30 Dec Year in review 2018
Year in Review: 2018
On Being a Student
I have not written many blogs this year because my priorities changed as I became a full-time student. I returned to university to support my growing knowledge on working with my champagne cuvée Les Cinq Filles.V. Now that I am winter break, I’ll catch you up to my life really quickly. First, I want to take my hat off to all the students of the world. I am fortunate to have amazing well-versed teachers, all top of their game and a top notch educational facility to learn in. I realize I could not be in a better place to learn viticulture & oenology; however, every day I am filled with admiration for students who struggle to obtain their education – it doesn’t come easy. Applying for grants to pay their schooling fees and living expenses, books, and transportation. All those costs and being away from home is a big sacrifice but if they persevere it is a big win and will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. Personally, it is hard to be a student but I have a lot of backup that helps me focus on my studies and not have to struggle financially as so many do. With all that said and done, I believe that I will be a student for the rest of my life because while learning is hard work, it is also very rewarding and enriching.
One of the challenges of being a full-time student and running a business is managing time, which I thought I was really good at; however, once I began juggling traveling to London from Zurich for school twice weekly, completing assignments on the go, learning new subjects as a returning student, starting my day at 5am to get a few hours in for business, and not to mention my family, I realized how hard it is. I had to accept I would function in a constant state of exhaustion, including falling asleep while standing up, at dinners, and actually anywhere it was quiet, I would suddenly fall asleep oblivious to the world around. While I may not be the ideal student, this is what it means for me to go back to school and maintain the life I had before I started. Why do I do it many ask? I am highly motivated to learn. I have developed time management strategies that squeeze the most out of every available minute, such as reading on trains and planes, giving up my social life as it once was, reading before I sleep and when I wake. Being a student is all about reading and time to study takes priority; however, even though I utilize time well, I never feel as if I have enough time to study and dedicate to my assignments. That is a feeling I dislike. Today though, I am proud of my academic accomplishments, including organic chemistry, grapevine biology and! Learning more about plant life, viticulture studies including establishing vines (just planted here in June), driving the tractor (which I recently just bought my own) and working with vineyard machinery is all part of the challenge of learning to apply classroom knowledge to the field is just so great!
Champagne Les Cinq Filles V cuvée
2018 was a year of growth for Les Cinq Filles V, cuvée , now in its second year and can be bought Denmark in Leissner Wine Shop in Hellerup (a middle-class provincial just north of Copenhagen) and in Logismose on the rooftop of the great department store Illums in the heart of Copenhagen bustling Highstreet. The champagne is also distributed by Sigurd Møller in Aalborg, and JOHS. M. Klein, whom both cover restaurants and retail high end trade in Denmark. What is wonderful about having strong partners is they give the champagne reach outside of Copenhagen and in areas in Denmark I am not familiar with, which is a pleasant surprise and attribute for new clients. Just recently launched you can enjoy LesCinqFilles also now in Switzerland at The Dolder Grand hotel , the most outstanding fairytale style hotel in Switzerland also you can walk in and buy our bottles downtown Zurich in Arvino Wine Stores.
Les Cinq Filles V is a zero dosage (no sugar added at dosage) and is still relatively unknown style of wine to drink; however, for those who are partial to dry and extra brut, the Les Cinq Filles V cuvée is the perfect choice. Additionally, for those who live an organic lifestyle, we will be releasing a bio dynamic rose in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
New Years Eve 2018
For New Year’s, the best dishes to pair with Les Cinq Filles V champagne cuvée are oysters, caviar served on blinis with crème fraiche, raw fish and sushi, creamy chicken, oven baked fish and with a dessert that is not overwhelmingly sweet but more apple, pear with a lemon or apple profile and a buttery pastry. In fact, I have been drinking Les Cinq Filles V throughout the entire meal with great success. Try drinking Les Cinq Filles cuvée across a broad range of meals and you will be satisfying your palate more than you can believe and that’s purely because of its minimal sugar impact on the food. Zero Dosage rules! 2018 was a great year for this small production of champagne and we look forward too many new developments and an even greater 2019 so stay tuned!
Moving On From Saxo Bank, the End Of An Era
It’s not only the husband that has to move on, the wife and children and those that were long term involved have the affection too. Saxo Bank, Scandinavia’s most successful online trading bank was my husband’s business; however, I worked there from the beginning. and while it was my husband’s day to day life, it also affected the whole family when he made the decision to sell. Perhaps the biggest impact is having more family time together, and that is positive; however, it is odd not to be involved with something that was part of your life for so long and suddenly gone. The upside is we have a new life and new era for us all, filled with possibilities to do other things, explore and pursue interests we lacked the time to do before and that is quite amazing! On April 6th, we say thank you to all former and current employees for their hard work and loyalty by throwing a big party in awe of them. Thank you is a still a special word for many to say and to us it comes easy because we are grateful.
Health Retreat – Mother and Daughter Time
Many of you that follow me know that I every year I visit a Buchinger Wilhelmi Clinic in Germany to fast, detox and relax. There is a lot of controversy about fasting, and I have been doing this intervention for the past six years and am convinced it is one of the best ways for me to cleanse and reboot the system. Years get knocked off plus it helps manage my weight and brings me back to basic thoughts on life. I have experienced several serious illnesses in the past few years and this regime has been beneficial to my recovery. This year was special because my daughter Lauren joined me and we had mother and daughter time, which is always delightful.
New sports: E-cycling and Shooting
During my “fasting” stay at the health retreat, Buching Wilhelmi Clinic is situated besides beautiful idyllic Lake Constance, the summer was a wonderful summer this year. I took the opportunity to cycle around this awesome lake. I am not an experienced cyclist but I rented an e-bike with Lauren and we took a half day out to cycle around part of the lake at the town of Konstante and Meersburg. It was great fun, renting the e-bikes and enjoying the beauty of nature, particularly the ability to go uphill without the hard work, just with a press of a button, the electricity function kicked in and away you go, uphill with little effort. While cycling we also had time to chat about our student life, she too on her final year at Canterbury university, laughing and just be together is bliss. E-biking was so fun when we came home, we rented e-bikes from the local shop. We rented e-bikes again in Skane, while visiting the most northern tip in Denmark where the wind blows hard. I introduced this type of cycling to my husband and after a few trips which he liked it so much I purchased one for his Christmas gift this year. I have come to find out that there are many kinds of e-bikes (the city/commuter e-bike with number plates and a big engine, cross country e-bike for mountainous terrain, and the city e-bike which is for the basic riding and a small engine). For me the verdict is still out on which bike is the best; however, I do know I will be using this mode of transportation whenever I get the chance.
Shooting and guns – sport or self-defense?
I cannot imagine myself hunting and killing an animal; however, this summer I learned to shoot a gun using targets and clay pigeons. My motivation for doing this was to be part of the atmosphere (drinking champagne and eating in the field) and being a skilled markswomen. I also think it is good for eye-hand coordination to be precise and skilled in this area. I also think about the senseless deaths related to gun violence where innocent people are killed by a lone gunman or other reasons that result in death, which could be avoided. People don’t like to talk about guns, and while I am not in favor of personal gun use, I realize there is a purpose for guns in hunting and sport. I will continue to learn this sport.
Summertime with girls
Mykonos to Monte Negro and being a vegan during my summer vacation was easy. I suffer from a form of thrombosis, and while I have my high and low days, honestly, I prefer to have no days to worry about this. The fact of life is I have a chronic illness, which I haven’t really fully understood and is not so much fun. In addition to traditional medical treatment, I search for other preventive methods such as when flying, always do with compression socks (granny socks – can someone show me more beautiful model?), drinking a hell a lot of water throughout the day (min 3 liters), trying to exercise when possible, because getting oxygen through the system is key to a healthy body, so working out is king. I decided to go vegan for a few months and see if it had a positive impact on my health, which it did. It should be simple to put together some vegetables; however, it is harder than it sounds. Finding and affording fresh vegetables and eating a plant based diet takes some effort and money especially if you want it organic. I found in Scandinavia they were geared and friendly in most restaurants if you said you were eating vegan – often you get better meals prepared than non-vegan. The food stores where full of extraordinary shelf and refrigerated products purely for vegans, which I have not seen elsewhere, though I heard in California, USA it’s cutting edge and being a vegan is part of the “norm”. I found out you can live a full life enjoying all your favorites and still be vegan. Though Mykonos and Monte Negro are very different places, they have a lot in common in terms of food culture, which includes vegan friendly with the abundance of fresh organic vegetables, fruits and many gluten free products priced reasonably compared to elsewhere. The quality of fresh products was outstanding, though I found Mykonos to have a big market on organic and bio dynamic products on the shelf. Monte Negro generally grows organic as and doesn’t make a distinction or shout about it. The fresh food produce was outstanding in quality, and both are surrounded by water so a vegetarian /pescatarian lifestyle is optimal. You do need a little dose of B12 survive, and even with the extra supplements I take, I watch out not to overdo the vegan thing without getting medical advice first, though personally being vegan makes my body feel good. It is also great that my husband is also eating vegan at home only, which gives us another thing to share as a couple.
Applying school to reality and life.
Planting was done by hand using semi-automatic machines hired from the local agriculture farmer. It was just last year I was under pressure on one of my first assignments “Vineyard Establishment” which I poorly performed in but I can now proudly say the classroom lessons were effective, the reading material from was useful to establish this vineyard based on knowledge acquired through my education at Plumpton. That’s the beauty of Plumpton College – you walk the talk and have the opportunity to be hands on directly from the classroom. The plan is to work with the vineyard by the book, reacting to the micro climate conditions as the vines grow and see what happens. Our first harvest won’t be for at least two years and my dream wine would be an ice wine – is that even possible? Historical studies on the climate here could give indications. We will actually start off with a sweet desert wine and wait for the ice temperature of -7 to realize a dream of ice wine.
Celebrating 81 years old
OMG, my mum is 81 years old and looks like a dream – what is it with black skin? They say in America black don’t crack and I never really understood the logic behind that phrase but in the context of youthful, wrinkle free skin of my mother I see the logic. Both my mother and I have top quality facial skin. I use black soap daily and shea butter once weekly. For a professional regime, I have found a wonderful Swiss product Dr B that I use daily and a monthly deep cleansing facial at The Grand Dolder hotel Spa in Zurich. My mother as seen in the picture is on her 81st birthday in a Gucci fluorescent pink silk blouse and a pair of GUESS jeans, wow, talk about Glam-ma, she truly is a wonderful mother still going strong with good taste.
Christmas at home without my granddaughter Valentina – puff puff blew the dragon
All my children are grown today so all the Christmassy stuff you do with a young family are now good old memories; however, we have created new traditions. This Christmas with all my children except my older daughter and granddaughter, we started Christmas Day in the kitchen with each of us creating one dish for the Christmas table, though I used my elder privilege to sit on the side guiding them with a glass of Champagne Les Cinq Filles V in one hand and a British mince pie in the other, which were delicious together (it must be the rich raisin fruit compote). Watching the family bustle around the kitchen preparing their dishes, I tug at my heartstrings missing my older daughter and granddaughter. These days with people more mobile, living in multiple places over a lifetime and marrying people from different countries, means holidays are not always spent together as they once were when people stayed in the same area surrounded by family just miles or steps away. As with all changes, there is an up and downside, the upside being we get to roam and live all over the world, and the downside is we are further away from each other. The reality is we have to split time with family on holidays to be fair to both sets of grandparents, and be good sports when it is not our time, which makes me appreciate the time together even more.
A wonderful Christmas gift 2018
My biggest Christmas gift this year was to see a picture of myself from an old article on the champagne Les Cinq Filles cuvée in the Danish Newspaper Børsen. Børsen newspaper is the equivalent of the UK Financial Times.
They listed “ The years picture” best photographer , best picture , not sure how to really translate it but what’s the most beautiful gift of all is the picture of me in a bath tub ( fully clothed of course) sipping champagne , it was a great article and obviously a phenomenal picture, a lovely gift to end the year.
Lesson for 2019 is not to take anything for granted, embrace change and keep transforming and learning. So, I raise a glass and toast a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019 to all my readers!