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Challenge Saint-Emilion: The competition that questions future sommeliers

For the second year running, the Saint-Emilion winegrowers have challenged the hotel schools of France and Belgium. The participating students had until December 3rd to respond to a common theme. They had to think about the communication and sales vectors so that Saint-Emilion becomes “The Wine To Drink”.

Confronting the views of the new generation

The Saint-Emilion Challenge was created as a continuation of the training activities carried out with the Hotel Schools. The objective is twofold. Indeed, it allows us to reach future prescribers by showing them a different way of discovering the vineyard and the winegrowers, while at the same time confronting the young generation’s viewpoint and expectations.

This year, 9 classes have registered. PowerPoint, videos, files… the students had carte blanche to present their conclusions. From their “uncompromising” view of the wines of Saint-Emilion to their proposals to respond to the theme, the different files were enriching for the members of the jury, which was made up of winegrowers from the different appellations of Saint-Emilion.

The 2021 results

The big winners are the students of the Lycée Hôtelier International de Lille. The 15 students of the Mention Complémentaire Sommellerie won a 3-day trip to meet the winemakers of the Lussac Saint-Emilion, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru appellations.

However, the other participants did not lose out. Indeed, they have provided research, analysis and proposals of great quality, which demonstrates the high level of these future professionals. We would therefore like to congratulate once again the students of:

  • the UFA Joseph Storck,
  • the CEFPPA Adrien ZELLER,
  • the Lycée Hôtelier de l’Hermitage,
  • the Lycée Alexandre Dumas,
  • the Ecole Hôtelière Provinciale de Namur,
  • the Lycée Hôtelier Raymond Mondon,
  • the Lycée Privé Hôtelier Saint-Jean,
  • the Ecole hôtelière de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

What we should remember about the Challenge Saint-Emilion

We noticed that there were still many prejudices about the wines and winegrowers of Saint-Emilion. “Too woody”, “too expensive”, “closed to visitors”… The Challenge Saint-Emilion is therefore an excellent way of deconstructing these prejudices.

The Saint-Emilion vineyard is made up of a multitude of properties, some larger than others, on different terroirs. It is not homogeneous. The winegrowers are happy to open their doors to visitors so that they can discover their wine. It is quite possible to find a bottle at a low price (almost 50% of the references sold at the Maison du Vin de Saint-Emilion are for less than 20€). More and more wines can be drunk young. Finally, not all Saint-Emilions are wooded: there is something for everyone! …

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