Jesus Vidales - Tour of Spain and Turkey

Balboa Bay Resort (Newport Beach,CA)

*at time of award

1. What did you learn through this experience?

• Spanish wine making methods, with a focus on Penedes and La Rioja Alta regions.
• Traditional Cava making methods, Penedes Spain.
• Traditional Rioja wine making methods, La Rioja Alta.
• Food and Cava pairings
• Food and Rioja wine pairings
• Viticulture and wine making methods of Spain
• History of wine making Rioja
• Cultural significance to wine in Spain
• Economic Impact of wineries in Spain
• Turkish Wine making methods and viticulture, with a focus on Western Anatolia Region.
• Turkish wine laws and regulations.
• Government impact on the Turkish winemaking community
• Modern Turkish wine and food pairings
• History of wine making in Western Anatolia Region
• Religious and government impact on the economics of wine producers
• Cultural and Historical ties to winemaking

2. What do you hope to do with this knowledge now?

The amount of knowledge acquired on a trip like this is quite overwhelming. I think it will be most easily portrayed in the documentary I will be working on over the next couple of weeks, and submitting to Inspire Artistic Minds.
I plan on showing my short film to all of my associates in the restaurant industry, as far as what they take from it, that is upon them. I will be sharing my wine knowledge from this trip to fellow trainees and management from this point on in my life. What I will be able to better portray is the social importance and Impact that food and wine has on the countries that I visited. I often say that you have to be passionate about what you do, and I can better convey that passion now that I have had a firsthand experience with the people in their native country, enjoying and learning from the best in their industries. The passion that these cultures have for their wines and food is unparalleled to anything I have experienced in my life. Through passion I will share my knowledge.

I found it extremely fascinating speaking with Enis Guner, 3rd Generation owner of Sevilen Winery in The Western Anatolia Region of Turkey, (2nd largest producer of wine in Turkey). We talked about the historical significance of wine making in Turkey. There has been recent discovery showing signs that wine making could have dated back to 3,000 BC. This is a remarkable discovery and seems to be the perfect blueprint for some of the best wine makers in the world, but remember, Turkey is now and Islamic country. This is the very essence of Turkish Culture. There is this fantastic deep rooted history that has the foundation of being everything great about food, wine, culture, economics, education and politics, but it seems to be shrouded by Government agenda and religious strong hold. This is in fact what brought me to Turkey. There is a strong paradox in the culture of wine making here.

You would think that Turkey would be the wine making capital of the world, but it is not. It is far from being the capital of wine making. People rarely if ever get to experience a Turkish wine. I have had the opportunity to taste through many Turkish wines and speak to one of the largest wine makers in the country. I can now say that the wines of Turkey are in fact world class. Turkish wines are going to make a strong impact on the world soon. It is important for the wine to be of world class quality, but it is equally important that the consumer knows the history and significance of this wine making region. It is in fact the reason wine exist today. This is extremely valuable knowledge that I am excited to share with others.

3. How has IAM been an impactful part of connecting you to this experience?

IAM has showed me that there is a place and purpose for people that are passionate about the service industry. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of the service industry and it can be sometimes difficult to remind yourself of why you do what it is you are doing. IAM has reminded me that the power of hospitality and knowledge is of a great importance in today’s society. I have dug deep into myself while going through the application process, and in doing so I was reminded of why I am in the service industry. It is because I love creating experiences for people, I love showing people a great time through food and beverage. The “yum” of a great bite of food and the smile after a sip of wine are the things most of us take for granted. Through this experience I can remind myself and the people that I serve and manage the importance of creating and enjoying that memorable experience.
Financially speaking, it has relieved some of the stresses of travel. It is hard to retain information and knowledge if you are constantly stressed about the financials of your trip. It has allowed me to travel somewhat worry free and “extend the branches of my travel tree”. The trips total cost was $4,500, so for IAM to cover about 10% of that cost it has been very helpful.

4. What are your thoughts on IAM as an organization dedicated to connecting artists to the things that will inspire them?

I am proud to be an ambassador of IAM. I find myself talking about the organization often. It is a great opportunity for artist to follow their dreams and find inspiration in places and through events. I think it is a fantastic organization and it is refreshing to know that IAM will always be there assisting in the Inspiration of others. Walking through the wineries and vineyards of Europe has been a lifelong dream of mine. To experience these things and learn what I have learned will be something that I can take with me for the rest of my life. I would have done this experience regardless, BUT I would not have gone through this experience feeling so much appreciation for my work and research on this subject. IAM shows the community that they do care about things people are passionate about. IAM understands the importance of preserving the history, knowledge and culture of the world through inspiration.

Bobby Navarro