Profile: Amandine Galibert, Intern
Between June and Sept we were incredibly lucky to host our first intern, Amandine Galibert. From a family of sheep farmers in Aveyron, Amandine is studying Agricultural Business at the University of Toulouse. Here she tells us what she learned and what she enjoyed the most about being in Cornwall.
Agronomic engineering, we learn life sciences, agriculture, food-processing, marketing and management.
You’re from a farming background in France. What made you want to come to England to learn about wine making here?
I did an internship with crops last year and I enjoyed it. So I wanted to learn more about plants and discover a new crop. Also I was looking for something a bit different, an innovative farm in an English speaking country.
Thanks to its diversity of activity, Trevibban Mill provided a good opportunity to learn something new in an interesting system and in a lovely place.
Did you have any previous experience studying or working in wine?
No, none at all!
What did you expect before you came?
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything, I had no idea about Cornwall or about the people. I remember that I wished to learn English and learn about vine growing and the winemaking process. I wanted also discover a new culture/way of life.
How did your expectations compare to what you discovered here?
Very good! Compared to France, English people are very polite. But quite slow on the road! I lived in Padstow during my internship which is a beautiful town, I liked the atmosphere, I sometimes went to Bin Two (wine shop & bar), it was my favourite place! Close to Padstow, there is a peaceful place called Retorrick Mill, where you can eat, drink and dance around a big fire by night. I have so many good memories of this place! A lot of towns are lovely in Cornwall like Trevone, Fowey, Falmouth. I like this county because the landscape is so beautiful, we had barbecues on the beach, we ate at restaurants with the sun setting on the ocean, we went on big walks, I learnt to sail and went sailing with friends to the Scilly Islands which was amazing. When it is sunny, Cornwall is like paradise!
One thing I found difficult when I first arrived was the temperature… I come from the south of France and I left my home at 3am the night before my journey to England wearing a t-shirt. When I arrived in Newquay, it was mid afternoon and raining and I remember I was so cold… I wore 3 layers for the majority of my internship! The difference was impressive.
For the two first months I was working in the vineyard doing de-leafing. This was to improve the air flow in the vineyard but also to remove any leaves which had suffered from powdery mildew. During the last month I helped in the tasting room and in the orchards picking ripe apples. I learnt about wine-growing, bottling, labelling and distribution. And I discovered the concept of wine tasting at Trevibban Mill, I liked to watch customers tasting at the bar and speak with them to understand their impressions of the wine. I understand English much better than before coming and even though I am not always completely understandable, I think I can have a pretty good discussion in English now!
What did you find the most interesting part of your job?
Working in the vineyard and learning about maintenance of the vineyard was really interesting. It was interesting to understand the decision of the orientation of the vineyard, density of vines, the varieties that were planted depending on the environment etc. Seeing the grapes develop over the three months I was at Trevibban was nice. I was sad to miss harvest though so when I came back home I helped during harvest at a vineyard close to Montpellier .
What was your opinion of English wines compared to French wine?
Some English wines are better, some less good than French wine. In general, I find French wine more tannic and developed. Also I find English wines much more expensive. For instance, a table wine can sell at £13 in England where we would buy it at £6 in France.
We already know that there are some English wines being sold in France… can you imagine your friends and family embracing English wine as part of normal life?
Yes, of course! I took a bottle of Rock Rose to the vineyard where I did harvest. The winemaker was surprised at the quality and the colour of the wine. It was fruity with a good balance between the sweetness and acidity, he enjoyed it a lot! I have two other bottles but they are “precious” so I am waiting for a good opportunity to taste them!
Finally, which was your favourite wine at Trevibban Mill?
Sparkling rosé. It was only the second time I tasted a sparkling rosé so I was interested. I love its sweet fruity smell and freshness. And in the mouth it is fruity with a really good balance. When you taste it you want more and more of it!