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FEEDING YOUR CAREER: a talk on wine and cheese


Paula Papini Cook, BSc(AgEnvSc)’06, Wine Estate Le Miccine, Tuscany Italy
Marie-Chantal Houde, BScAgr’04, Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec

Paula Papini Cook, BSc(AgEnvSci)'06
Wine Estate Le Miccine, Tuscany, Italy

Montreal native Paula Papini Cook chose to also apply to the Agriculture and Environmental Science Faculty at McGill University, Macdonald Campus in the hope of branching into herbal medicine. After starting her studies in 2003 in Plant Science, she soon realized that she had found a field that truly inspired her. Alongside her Major, and in keeping with her Italian heritage, she also pursued a Minor in Italian Studies. Paula spent at least one month of every summer vacation in Tuscany with her great aunt; Paula knew that one day she would want to study in Europe and especially in Italy.

Her father suggested winemaking as a possible career path, and within weeks Paula had spotted a bulletin board at Macdonald Campus advertising a European Master's Course in Viticulture and Oenology. Paula began to research the idea and realized that winemaking would bring together all her interests, plant science, language, culture and travel. The program seemed to be tailor-made made for her; she applied to the course as well as to the FQRNT and European Commission for scholarship opportunities. To her delight she was accepted and awarded both scholarships to attend the Master Vintage Program which was based in three collaborating universities in Angers (France), Piacenza (Italy) and Valencia (Spain).

During the two year Master's Program Paula realized that she had found her true passion and the path to her future career. After graduating in 2008, Paula worked harvesting grapes and making wine in Italy and France, where she gained much needed practical experience. In 2009, along with the support of her parents, she set out to invest in a wine estate in Tuscany. In 2010, the family acquire ‘Le Miccine’, a small estate in the heart of the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Paula manages the whole estate covering all aspects from the grape to the bottle as well as the sales and marketing. She also rents the villa in the center of the estate to tourists wishing to experience Tuscany.


Marie-Chantal Houde, BScAgr’04
Fromagerie Nouvelle France, Racine, Québec

From a very early age, Marie-Chantal Houde has an uncommon passion for cheeses. After completing her Animal Science degree at Macdonald, Marie-Chantal left France. There she took an extensive training course on cheeses — ‘Fromagerie Internationale’  —  given by one of the best schools in the world in cheeses, the École Nationale d'Industrie Laitière et des Biotechnologies (ENILBio), Poligny, France.

Upon her return to Quebec in 2005, Marie-Chantal worked in various cheese factories. In 2007, she started “Création Fromages”, teaching and consulting in Quebec and USA cheese factories. In 2010, along with brother Jean-Paul, she started her own cheese factory — Fromagerie Nouvelle France —specializing in the production of sheep milk cheeses. ‘Zacharie Cloutier’, their first cheese, won best cheese in Québec at is first participation at the Caseus compeition in 2011, and has since won other awards. Fromagerie Nouvelle France is now buying sheep’s milk from 2 other dairy sheep producers.

Marie-Chantal is working full time in the cheese factory, and continues to teach classes at the Vermont Institute of Artisanal Cheeses (Vermont University, Burlington).