Tell us more about where you’re from, and what brings you to Singapore.
I’m from France, and I’m here for an internship—it’s my last one before I graduate from university. I’m studying wine business to become a winemaker, so I’m here to improve my English and to learn more about Asian culture.
How did you get into the business of winemaking?
My family owns a winery called Pierre Vessigaud in Burgundy, a region famous for its wines. The name of our winery incorporates both my father’s name and my nickname. My father loves working in the vineyard, and has the patience required to make wine, but he doesn’t really like the selling or business aspect of it, so my mother sells the wine. We make nine different types of white wine, but only one type of red.
Since I was born into this environment, it’s only natural for me to work in the family business.
When did you first start drinking wine?
(laughs) I had my first taste of wine when I was seven years old. I was with my grandfather in my family’s cellar, and he told me to try sipping the wine at the end of the glass, and spit it out afterwards, just to get a taste of it.
So technically, I didn’t really drink wine back then—I just tried tasting different ones. But now, I love drinking white wine, especially those from Chablis, an area north of Burgundy.
Do you like any other alcohol other than wine?
Oh, I like this one alcohol called pastis, but only when it’s shared with friends. It tastes like star anise, which I’m not a big fan of, but it’s really easy to drink because you just have to mix it with water, so it’s very good for gatherings.
It’s more popular back in France, and my friends and I have lots of funny stories and memories associated with this alcohol (laughs).
How long does it take to make one bottle of wine?
That depends on the region. In Burgundy, you can keep a bottle of wine between five and 10 years for a better taste. But in Bordeaux, you need to keep the bottle for around 20 to 25 years for the best flavour.
What do you miss most about home?
The food—it’s too spicy for me here (laughs), but I really like the salted egg custard baos that you can find in dim sum restaurants.
Apart from the food, I also miss the wine harvesting process, which usually happens at the beginning of September. It’s my favourite part of the year because many workers come to my family’s winery to help out. It’s exhausting, but we see the same faces every year, and we share lots of good moments.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever missed the harvest, so I’m a little sad about that, but it’s okay, I’ll be there next year.