Brewing and viticulture play an important role in the history and culture of Italy and Germany. Emerging economic, political, and environmental pressures, however, are fundamentally changing how these traditional arts have been practiced for over two thousand years. Beginning first in Mainz and then gradually traveling south to Venice through Munich and Bolzano, this Elon University study abroad course will examine the cultural significance of wine and beer in Italy and Germany; brewing and viticulture as a vehicle for constructing and expressing national identity; the impact of climate change on European wine regions; organic and biodynamic agricultural practices; viticulture and enology in Italy and Germany; the globalization of wine; small business practices and entrepreneurship in the European Union; and the economy of importing Italian and German wines and beer to the United States.
Site visits to vineyards and breweries, as well as intensive workshops at national wine academies and institutes, will provide study abroad participants with a unique first-hand perspective on the arts of brewing and viticulture in Italy and Germany. Participants will also enjoy a scenic cruise on the Rhine River, dinner in a German Biergarten, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, a breathtaking train trip through the Alps, lunch at an Italian trattoria, a walking tour through the Renaissance glory of Verona, and a fascinating excursion to a Venetian glass factory. Due to the intensive linguistic interaction required by the site visits and workshops, students participating in the study abroad are encouraged to complete two semesters of either Italian or German prior to departure (at least up to 122) with a “B” average or better. More advanced students in both programs will be given registration preference and no language placement exam credit will be allowed.