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Confessions of an Intern

or as the french say, ‘stagiaire‘. (for you non-french speakin’ folk it’s pronounced ‘stahj-ee-air’)

It sounds so much more sophisticated ‘en francais‘, no?

Maybe even tack on an ‘Oh La La‘ at the end for good measure =P

La petite stagiaire, Oh La La! … Tres, tres sophistiquée, no? =P

Well, if you have been keeping up with vinous happenings here on Vinously Speaking, you know that I have finished up the course part of my Masters in Wine Business at the Burgundy School of Business and now have until mid-December to complete an internship and a thesis.

So where is your ‘petite stagiaire‘ doing her internship?

You have to guess =)

I will help you out a little with a few hints =P

Hint #1: I have never surfed in my life, but now I am able to surf everyday.
Hint #2: I don’t have a cat, but something is constantly resting on my lap, making purring noises.
Hint #3: I could be considered a tightrope walker with all the time I spend on a line.

Know where it is?

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My internship is ONLINE! Welcome to the 21st century of internships folks!

So I bet you’re scratching your head right now thinking … “Online? How does that work?”

Ok, to best explain this to you, let’s rewind to March of 2009 when I made my first post. I had just started Vinously Speaking, mostly to keep my friends and family back home up to date with my french wine adventures/studies in addition to posting any other cool vinous things I found online. Just to make sure they were actually reading my blog and not just saying they did, I decided to place a stat counter on it. I got my parents real good one time when I had asked them if they had read my recent blog post. They said they had read it the day before …. ummmmm wrong! No one even clicked on my blog that day! BUSTED! But instead of getting on to my parents case, I decided …. if my own parents aren’t reading my blog, there sure as heck ain’t gonna be anyone else who is.

So I set out on a mission to figure out to write blog posts that people would WANT to read! What was going to draw their attention and keep them coming back for more? What was going to get them to tell their friends, “Hey, have you heard of a wine blog called Vinously Speaking? You gotta check it out!” (A year and half later, I am still on this mission, but I like to think that I have made some progress in the right direction =D) So I became obsessed with this mission. I was staying up til the wee hours in the morning searching, reading, absorbing, anything that dealt with writing an attractive blog/wine blog.

One night, after feeling overwhelmed from countless Google searches, article/post readings, video viewings, and feeling like my head was a bowl of scrambled eggs … I stumbled across a crazy wine blogging couple that made the light bulb turn on and helped everything make sense to me. They turned my scrambled egg of a brain into Eggs Benedict! It was ‘social-media-love’ at first sight =) I took all the advice they gave from their videos, blog posts, PDFs, facebook posts, etc. and VOILA!!!

I noticed I was receiving a lot more visitors to my blog … and not just from my hometown, but from other countries!! Every few weeks, I would revisit the videos/posts/articles/PDFs to help keep me on track. I made sure to keep up with the new things they were posting … and the visitors to my blog kept on growing =) I learned how to use Facebook, Twitter and other sites to drive traffic to my blog, the kind of content I should be posting, and so much more. This couple were my blogging/social media role models!!

So time went on, my Masters in Wine Business classes started, my blog kept growing and taking shape. Then the time came to take one of our class trips to the London International Wine Fair. My director had approached me shortly before the trip to ask if I would be okay to leave a little earlier to London to attend a pre-Wine Fair conference on social media as he had a couple extra tickets. Naturally I said yes before he could even finish his question! I went home that night and looked up more information on this pre-Wine Fair conference and who would be there … and LORD N BEHOLD!!! The role model couple were going to be presenters there!!!!!!! I was finally going to have the opportunity to meet them face to face to tell them, “Thank you!!” for helping me grow my blog and become a better blogger.

Long story short, I met them, got to spend some time with them at the London Wine Fair and at the Wine Blogger inner after the fair. Then, about a month later, we spotted each other on Facebook. They were looking to take on an intern and I was looking for an internship … it was a match made in heaven!

A few months later, I officially began my internship with this couple with a little trip to Terrassa, Spain …. that’s right folks. In case you hadn’t guessed it by now, that couple is …
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Ryan and Gabriella Opaz of CATAVINO!!!!
And the internship is ONLINE! I am able to stay here in France and intern with them via the internet! How fitting it is that an internship in wine and social media should be done online? So COOL! I get a kick out of people’s facial expressions here in France when they ask where my internship is. They are expecting me to say the name of some domaine, or chateau, or wine merchant (negociant) … but when I tell them that I have an ‘online internship’ with a company in Spain which lets me do my internship while staying here in France, they sort of tilt there head to the side with a confused sort of stare in their eyes, a little something like this:

That’s my doggy, Dolce’s face when she is trying to understand what I am telling her =P

They usually stop asking questions after they hear ‘online internship’, but me being the punisher that I am, I make them endure the torture by continuing to the explain about Catavino, what they do, and how they are social media fairies, sprinkling social media dust all over the European wine world. Yes, I said it. I gave away their secret, Ryan and Gabriella are indeed fairies. Magical ones. And in the middle of the night they fly all over Europe, flying through the open windows of the European winemakers and sprinkling them with magic social media dust. =P There you have it folks … the confession of an intern.

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Okay, okay. You and I both know that Ryan and Gabriella are not social media fairies, but Ryan did go through this phase where he seemed to really think they were, so much so, that while I was visiting them in Spain, I had to get a little stern with him and make him realize the reality of the situation …



“RYAN, while it may be true that you do a lot to spread the goodness that is social media to the wine industry here in in Europe … YOU ARE NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA FAIRY!!”

I made him hand over his leather satchel of ‘social media dust’ that he always carried around with him. He was not happy, but after a few glasses of some magic CAVA, he snapped back to reality =)

Okay, all digressions and tales of fairies aside, I am 100% truly honored and ecstatic to be doing my internship with Catavino! I happy to be helping them with researching, planning, and developing a few projects they have brewing up at the Catavino headquarters, one of which being the European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in October!! (which is sold out by the way! Woot! Woot!, but still looking for additional sponsors, so if you are interested visit the EWBC link). Now as much as I want to go into more detail about exactly what my internship entails and the cool happenings I am helping to brew up, I unfortunately cannot go into more detail, just yet. I am sworn to secrecy and they have threatened to hack into all my social media accounts, hold them hostage, and black list me from all social media sites. =P (The social media black mail threat, I think is more of Ryan still not being fully over the fairy incident, but as long as I keep my mouth shut, or in this case restrain my typing fingers, nothing will happen and I am sure the fairy incident will be ‘water under the bridge’.) As soon as I am given the ‘green light’ I will divulge more about what your ‘petite stagiaire‘ is doing! All in due time folks, all in due time!

This truly is an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to work with Catavino, an experience that is so much more than just a line on my resume/CV. Originally I had plans on doing an entirely different thesis/internship, but when I had that one facebook chat with Gabriella and the Skype call with Ryan, I knew in my heart of hearts that this is the path I needed to be on … and you just cannot ignore a feeling like that!

I cannot believe that all those late, late nights surfing the social media channels paid off. This is just proof of the benefits that can happen if you really put some time and effort into Social Media.

So a big thanks to Catavino for taking on a crazy intern like me. =P

And, a big thank you to all of you out there who read my blog. I enjoy so much checking out my stat counter to see how many of you read my blog, where you are reading it from, and how my numbers are growing! You all are the inspiration and driving force for me to continue to build up and invest in Vinously Speaking. Thanks again for your support, readership, comments, etc. It’s my ‘food for blogging’!

See you on the next post! I was reminded that I still needed to make a post to introduce you all to this new french town I moved to, back in the beginning of July, so that is what I will post about. And to thank that reader for her support, the next post is dedicated to Karen from Manitoba, Canada! ;)

Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours,
The Ceci Sipper

  9 comments for “Confessions of an Intern

  1. dobianchi.com
    August 29, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    congrats on everything! and let us know when you come back to Texas… :-)

  2. Veronique - The American formerly known as Ceci
    August 29, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks a bunch!! And I will most definitely let you know when I go back to Texas!

  3. Robert McIntosh (@thirstforwine)
    August 30, 2010 at 1:15 am

    if only you knew what you have let yourself in for!

    :)

  4. Gabriella Opaz
    August 30, 2010 at 9:34 am

    @Robert What, an extra pair of wings to accompany her new fairy outfit? :)

  5. Veronique - The American formerly known as Ceci
    August 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Robert:I figured as much when I visited them =P

    Gabriella: I sooo want me some wings! Black, whimsical, sparkly ones, lol! Let's get some and wear them at EWBC, lol! We can be like the tooth fairy, except we leave USB keys instead of money, lol!

  6. brettthewinemaestro
    September 1, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Great news for all of you! Good luck, and I look forward to hearing how you get on.
    Now – I can imagine Ryan and Robert in fairy wings, but not, oh dear no, the tutus…

  7. Veronique - The American formerly known as Ceci
    September 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you Brett! I am so happy and excited to be interning with R&G. And I agree with you on the tutus, all though it would make for a great laugh! (and photo/blog opp!) Here's too hoping they will don wings at the EWBC!

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