My first Champagne anniversary – a time to reflect…

Hautvillers in the snow

Hautvillers in the snow

As I wandered through the snow dusted vineyards last weekend I was once again stuck for words by the landscape’s beauty. I am still amazed by the diversity of the local scenery and realized I am feeling very much at home here in Hautvillers. It is hard to believe that it now has been one year since I moved here; it seems the time has just flown by! So as I made my way back through the village I started to think about this last year and how it changed just about everything in my life…

I had decided almost on a whim to settle in Champagne and stumbled on Hautvillers. I did not know how lucky I was to end up in this iconic village; then again there were many things I did not know and had to learn about living in this region. But somehow it did not faze me. I was convinced I was on a sweet wicked and thought I could start again here without too many difficulties – in other words I kinda pictured the life I had, but in the country side and drinking more Champagne:-) I don’t think I was ready to change everything – in fact I think I was majorly under prepared… And looking back I think that was a really good thing; if I would have planned and researched I would not have taken the plunge…There were too many things in my “cushty” life that I would have to give up, and I know the rational Caroline would have reasoned her way out of it all. So I feel extremely lucky that I rolled into this unprepared and was able to adapt on the way, as this last year has been one of the most amazing and enriching experiences of my life so far!!

Maybe I should have guessed that country side and high flying jobs are very rarely mentioned in one sentence. So I quickly learned that I would have to adapt and become a lot more creative if I wanted to stay here. In other words I learned to survive. Ironically the more I struggled financially, the more how realized how lucky I was. I lived in a beautiful place, was healthier and happier than I had been in a long time, was learning and discovering Champagne at my own pace and for financial hardship was bringing out the creative side of me especially now that I had a little more time to spare.

I want to add here that I am really fortunate to have a very supportive family and generous friends who have helped me out by believing in me, giving me good advice, bought me virtual as well as real drinks and prevented me from going under. I am very very grateful for all the love and support that came and still comes my way :-)

So all in all I had a great year!! I started to write for Vinogusto, Palate Press, Snooth and Wine-Searcher and was obviously doing something right as I also won the WBC scholarship to go to Portland, which allowed me to see my brother again and travel a bit in Napa and Sonoma tasting some amazing wines #onthewineroad!!

Magic of the Magnum Bubbles

Magic of the Magnum Bubbles

Besides the US, I also travelled to Germany and twice to Italy. The first time to help launch the very first #winelover event which proved to be very successful! I also was invited at several important tastings in France (Bordeaux En Primeur, Vins Clairs tastings and the Ventes des Hospices des Beaunes) which were unbelievably rich and unique experiences!! I attended the 2 natural wine fairs in London – again an amazing experience and in these last few months I experienced real magic in our Magic of the Magnum Bubbles Tastings which I did with Onneca Guelbenzu of winedefender.org. Bonding and working with Onne has been pivotal and too much fun!! I hope we can continue to rock the wine world together with our “tastings with a twist” for a long long time to come! We have big plans and are all set to make them happen so watch this space!!!

Lastly, I also took up teaching, which I (surprisingly) quite enjoy even though I would never have guessed I would be teaching material :-) But it has been fun and I have really improved my public speaking!! I hope I can get a few more hours as it would be great to have a little breathing space, but I feel that with all these projects on the go the tide is slowly changing and life is looking pretty rosy!! Remember the self fulfilling prophecy – if you really really want something, you will find a way to get it!!!

About Caroline

Caroline is a certified Sommelier (by the CMS) and WSET diploma student. In order to specialize in the wines of Champagne she moved to the region and currently works as a wine consultant, wine educator and wine writer. She is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and writes for several international publications including Palate Press, Snooth, Wine-Searcher, Decanter and Vinogusto; further activities include teaching Champagne related courses at Reims Management School and organizing personalized tasting experiences at http://www.tastingswithatwist.wordpress.com as well as being a regular judge at international wine competitions.
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  • http://www.andrerib.com andrerib

    Very happy for you! Frugality can definitely be a blessing and help each of us discover what we really value in life. Sending you lots of good wishes from sunny Lisbon and looking forward to visit you next year!

    • http://www.missinwine.com/ Caroline Henry

      Really looking forward to share the beauty of this area with you Andre!

  • http://www.facebook.com/petre.vincent Vincent Pétré

    Most welcome in Champagne dear Caroline, always a pleasure to read your researches. As you know champagne is quite big and diverse from north to south with many beautiful hills and villages.

  • Erwin Ball

    Oops too much wine?