had these experiences but also to be able to reconnect with people.

Looking through my CD case, I found the CD with photos from Germany that I got digitized a few years ago.  Time to upload some more pictures to share the memories.

Have a Happy 4th back in the States everyone!

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