Brock brings Icewine education to France’s wine country with new collaboration

Wine and gastronomy graduate students in France’s Champagne region recently gained an in-depth understanding of one of Canada’s top wine exports thanks to a new partnership with Brock University.

The course titled “A Canadian Icewine story: From production to consumption and beyond” was organized in a collaboration between Brock’s Goodman School of Business and NEOMA Business School’s MSc in Wine and Gastronomy program.

“This was an exciting opportunity to share our expertise in both Icewine marketing and production with one of the world’s most recognizable wine regions,” said Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes.

Nathalie Spielmann, Director of the MSc program in Reims France, worked with Goodman to create an online experience that immersed students in a new-world wine region.

“It was great for students to learn about a product not made in France, to learn from other teachers and to have a virtual tasting,” Spielmann said.

The course, which ran for the first time in March, included technical information on production of this signature style from leading Icewine researcher Debbie Inglis, Director of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute.

Students then heard from Goodman’s Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Marketing Professor Narongsak (Tek) Thongpapanl about the unique marketing considerations of the product. For consumers, Icewine has an experience curve different than other wine styles that can be steeper to climb in the beginning.

“It was great to use this educational session to present the history and life of Canadian Icewine that might be the fundamental reason of why we are the No. 1 producer of Icewine in the world in quantity and arguably quality too, and to share our in-house expertise on Icewine production and consumption,” Thongpapanl said.

NEOMA student Danika Leminski found the session informative, and said it helped broaden her perspective of marketing the luxury good.

“It really opened my eyes to marketing and distribution channels that I never thought of wine companies using before,” Leminski said. “This premium wine was able to reach tough, competitive markets by thinking outside the box.”

Students were able to apply their new knowledge in group presentations pitching potential new markets based on the information they learned. Tastings and pairings of wine with traditional and outside-the-box food options showcased the versatility of Icewine and articulated the experiential nature of the product.

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