Eline Clerckx is 23 years old and she is from Belgium. She is currently a graduate student in molecular biology specialising in plant- and agrobiotechnology at the inter-university programme of VUB, KULeuven, and UAntwerp in Belgium.
Why did you choose to take part in this summer school? What were your objectives?
I have been visiting Bordeaux every summer since I was a little kid, and I appreciate the beauty of the region and its vineyards. Naturally, viticulture has always fascinated me and now that I am becoming more educated in my field of study, my interest was piqued even more. Working on a paper I was writing for a course on plant diseases, I read about the Grapevine Fanleaf Virus and its effects on vineyards. This confirmed that the topic of vineyards and using biotechnology for disease resistance in crops was something I enjoyed reading and learning about. It is a topic I could see myself doing research on, in the future. Since viticulture is the first step in the development process of creating wines, I think it is important to know the wine industry well if you want to do relevant research that can be applied in the field. While I have a solid background in science, I did not have much background in other aspects of the industry. Therefore, I was eager to learn more about oenology and the economic and marketing aspects of vine and wine in general. This is why I was very excited when I found out about the summer school “Wine and sake: the cutting-edge of oenology and sakeology” and decided to apply.
What did you learn from this experience? What is your overall impression?
I learned a lot during this summer school and I have a much clearer view of the overall wine industry and the complexity of oenology. The sakeology part was very interesting to me as well. Even though I was relatively new to the concepts of sakeology and did not know much about it, I found that it is another fascinating industry.
What was the highlight of the programme?
It is difficult to pick only one highlight because I had so much fun during the entire week. But if I really have to choose I think the highlight of the programme was the visit to ‘Martell’. It was so interesting and very beautiful. It was nice to see the cellars and hear the story of the ‘Martell’ business.