Melbourne Polytechnic student and winemaker Gabriel Monier left the family vineyard in France to travel and broaden his horizons, working his way around Europe before arriving in Australia.
His journey finally brought him full circle when he rediscovered his love of winemaking and enrolled in the bachelors’ degree at Melbourne Polytechnic.
As a child, Melbourne Polytechnic student Gabriel Monier can remember picking grapes with his grandpa on the family vineyard near Beaujolais, France. After school he spent several years travelling around Europe, working mainly in hospitality. It wasn’t until he came to Australia five years ago that he started thinking about winemaking again. “It’s not until you leave the vineyard that you realise how much it’s a part of your life. When I was 20 I just wanted to travel, but after a while I missed the land and the wine. It’s what I love and it’s a passion.” Two years ago, Gabriel enrolled in the Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking at Melbourne Polytechnic because it allowed him the flexibility to study online. “I wanted to dip my toe in the water.” At the time he was based in New South Wales, but after the first semester he decided he liked the course and moved to Victoria.
Gabriel has already practised some of the new techniques he’s learnt on his father’s vineyard. “I did some vintage with him when I was home in September. He was doing chardonnay the old-school way, quite oaky, while in Australia it’s fresher and fruitier in style. So I tried to combine these two approaches.” Despite coming from such a celebrated wine region, Gabriel is happy he chose to study at Melbourne Polytechnic. “I like Australia and the wine industry here. It’s quite dynamic and it’s got that new world view. It’s really interesting to contrast that with the traditional ways of France.”
As part of his degree, Gabriel has completed work placements at Mount Langie Ghiran in the Grampians, Chateau Saint-Andre Corbin in the South of France and this year he’ll travel to Margaret River, WA to work at Voyager. “It’s great because they give us two months in February and March to go out in the industry and work with winemakers.”
Gabriel also had an opportunity to make his own wine at Melbourne Polytechnic. “They gave us our own grapes and said here go and do your own thing. It was great. I don’t think there are many schools or universities that do that. I’ve been really happy with the content of the course and the small classes are great because it means we can stop the teacher if we don’t understand something.”
When he finishes his bachelor degree later this year, Gabriel plans to return to France and complete a masters of winemaking. “I hope to be able to work between Australia and France in the future. I like Australia as a country and I consider it home now and France the place where I was born. To be able to study in Australia has been great. I wanted to travel and open my mind. I don’t think I would have done all this if I’d stayed in France.”
Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking