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First Day in Champagne

040815aWe arrived in Champagne before noon taking the high speed train from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Reims high speed train station. The trip took only a half hour. We were then bused to our hotel, the Grand Hotel Continental. The opening International Wine Tourism Conference, IWINETC, event was scheduled for early evening so we made reservations to visit Champagne Lanson. It was a beautiful sunny day, so Kathy and I walked the mile and a half to the champagne house. We had a wonderful tour led by Anaïs Demard. We toured the hall of history, then Anaïs showed the group a map of the Champagne region. Our tour then led us to a small vineyard, still asleep from the winter. We then visited the tank room where there were a number of tanks. A second tank room had tanks assigned to specific villages where grapes were sourced.

We then went into the cellars, a maze of halls storing millions of bottles of champagne. Afterwards we had a delightful tasting of three wine: a 2005 Brut Vintage Gold Label, a Brut Rosé and an Extra Age Brut Blanc de Blanc. We enjoyed all three champagnes; however, the 2005 Brut Vintage Gold Label was my favorite. During the tasting we were pleased that Anaïs let us take our time. Kathy and I had a long conversation with two teachers from Ontario. I went into teacher mode and we were sharing stories about our teaching experiences. Unfortunately we had to leave and walk back to the hotel. We had a great tour and tasting at Champagne Lanson.

The opening reception of the IWINETC took place at the Reims City Hall, a magnificent public building. We had champagne and hors d’oeuvres. We took the opportunity to meet and greet acquaintances and meet new people. From the reception we walked back to our hotel where we had dinner with others in the media group and tour agents. It was a delightful day in Champagne and we are looking forward to the first day of the IWINETC conference.


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