In 2012 final year students studying the Hospitality Dynamics module HTM330 were given the chance to attend a field trip to France to visit Champagne in Reims. Students could choose to write about champagne in their literature review for the luxury assignment. It was also a chance for students to see production and processes in relation to their products.
Monday 29th October- We set off on our journey by coach at 05:20am from Plymouth to Reims. The journey was going to be a long day with a 10-hour trip crossing over to France via the Eurotunnel in the afternoon. We arrived at our hotel the Express by Holiday Inn in the early evening. Once we had checked in we ventured out into Reims in search of some dinner, we then headed back to the hotel for an early night ready for our busy day of champagne tasting.
Tuesday 30th October
We travelled to the Veuve Clicquot Maison in Reims. Here we were taken down into the cellars where about 14 million bottles of champagne are kept and we were also told many stories about Madam Clicquot herself. We were shown the oldest bottle of champagne, which was found from a shipwreck of the late Nelson. The bottle dates back to the 1600’s. We could also see a carving on the wall of the cellar, which is quite spectacular. After the tour we had champagne tasting where we tried a various vintage and standard champagnes.
The coach then departed and we were taken to Epernay, which was about a 50-minute journey. We had a few hours to kill so found a local restaurant where we could re fuel ourselves with some local cuisine. I chose the Omelette au fromage et jambon (Cheese and Bacon Omlette) which was delicious.
After lunch we made our way to the Moët Et Chandon Maison. I was very much looking forward to this champagne house, as it is my favourite. We were taken into the house and waited for our tour guide. Once he arrived we were told a little of the history of Moët et Chandon and then taken to the cellar. Moët et Chandon was established in 1743 by Claude Moët. Today it owns more than 2,500 acres of vineyards, and annually produces approximately 26,000,000 bottles of champagne. After seeing the cellars we were taken to try the champagne where we tried a vintage 2004 and also a rose.
We then made our way to The Civic (Epernay) for a presentation from Philippe Wibrotte of the Committee Champagne. The presentation was very interesting and enables us an insight into why there is such a big issue with people using the name ‘champagne’ illegally. By calling products ‘champagne’ it must have been made in the Reims region of France. The committee is there to raise global issues where the name ‘champagne’’ has been misused. We then again, had more champagne tasting.
After such a long day with all the champagne tasting we were all very tired, an early night was defiantly in store for most of us!
Wednesday 31st October
For the second day we were split into 2 groups to visit the Delamotte Maison due to the size being considerably small in comparison to the other champagne houses we had visited. The Maison Delamotte has been a benchmark in champagne since 1760 and produces a range of 4 champagnes that include, brut, blanc de blanc, 1999 blanc de blancs and rose. The House also produces another champagne that goes by the name of Salon. It was created in 1911 and is very unique. We were lucky enough to try Delamotte brut and Delamotte blanc de blanc. We also tried Salon, which is valued at £300 per bottle. Delamotte and Salon are not sold in supermarkets they are mainly used within the hospitality and cruise industry as they are seen as prestigious champagne’s.
We made our way back to Reims where we found a café in the town to have a bite to eat. We then found a restaurant that we could all go to in the evening. It was our last night in France so we all went to dinner and for a few drinks. We then went onto enjoy a few pubs and cocktail bars in the main centre of Reims.
The next morning we were up bright and early ready for the coach journey back to the UK. Overall everyone enjoyed the trip were all impressed at the itinerary and the various activities we were able to take part in such a short time. I would recommend any students given the chance to go on this field trip.