Britlandish asks … Nicole who teaches winemakers English


Hi Nicole,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask you a couple of questions about the “Rhine Valley Institute” and your English trainings.

First of all, what made you fall in love with the English language?

When I was 19, although I had successfully completed my A-levels, I could not speak English at all. However, I had a general interest in languages, plus I wanted to work in hotels, preferably outside Germany. So languages were a valuable asset. In the end, I really only got into it when I fell in love with an English boy named Mark.

Now that sounds familiar 😉

But let’s move on – from old flames to what made you start the “Rhine Valley Institute”:

After 10 years of working in the office (export departments in the chemical, paper and wine industry) I simply needed a new challenge. As fluent Business English was one of my greatest skills, along with, you know, the usual organizational and communication skills, and as I had long been toying with the idea of teaching English, I started off by doing a methodology course, then created a business plan and finally announced myself “ready for take-off”.

What intrigues me most about your “Rhine Valley Institute” is that you teach winemakers English. What does this training include?

Well, I teach them the major part of the language they need to describe their vineyards, the process of winemaking and working in the cellar. Additionally we practice the language of describing wine in a professional manner, mostly in a positive way because it is generally needed to enhance sales. Additionally, we might discuss which kinds of closures are appropriate for which wine and how this or that wine estate manages to stand out. My seminars are usually one or two days long and take place all across Germany. I love teaching wine lovers and wine professionals. They are usually a great crowd.

Do you also offer language holidays for winemakers who are interested in meeting fellow winemakers abroad?

In fact we are offering a wine and English course for anyone interested in wine in January 2014, 2 weeks in South Africa. This course has been tailor-made to satisfy winemakers and wine lovers alike; information can be found here

What is your favorite wine?

I really love German Riesling, off-dry with a lot of tropical fruit in the nose and a nice refreshing acidity. Germans are true experts at making their Rieslings reflect the terroir. However, I prefer the easy-to-drink ones, with a slight fruity sweetness and not too much of a mineral character.

Anyway, I don’t drink much alcohol, which might come as a surprise to some of my students.

Things you tell Germans about Great Britain (good and/or bad):

After my Homestay in Brighton I am certainly going to talk about good food. My family cooked twice a day, all fresh, no soggy vegetables at all. What I also appreciate is the friendly small talk, something that Germans often need to practice a little more in our English courses. Finally, I love the English rolling countryside, even in bad weather.

Nicole, thank you very much for your time! And good luck with your wine and English course in South Africa!

Below please find all contact details if you wish to get in touch with the “Rhine Valley Institute”:

Nicole Tomberg, Rhine Valley Institute
Business English in Mainz, Wiesbaden, Ingelheim
Englischtraining und Übersetzungen für die Weinwirtschaft
Burgweg 9a, 55413 Trechtingshausen
Tel. 06721-9799491, Mobil 0179-1663873


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