Roche Mere



William Ethan




Q: What is the Roche Mére wine school?
A: Roche Mére is a small boutique wine school based in Beaune, France, teaching the intimate secrets of Burgundian wines.

Q: How is this experience unique?
A: It is a unique approach to teaching the wines and vineyards of Burgundy in that it is based off of the philosophy that seeing and tasting is believing. This program strives to get the participant as close to the source as possible so that specific vineyards become engrained in one’s memory, making the flavors and characteristics of their wines come alive on the palate and in the conscious.

Q: What will we be doing exactly?
A: In an effort to become more intimate with Burgundian wines, we will be dissecting each village, locating its vineyards, and tasting their unique characteristics. Our tastings will be conducted in or around the vineyards themselves so as to link place, sight, sound, and smell with taste.

Q: Will we be tasting wine?
A: You will be tasting wine in situ to gather a precise database as to what specific vineyards look like, where they are located, how they feel, and how they taste. Over the course of five days, one will be tasting the whole of the Cote D’Or, and highlights of the Cote Chalonaise and Cote Maconais. The end result is an unparalled sense of place, taste, and perception of the wines of Burgundy.

Q: What is the structure of a normal day?
A: On a normal day, the group will gather and be picked up at a central location in Beaune at 9am. There will be a morning session of 3-4 hours. Then, a pause for lunch of 1.5 hours. The second session of the day lasts 3-4 hours, and then you are dropped off at the pick up location at the conclusion of the day. Normal days are from 9am to 5pm.

Q: Where in Burgundy will we be tasting?
A: Roche Mére is unique in that it offers a complete in-depth field study from the north to the south of the region. We start in the north near Chablis, and descend over five days through the appellations of the Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonaise, and Cote Maconnaise. The vineyards are our classrooms. This in-depth approach leaves no blind spot behind in your breadth of comprehension. The appellation of Beaujolais will not be visited on this five-day course.

Q: Who is a good candidate for this course?
A: Roche Mére is a serious study of the wines and vines of Burgundy. But as they say, all work and no play is no good. This experience is aimed at the curious heart who truly wants to come closer and grasp a better understanding of the underpinnings and nuances of Burgundian wine. Whether you are a wine professional looking to grow and elevate your services, or a passionate collector or amateur, the door lies open.

Q: How big is the size of the class?
A: Intimacy is the key during this educational journey. Each group is capped at a maximum of eight participants, creating a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Each student’s voice is heard and interactive questioning allows the participant to grasp and retain more.

Q: Are groups mixed?
A: Groups are normally mixed groups of enthusiasts of all kinds. If you would like to book a private group, please inquire.

Q: What is included?
A: The tuition fee includes five days of hands on, expertise gustatorial and geographical education in the actual vineyards of Burgundy. Access and knowledge to the “off the beaten path” locations, and a guided in-depth exposition of the heart and soul of the vineyards. All didactic information and course book will be furnished.

Q: How long is the course?
A: The course is five full days. It starts on Monday morning and ends on Friday evening.

Q: How does lodging work?
A: Each person is responsible for his or her lodging in the town of Beaune. It is NOT covered in your tuition. Each person decides whether they are on a tight or liberal budget. Double rooms can be had between 25 Euros a night to 800, depending on your needs. I will make recommendations and help in finding the right fit for your reservation.

Q: How does food work?
A: Food works in a similar manner. Each student is free at night to eat as they like from great value bistros to Michelin Stars. Breakfast is eaten before the gathering and departure. Lunch is eaten on the road at lunch break and there is always an option between a sit down lunch or an easy picnic.

Q: How does transportation work?
A: You are responsible for arriving to your lodging in Beaune, France, and similarly departing. During the course of the education you will be picked up in a loading location and personally chauffeured in a private touring vehicle during the course of the 8-9 hour day for five days. You will be dropped at the loading location in the center of Beaune at the end of the day to return to your lodging and evening meal.

Q: When can I do this school?
A: Roche Mére operates during selected weeks in the months of April, May, and June. Please call to inquire as to specific dates

Q: How can I sign up?
A: You may call William Ethan or correspond by e-mail located in the contact page. In order to reserve your place, a deposit of half tuition is asked. The full balance is asked two months before the date of your departure to Burgundy.

Q: I do not speak French. Is that ok?
A: Your teacher/guide will take care of everything in the heart of rural France. Do not be afraid.

Q: Will we be active?
A: As with all good things, sometimes there is a squeeze to get the juice. Physical activity is rated moderate to low-moderate. We will be walking in vineyards, and on pathways to attain better perspectives on villages and vineyards that a car cannot get to. Please be able to walk for up to 25 minutes with no problem. Footwear and proper outdoor clothing will be recommended before the trip.

Q: Sounds pretty serious…will I have fun?
A: The first goal of this course is to expand your palate and knowledge of this majestic vitucultural region. We will be driving and walking through some of the most beautiful towns and vineyards that exist, and tasting and learning of the ethereal and diverse wines that they produce. An unforgettable time will be had by all. The didactic approach to the course is rigorous; the actual journey is however paved with discovery, friendship, and laughter.
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