By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia
Among other things, South Africa is indeed known for its wines. So our last company visit was to Backsberg, a wine company. Before getting down to business, we started with a delicious lunch in their beautiful yard, in the good weather we were lucky to have that week.
After filling our stomach with the delicacies, we then continued by getting into two trucks. Yes-- we stood in the back of two trucks.
We visited the vineyards and discussed about wine farming and the types of grapes, climate and specifics of wine farming. But we didn’t end there. We ended it with wine tasting. Now, if we had had our lunch in the open, this time we went into the one of the rooms where the big oak drums of wines were placed. The place was chilly, and there we saw that the table was laid neatly. The wine tasting was led by Mr. Thibault James, and he was a pro. He walked us through the wine tasting graciously– but with a good sense of humor.
He taught us first how to “slurp” air into our mouth after sipping a little wine. By getting air into our mouth and then “slurping” it on the tip of our tongue; we could get the taste of the wine better. It was interesting as it turned out; almost all of us tried “slurping” air over and over again– some with success and some with puzzled faces. We tasted four wines consisting of one white wine and three red wines. Personally, my favorite was the Port Wine, as it had a sweet taste and aroma. For others, some opted for the Pinot Noir or the white wine. The last that we tasted was brandy. Quite different from tasting wine, the way he taught us involved chewing, breathing in and breathing out. Most of us didn’t know about these skill set, so it was very interesting. So he said after sipping just a little amount, by chewing we activated our palette, by breathing in through our mouth and breathing out through our nose we “burst” the taste inside the mouth. The tasting was closed with one great question: what is the name of our wine tasting host? Michael turned out to be the lucky winner who took the wine bottle home; but the others also went home happily with our new tasting skill, feeling one step closer to being a pro – well, at least for show-off purposes ;)