Behind the business – Champagne Trip

Halfway in June I went to the champagne area in France to work on a project and I had the best time of my life. It made me realize how much I love to travel and to work on creative projects. The last months have been really busy and chaotic with school and other projects, so I really needed this trip. It gave me so much energy and I kept me going to create something cool.

For my study International Lifestyle Studies I had to create a new concept for Jeroen’s company Jérôme’s Champagne. Jeroen imports champagnes from local farmers in the champagne area. He chose our concepts of all the other groups and we kept in touch. He invited Sieske and me to go with him to France to make content for his company. Sieske is a classmate who also worked on the project and she became a really close friend of mine. She’s a photographer as well and Jeroen asked her to make photo’s during the trip. I had to film the interviews with the farmers and the process of how all the different champagnes are made.

On Saturday night we we took off to France with lots of gear and the best mood ever. On the way we watched the sundown while we were driving through the Ardennen. It was stunning and it gave me so much energy already.

At midnight we arrived at the lake and we settled down the camper called Benny. The morning after we started our day with a swim in the lake. After breakfast we headed off to the first farmer in Meurville, called Jérôme Cothias. Sieske and I documented the tour he gave us through his company and we tasted some really good champagnes. In the evening we went to Greg, a local DJ in Troyes, to have dinner. Jeroen met him at one of his trips to France and he wanted to make a mix for him that he could play at his tasting events. We had a really fun night drinking Chablis and cuddling with his dog. The day after we visited two farmers: Pascal Walczak in Les Riceys and René Joly in Landreville to document the tour and the interviews and to taste their campagnes of course.

On Monday night we had dinner at Pierre’s house, the farmer of Marie Demets in Gyé-sur-Seine. We finally were able to take a shower there and I felt like a whole new person after that. We had a really fun night and after that we spent our last night sleeping in the vineyard. The next day we went to Pierre again to document the process of the campagnes of Marie Demets and after that we went home again.

We learned a lot about champagne and the process. It was great to meet all these people and to see (and taste) their passion. They were so kind and even though we didn’t really talk because of the language barrier we had a really nice time together. It was amazing to sleep in the camper underneath the stars. Just being outside and on the road together the whole time. It made me realize that I don’t care about material things or ‘home’. I just want to be outside and move on from place to place to create things and meet new people, to hear about their passion and do something with that. If this is what they call working, just let me work all day!

Did you enjoy reading about work related trips like this? Let us know!

Iris Anne de Smit

My work is inspired by all kinds of beautiful people with a focus on gender and identity.

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