Seriously, what happened to the whole month of May? It seems like I went from finals week in New Brunswick straight to June 10th, what gives? Well, it's now two days before I get on a plane in Philadelphia and head out to somewhere in the sunny countryside of France, which is really friggin' cool. I'll be spending two weeks in the town of Cluny which is in Burgundy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluny) and learning about the microbiology of wine and cheese. But, do you know what learning about the microbiology of wine and cheese entails? That's right, eating and drinking a whoooooole lot of each, which, again is really friggin' cool.
Alright, enough rubbing it in, Scott. Just get into it and introduce yourself to these wonderful people, will you? I'm from the scenic Buena, NJ which is situated in the heart of south Jersey between Philadelphia and Atlantic city. Buena is a small, mostly rural town that has a large italian population and is surrounded by large expanses of farmland. My family has called Buena home since 1914 when my great-great-grandfather Angelo bought a 20 acre tract of land here and began farming vegetables. He named his farm Bellview Farms, which was handed down father to son throughout the next several generations until my father took over the farm after graduating college.
By that point the farm had grown to encompass 150 acres of farmland and was well known throughout southern Jersey. My father continued to farm vegetables on our land for the next 25 years until he made a drastic change to our family history. The market for vegetables was declining, and with international competition increasing it was only getting worse. So, my father decided to get out of the vegetable business and open a winery (which might not have been my first idea in the situation, but it was a good one!). He started by planting a three acre vineyard and converting an old barn at the original Quarella homestead into a wine production area. Today, Bellview Winery has 40 acres of vineyards and produces 30 different wines, which are all made from grapes grown on our estate. Our wines have won distinguished awards and have given us a reputation for making some pretty tasty stuff. In the future, I hope to propel Bellview Winery to new heights by becoming the fifth generation of my family to cultivate our land.
At the moment I am studying Food Science and French at SEBS (The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences) of Rutger's University in New Brunswick, NJ. When I saw the course title The Food Microbiology of Wine and Cheese I thought, "what could be more perfect?". What I've learned from classes and from working at my family's vineyard and winery will be directly applicable, which is surprising. Let's be honest, what do we learn in school that we actually use in real life? I would say little to none, so I'm very lucky to have found such a fitting course.
I'm very, very, very, verrry, excited to be going to France, which will be my first trip to Europe; I'm even more excited to taste a whole lot of French wines and cheeses! This will be the first time I've traveled a long distance by myself and I have to admit that I am a little nervous, but I'm sure that I'll be fine. I can't wait to put some of the French that I've been learning for the past several years to use and meet some new friends. I suppose I will kind of have to, seeing as how I don't know anyone else who is taking the course, but I think that that will make this experience very special for me and leave me with a lot of lasting memories.
Anyhow, that's it for now, but I'll be posting plenty more once I get to France. Tout à l'heure!