For the past week, I’ve been attending the Comparative EU/US Wine law program at the Université de Reims, and it has been amazing. This intensive class is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. The wealth of knowledge my professors and my classmates have imparted on me, just in the space of a few days, is phenomenal.
Our first lecturer was Tracy Genesen of Kirkland and Ellis in San Fransisco. Tracy is a big deal in the wine law world – she was the attorney on the Granholm cases which allowed direct shipping to (basically) everywhere in the US. It has been an honor learning under her direction. We learned the statutory and legislative history of Wine Law in the US in the space of one day, clearly, concisely, and from a fantastic lecturer. Tracy is great at getting the class involved and facilitated many animated discussions, mostly revolving around the dormant commerce clause. The dormant commerce clause is where a lot of the US wine law cases turn.
Our next lecturer was Steve Charters, a professor of Champagne Management at Reims Managment School, who taught us about Wine History and Wine Economics. It was very interesting to learn how much politics plays into wine production, wine marketing, etc. We also learned about wine consumers, wine marketing, and – a huge emerging topic – wine and social media.
Today, we’re learning about E.U. Wine law from Prof. Theodore Georgopoulos. It’s fascinating to learn about the EU system of law, so different for the US. We learned all about planting rights in the EU and I plan on doing a segment on here about it, since it is so interesting to me. He’s big on case studies, so I love his lectures.
I cannot say enough good things about our professors – they are probably the most interesting, animated, passionate lecturers that I’ve studied under. Tracy, Steve, and Theo somehow pack in a lot of information and make it seem so easy.
Its not all lectures, we’re here to discover Reims as well. We’ve visited the Notre Dame Cathedral – which is amazing – so light and airy, and in my opinion, prettier than Notre Dame de Paris.
The CIVC also treated us to a tasting of grower champagne…
We also visited Ruinart Cellars and were given a fantastic tour by a Wine & Law Alum – Domenico – who is now working at Ruinart! Domenico is one of the first graduates of the Wine and Law Masters program at the Université de Reims. He gave us a great tour and we tasted some stellar (really stellar) wines…including the 1998 Dom Ruinart rosé. This wine was aptly described as at 1940s femme fatale.
One of my favorite parts of the program is getting to know my classmates. We come from all over the world – U.S., Switzerland, Australia, China, France, Greece, Taiwan, and Romania. We have lawyers from all different sectors, lawyers who don’t practice, law students, wine regulations people, and people who work on the corporate side of wine. I love learning from all of them – everyone has such different views and its very interesting to hear all the cultural differences. I think I learn as much from my classmates as I do from my professors!
This weekend: tastings at Tattinger, Mumm, and a grower Champagne tasting at Caves du Forum. I’m so excited!