Vanessa Guebels

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“Growing up on a small family vineyard in the Champagne region meant that my earliest memories are full of being surrounded by grapes and vines. Every Harvest I would be in the vineyards or winery, lending a hand where I could, often riddling (remuage) and bottle labelling.”

I have always considered myself to be a curious person. While growing up, my lifelong dream was to discover the world, so commencing a career in international business seemed like the best way to achieve my dream and, so far, it seems to be working out!

For my first professional role, I studied and worked in Singapore for Philips Consumer Electronics before living (and loving!) in San Francisco where I followed an MBA program at San Francisco State University. I graduated from Sophia Antipolis, the largest technopole in France, with a Master in Management specializing in International Marketing. From there, I moved to Shanghai where I learnt Chinese, passed the HSK 5 and worked as a Sales Team Leader in stationery products, and then onwards to London to attain my WSET Diploma. There have been two moments in my life when I fell in love with wine. The first, on my 25th birthday, I was poured a Meursault Charmes for which I cannot recall the vintage. I remember everything I felt – the aromas, the flavors, the finish. I’ll never forget it. The second moment, occurred one Christmas, and I tasted a Beaune Premier Cru from Hospices de Beaune. It was with that glass at the moment that I decided to start a career in wine.

A decade later, I still love learning about wine. In truth, I cannot call it studying anymore; it’s more of a continuing exploration, a quest, a journey I hope I never ends. Learning about wine embraces so many aspects: history, geography, geology in the vineyard, biology, chemistry in the winery but also sociology, how wine observed, and influenced, the birth of our civilizations as well as its impact on human sensory perception, art de vivre, gastronomy. Wine is incredibly diverse and fascinating! Every day there is something new to discover and share.
Fascinated by the knowledge I received from my collaborations with the prestigious Wine & Spirit Education Trust, who I work alongside on a daily basis, I naturally felt the best way to continue my love of wine was to share what I learn, and pass it on to other wine lovers. I started my own wine courses with friends and then opened my own wine school in Marseille. Today, it is affiliated to the WSET.
With wine education becoming a critical business focus at Château de Pommard over the forthcoming years, the skills I have obtained as a wine educator, combined with my business and entrepreneurial background, allows me to have an informed opinion on both. And this is why, when I saw the role of Wine Education Director, I knew I could offer a unique perspective.

Since starting the role in March 2018, and meeting my colleagues for the first time, I immediately felt that everybody in the various teams were passionate, and ambitious, about what they can bring to the domain. From the vineyard team to the wine advisors to the winemakers, everyone is united in making Château de Pommard the greatest wine destination in Burgundy. And the best wines, too, naturally.

My role encompasses many differing facets. I source our wines; I taste and compare them when visiting wineries or during professional fairs. I am in contact with our students – predominantely professionals and amateurs from France and abroad who are passionate about wine as well as wanting to learn more. On top of this, I deliver training sessions to keep up with our students progress and improve our courses and sessions. It is up to me to ensure our workshops, experiences and programs fully comply to strict guidelines and that our team of educators are delivering consistently excellent quality trainings. Satisfied students, the development of their knowledge and their success in the exam room is what makes teaching wine education a constantly evolving, but hugely enjoyable, way to spend a day!

Alongside the beautiful wines made by Emmanuel Sala, the future of Château de Pommard is sharing expert wine education and the ancient, magical vines of Pommard with wine lovers and students all around the world, we are also working on building an online educational platform where students can learn about the principles of wine while tasting from the comfort of their own homes – or wherever they want. I’m sure we’ll keep everyone updated every step of the way.

My job is my first hobby, I am in love with it. Outside of my professional life among the vines, however, I love to travel and discover cultures outside of my own. If I had to choose, Japan is one of my favorite places in the world. I also love to play the piano and dance. Ballet, salsa, Rock ‘n roll – you name it, I’ll get up and dance to it!

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