Focus on Pierre Mettelin, an oenology professor

Pierre Mettelin who has been a Vatel Bordeaux professor for less than two years, is already one of the most appreciated faculty members. He’ll tell us about his very unusual career and his vision of Vatel students.

Focus on Pierre Mettelin, an oenology professor

You have been teaching at Vatel for almost 2 years now. Could you summarize your career so far ?

I hail from Pessac and when I graduated with a Doctorate in Economic Sciences and Sociology, I began my career as a researcher for the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) at the IEP (Institute of Political Studies) in Bordeaux.

After 20 years spent in research and education, I finally decided to devote myself to a long held passion : wine.

I went back to studying, and enrolled in the IPC Vins (the Institute of Wine and Spirits) diploma course at the Chamber of Commerce in Bordeaux. I went on to study for the DUAD (French Master of Wine diploma) at Bordeaux University’s Faculty of Oenology. I gained so much more than just the diplomas from these two courses.

During that time, I’d started giving classes on Wines and Spirits at the CAFA wine school, where I taught for 10 years, before leaving for Seoul in South Korea, where I worked as a professor of Oenology at Khung Hee University for 4 years.

I’ve been back in Bordeaux for 3 years now and a teacher at Vatel for almost 2 years.

In short, over the years, my career path has been constant in the field of further education for adults, but I changed sectors once I’d been ‘converted’ to the fascinating world of wine, which is both noble and complex but also brings people together.


Why did you join the teaching staff at Vatel ?

About ten years ago, I was able to observe the professionalism and excellent reputation of the VATEL Group. My opinion hasn’t changed : VATEL remains a prominent and highly respected institution in the field of further education and professional training in the hotel and tourist industry.

I had the opportunity to appreciate this during my various trips abroad.

So it was with pleasure and confidence that I joined the team in Bordeaux, who gave me such a warm welcome I feel very much at home !

The fast-approaching prospect of moving into new, nearby premises, which will be practical, comfortable and multi-functional (with its own hotel, restaurant, classrooms and cutting-edge technology,…) will certainly enhance VATEL’s high profile.


How do you think the students perceive the study of oenology ?

They are interested in oenology, to varying degrees and for different reasons. Wine is definitely federative – it brings people together and they are all discovering a complex, noble product, which is becoming a passion for some. I’ve observed a strong interest in food and wine pairing among the students.

Tasting has shown them an approach which is very different from the pleasure-principle aspect of the drink.

I encourage them to visit wine properties (during Open House weekends, etc) and to join Tasting clubs or practice food and wine pairing,…

In a nutshell, I hope to share with them this passionate interest in culinary crafts and hospitality, and to prepare for the future challenge of building relationships with customers and suppliers. In fact, I really don’t need to try too hard because many of them are already putting these skills into practice !


Would you like to say a few words about our students ?

I would like to say how much I appreciate their politeness and the ease with which they’ve settled into a disciplined routine. The students are focused and pay attention in class, even those for whom gastronomy is not a favorite subject, which I respect. They have a lot of drive, which is promising, but sometimes need to channel their energies…

They will be taking on key positions, and shouldn’t forget that - professional skills aside - they are vectors of the human values which are especially important these days.

It’s always a pleasure to interact with these students.


Any special memories you’d like to share with us?

At the last Gala, I was awarded the prize for the best new teacher. I was very touched by this show of appreciation on the part of the students in my first year at Vatel.


What advice would you give to students wishing to work in the wine sector ?

I would suggest they have a precise idea about what sort of job they are aiming for in the wine business, which offers a very wide range of professional possibilities. That decided, they should then do some market research. If need be, they can deepen their knowledge by enrolling on the « Master of Wine and Spirits » course, which has been recently added to the options at Vatel.          

Some of the students have already shown a strong interest in wine-based professions (Wine Bar managers, etc) and, when they come to me for advice, I try to gauge their level of motivation. I – and other people – are always ready to help. The ressources are there to show them that they are not alone in wanting to set up a business, which is the most frequent professional choice.