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Santé! Cardiff graduate secures dream role in French natural winery

29 July 2022

Eleanor Maudsley
Eleanor Maudsley

A modern languages student will travel to the Loire Valley in France this September to pursue her dreams of working in the wine industry, an ambition ignited during the pandemic.

Eleanor Maudsley, who recently completed the final year of our French and English literature programme (BA), has secured a placement at a vineyard in Domaine La Taupe, a natural winery in the village of Thésée situated between Tours and Orléans.

Eleanor, who is fluent in French, was living alone in Cardiff during the 2021 lockdowns and was unable to travel to France for her year abroad. During this period she used her time to pursue her level 1 and 2 Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) exams.

Speaking of this experience, Eleanor said, “My love of France really pushed me to learn more about the French wine industry, an industry that encapsulates the history of French geography, biology, culture and cuisine. Because I couldn’t go on my year abroad, I did an online programme with other French degree students and I would discuss my growing interest in wine with them.”

From this point, Eleanor’s extracurricular interests began to spill into her studies where she wrote an essay on the history of sexism in the French wine industry and the changes being made to rectify it and in her final year, she carried out her French oral presentation on the cultural influence of French wine both globally and in France today.

Eleanor is currently studying for her level 3 WSET exam in preparation for September and is looking forward to moving to France thanks to her studies at the School of Modern Languages. She said, “With patience and persistence, the growth I have experienced has now given me the credence to move to France and immerse myself in a country that I have always wanted to be a part of - I feel well prepared and know I will not only be able to hold my own in conversation there, but also be able take care of myself in a foreign country as I know the culture, amongst other things, better than I could have before.”

Looking to the future, Eleanor would like to pursue a career as a sommelier or as a wine journalist. The latter would also see her combine her love of French, wine and creative writing, another hobby she actively developed during the pandemic. Just recently Eleanor won a French creative writing competition organised by Durham University and has been accepted to Glasgow University to carry out an MA in Creative Writing which she has deferred until she completes her placement in France.

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