Exchange students heading to Burgundy

The 2019 Central Otago Burgundy Exchange students who will spend several weeks in France, as part...
The 2019 Central Otago Burgundy Exchange students who will spend several weeks in France, as part of the annual exchange programme are (from left) Ben Tombs, Donald van der Westhuizen, Hamish Hay, Monique Lynes and Anika Willner. Photo: COWA
This year's group of Central Otago Burgundy Exchange students have already left, or will be departing for Burgundy, France, at the end of August.

Hamish Hay, of Chard Farm, Anika Willner, of Coalpit Wines, Ben Tombs, of Peregrine, Monique Lynes, of Peregrine, and Donald van der Westhuizen, of Grape Vision, have been selected for the 14th year of the exchange programme.

It was created as an education and cultural exchange and run by key partners: Central Otago Wine Growers Association (COWA); Otago Polytechnic; Centre de Formation Professionelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA) de Beaune - a highly regarded technical college in the heart of the Cote d'Or which specialises in wine production and commercialisation - and Mosaic Bourgogne Internationale (MBI) - which is an independent exchange-focused winegrower organisation which, among its diverse roles, acts as COWA's industry counterpart in all Burgundy-Central Otago relations.

Exchange co-ordinator Lucie Lawrence, of Arum Wines, said a huge part of the programme was the exposure to the French culture, in addition to the technical aspects of French wine-making.

''They pick up a few things depending on their level and experience,'' Ms Lawrence said.

''They come back really inspired, really invigorated.

''Some have never travelled before.''

A group from France come over to spend time in Central Otago vineyards in March, for the harvest.

Ms Lawrence said they were exposed to different aspects of New Zealand culture and wine-making, and took those experiences back with them.

More than 80 exchange students have participated in the programme.

The exchange includes a training week at the local polytech, then weeks two to five are on placement at a host winery.

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