Saturday, January 10th (Day 12)

Our day of travel from Mendoza started with a late night after another fun night of dancing at Carilo. After a few hours of sleep, we packed up and tried to make the most of our last few hours in the city. We picked up last minute souvenirs and had our final Argentine lunches. Taylor, Melanie, and Sarah ran into Alex, Greg, and Michael getting lunch at a Mexican restaurant close to the hotel, called La Chachiquita, where we discussed our souvenir purchases. It is safe to say that all of us were sad to leave Mendoza when the buses left El Portal at 3pm on Saturday.

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Fajitas at La Chachiquita

After a short and somewhat bumpy flight from Mendoza to Santiago, most of the class ate dinner around 7pm (early by Argentine standards) at the Ruby Tuesday in the Santiago airport, while others had to make connections to other airports. Finally it was time for the class to part ways after dinner for various connecting flights. Saturday was bittersweet as we were all sad to leave the beautiful weather, good wine, and new friends we made in Argentina, but we looked forward to seeing family, getting back to UVA, and plenty of class reunions!

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View of the Andes on our flight from Mendoza to Santiago

 

Friday, January 9th: Day 11

Our last day in Mendoza was a blast. All six teams traveled to their respective client sites to deliver their final presentations and recommendations. Presentations were all around successful and ended in asados at client sites in celebration, all of which lasted well into the afternoon.

 

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Presenting at A16

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Lunch: Asado at the client site

Our last night began at El Faro Bistro, a restaurant with a picture-esque rooftop view of the city. We enjoyed champagne on the rooftop before moving inside for a heart-warming dinner with the clients and our peers. The professors as well as students gave toasts to conclude the night and we all had the pleasure of signing an Argentinian flag, which has been a tradition of the program. Similar to all UVa events, the dinner ended with students, professors, and clients arm-in-arm singing the Good Old Song. Finally we spent the rest of the night socializing with clients and enjoying the last few moments we had in Argentina.

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Rooftop View of Mendoza

-Miles Sollinger, Greg Waldrip y Melanie Wu

Thursday, January 8th: Day 11

Our time in Mendoza is slowly coming to an end, but before we go, we still have to complete our projects for the three wineries. Since presentations are tomorrow, all the students and professors stayed at the hotel today. We all practiced presenting with one another, and then in the afternoon, presented in front of David, Reid, and Stefano for further feedback.

Everyone spent the morning preparing their presentations by 4pm. At 4pm, our practice presentations began.

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Professor Bailey helping the Norton team. 

All groups were required to attend 2 other groups’ presentations and provide feedback on ways to improve. Most groups have 2 people present, with at least one person speaking in Spanish. These presentations were key in refining our presentations before we presented in front of the clients on Friday.

Emily, clearly excited about presenting tomorrow.

Emily, clearly excited about presenting tomorrow.

Nick practicing their presentation with Rex (not pictured).

Nick practicing their presentation with Rex (not pictured).

After the practice presentations, all the groups took into account David, Reid, and Stefano’s feedback and recommendations for improvement.

Max, from the Sin Fin team, talking to David English about ways to improve their presentation.

Max, from the Sin Fin team, talking to David English about ways to improve their presentation.

Many teams continued to work late into the night to make sure their presentation was as good as possible. For those of us working late into the night, the professors treated us to gelato.

Overall, it was a day packed with hard work and intense preparation. Hopefully, all the presentations will run smoothly tomorrow and we will wow the clients.

Thanks for reading!

Lillian and Nick W.

Wednesday, January 7th: Day 10

Wednesday started off like any other day. All teams visited their client sites, mostly for the last time, to wrap up their projects and prepare for Friday’s presentations.

With the heat of the summer, the teams at Bodega A16 experienced the first major power outage so far. Carolyn Gallagher told us that power outages were not uncommon, and so we experienced another aspect of Mendoza culture. No power meant no Internet, which was not the end of the world, but temporarily halted work for the day. With our unexpected downtime, the teams simply hung out while waiting for the bus to return. The tourism team took some pictures for their presentation, Jeannie took an early siesta and Lily drank mate, after which Carolyn taught us mate etiquette.

A candid A16 Tourism team, mid-photo shoot.

A candid A16 Tourism team, mid-photo shoot.

Jeannie practicing productive laziness.

Jeannie practicing productive laziness.

Carolyn passes the mate cup to Sarah. Alex watches.

Carolyn passes the mate cup to Sarah.

Because the Bodega Norton teams spent Tuesday at the hotel working on their projects, on Wednesday they saw where they would give their final presentations. Typical of Bodega Norton, the showing room was elegantly decorated: polished hardwood, old wines on display, and a central location for the projection screen. Located outside the gardens, the room was also where tourists tasted wine.

A garden at Bodega Norton.

A garden at Bodega Norton.

Later in the afternoon, we heard from David English, this time about how to present to foreign audiences. Because we aren’t fully immersed in Argentine culture in just two short weeks, David provided us insights for how to best present and pitch our projects to our clients. From general public speaking tips, like “speak so slowly that it is uncomfortable,” to how to best phrase critical comments in an sensitive manner, he taught us quite a lot.

David providing his Tips and Tricks to the teams.

David providing his Tips and Tricks to the teams.

After David spoke, groups continued to work on final report and presentation drafts, which we turn in for feedback tonight. The heat and stress made ice cream necessary, so Katie, Emily, and Lillian finished a half-kilo of gelato from Familia Perin.

Selfie with the half-kilo.

A selfie with the half-kilo.

From 10 PM until 1 AM, professors met with the teams to discuss the next steps of the projects. The feedback, though harsh at times, ensured that our deliverables were valuable to the clients. It gave us the momentum to keep working hard tomorrow in preparation for Friday.

Ciao for now, Katie Hofer y Varun Kulkarni

Tuesday, January 6th: Day 9

Our days in Mendoza continue to be a mix of ordinary and extraordinary. Members of the A16 and Sin Fin teams returned to their client sites while the Norton team stayed at the hotel to work. Teams are turning their attention away from analysis and have begun to develop insights for our clients.

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View from our office

It was another productive day for members of the A16 tourism team. Working in our outdoor office, we focused on finalizing the details of the tour packages and booking tool we are developing for the client. Much of our work today and over the past week and a half has been made possible by the help of Carolyn Gallagher, the founder of tour company Uncorking Argentina and our support contact at A16. Carolyn’s translating abilities and insights into the Mendoza wine tourism industry continue to be critical to the development of our project.

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Members of the A16 tourism team with Carolyn

After wrapping up work at the wineries, members of the A16 and Sin Fin teams enjoyed lunch with Carolyn at a popular vegetarian restaurant. This restaurant is one of two great vegetarian restaurants frequented by students on the trip. Who knew a country famous for its beef would also have such great vegetarian options?!

That night, we went to an incredible gastronomical restaurant a few blocks from our hotel. The restaurant was called Nadia O.F.

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Restaurant Nadia O.F. and the incredible set menu

The menu was very diverse with interesting combinations. Along with owning the restaurant, the owners run wineries. The food was designed to expand the pallet of the consumer. With inventive combinations of everyday foods, we had a true Argentine dining experience.

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Pickled de melón y sandía con menta y crujiente de quínoa.

Melon and wáter melón pickled with crispy quinoa.

 The experience lasted a total of 5 hours with great conversation throughout. We mixed things up at dinner with sitting with people outside of our majors, rooms, and groups. We particularly enjoyed talking to Professor Grazioli about his journey to UVa and experiences in Argentina. After this meal, we are jealous he gets to come back year after year. If only they needed TAs!

Gracias por leer,

Emily Leivy y Sarah Rennich

Monday, January 5th: Day 8

Despite the cold front heading towards Charlottesville and the rest of the East Coast, today we enjoyed a warm day in Mendoza with temperatures in the upper nineties. The A16 and Norton teams headed out at 8:30am for our third day at the client sites. The Sin Fin teams followed soon behind at 9:00am. All of the teams arrived with questions and objectives prepared for the winery staff to further develop our projects. As we begin our second week here in Mendoza, we are narrowing down our ideas into more concrete recommendations for the wineries since our final presentations are on Friday and report drafts are due this Wednesday.

The tourism team at A16 waits for Victoria to arrive.

The tourism team at A16 waits for Victoria to arrive.

At A16, we learned through Victoria, the head of A16’s tourism program, that the entire country of Argentina has a surplus of wine because of the economic crisis in the country. She mentioned that the government is actually considering purchasing excess wine from wineries in order to help increase their revenues. This surplus is why A16 is trying to increase its total revenues through adding tourism experiences at the boutique winery.

A16 tourism team wraps up their notes from meeting with staff.

A16 tourism team wraps up their notes from meeting with staff.

At Sin Fin, the two teams spent the entire time speaking with management to get key information about our projects – mainly Mariela and Leo. For the team working on an inventory management system for the Sin Fin gift shop, Leo was very helpful in showing us how the current Bejerman system works. Later in the afternoon while doing project work at the hotel, we were able to complete our “as-is” process model and further develop our “to-be” system recommendation. For the rest of the week, we plan on working closely with Mariela to continuously improve our new inventory management system with her feedback.

Sin Fin gift shop team works with Leo, the system administrator, to learn more about the Bejerman inventory management system.

Sin Fin gift shop team works with Leo, the system administrator, to learn more about the Bejerman inventory management system.

Each team left their respective wineries around 1 pm to return to El Portal Suites for some rest and lunch before meeting again at 4:00pm to resume work on our projects. A group of students went to the Bute restaurant and café for lunch, while a few others went to another restaurant next door for some much needed food.

Lunch - vegetable lasagna and chicken with rice and potatoes.

Lunch – vegetable lasagna and chicken with rice and potatoes.

For dinner, we as a group organized two reservations at Maria Antonieta, reportedly one of the best restaurants in Mendoza. The rest of the students had a reservation at the Park Hyatt Bistro M. We’re still getting used to eating dinner at Argentine time (~10pm) but our whole group is getting closer and more comfortable with one another which has been great.

-Natalie Newton and Melissa Xu

Sunday, January 4th: Day 7

Today, we had the same structure as the day before. Half of the class went to Zuccardi winery and the other half went to La Cachueta Spa. Both were incredibly relaxing and the group had an amazing day! At the Zuccardi winery, we arrived and were immediately given Rose champagne (which was delicious by the way) and then looked around at an art gallery in the winery itself.

Zuccardi winery collection

Zuccardi winery collection

After talking with an American expat named Tori about his experience in the tourism business, we went to go wine and dine for lunch in this beautiful outdoor area. We received multiple glasses of wine, lots of cheeses, a traditional beef “lomo” sandwich, and lots of yummy fruit! It was nice to be able to relax with everyone and not have to stress about anything!

Wine tasting at Zuccardi

Wine tasting at Zuccardi

After lunch, we went on a tour around the winery and saw a lot of the machinery and barrels used for fermentation and for the wine making process. It was really awesome to be able to compare that to winery tours from back home and see how Argentinian agricultural processes are somewhat different from back home in the States.

Fermentation room at Zuccardi

Fermentation room at Zuccardi

Finally, we ended the tour with wine tasting. We got to try three different wines: a white wine, a red wine (Malbec), and a port wine. We finished the day by purchasing souvenirs like wine, olive oil, and maps and then took a group photo before heading back to the hotel. It was a great day!

Ending the day with a selfie

Ending the day with a selfie

The following day, the other half of us went to La Cachueta Spa and enjoyed a relaxed environment after a weeks worth of hard work at the client site. We had the opportunity to be pampered and simply connect with nature. Upon arriving there, most of us decided to start with the “mud bath.” The process was quite simple: each of us took mud from the pile and lathered it on to our bodies. This is what we all looked like in the process of letting it dry:

Drying mud under the sun

Drying mud under the sun

Afterwards, we washed the mud off and decided to relax in the pool. The unique thing about La Cachueta was that it had six pools and each one got progressively hotter. The idea behind this was to allow the body to fully relax with the perfect increase in the temperature of the water. Before we knew it, it was time for a delicious meal provided by the spa. The meal was a buffet style and gave all of us plenty of opportunity to pick our favorite dishes!

Enjoying our food at La Cachueta Spa

Enjoying our food at La Cachueta Spa

After lunch, many of us split up and decided to do what we thought would fully relax and energize us for the upcoming week. We all left the spa completed relaxed and truly had an incredible experience!

Jennifer Harris y Gurpreet Kaur ☺

Saturday, January 3rd: Day 6

Working at a winery is a tough job, so all of the consulting teams spent the day relaxing. Half of us took a trip to the Cachueta spa, while the other half had a picnic at the Zuccardi Winery. Even after a late night at the Discoteca, we were all on our respective busses at 10:30 am to our destinations. As we headed to the spa, our journey took us through the foothills of the Andes, where we saw picturesque vistas and the Mendoza River.

The Cachueta Spa

The Cachueta Spa

Upon arrival, we were greeted with stylish white robes and escorted to changing rooms to prepare for total relaxation. The spa offered six pools of decreasing temperatures and a vat of mud for exfoliation. Most of us eagerly began lathering mud over our bodies. Once covered, we sat out in the intense Argentine desert sun waiting for the mud to dry. We then washed the mud off and were amazed by our luscious skin.

Lathering the mud

Lathering the mud

Awaiting the mud to dry

Awaiting the mud to dry

Next, we explored the various pools available to spa-goers. The first pool was near boiling, while other pools were cool and refreshing. After sampling the spa’s amenities, we ventured inside a building for lunch.

We were met with a buffet style feast complete with steak, ribs, chicken, sausage, made-to-order pasta, and assorted veggies. We ate like the president of the Argentina federal system.

After lunch, many students took much needed siestas in the shadows of the foothills on a perfectly kept grassy field. We talked. We read. We tanned. We laughed. We lounged. We climbed rocks. We met locals. We swam, and took more mud baths. Let’s just say we were sufficiently relaxed ahead of a work-filled next week.

Ready to explore the rocks

Ready to explore the rocks

Both the Cachueta and Zuccardi groups returned to the hotel at 6 pm, and had the rest of the day free for leisure. Some students went shopping; some took more siestas; and some went on a futile mission to play tennis. The tennis group got lost along the way, and ultimately could not find a place to play. After circling the Parque General San Martín, the group found a silver lining and treated themselves to milkshakes at a quaint café in the city.

To cap an ace of a day, we were also able to catch UVA’s thrilling double overtime victory against Miami before heading to dinner. Go Hoos!

Friday, January 2nd: Day 5

Today, we headed out to Cerro Arco for a hike/cooking class in the foothills of the Andes. About half of the team made the decision to stay at base camp and sustain everyone with their culinary prowess. An ambitious crew hiked the ~3 mile trek up Cerro Arco. Being in the desert, Cerro Alco features a steep dirt road and a cloudless sunny sky. We lathered ourselves with sunscreen and started our journey. The hike to the peak took about 1.5 hours and is considered a strenuous one. The view from the top was outstanding; a full 360 degree view with the Andes on one side and the Mendoza desert on the other.

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We spent a few minutes snapping pictures on top of the mountain and then made the rocky descent. We made it back to base camp sunburnt and hungry, only to find 700 empanadas and 50 pounds of grilled beef.

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The rest of the group who stayed behind learned how to make empanadas and cook Asado. We made caprese and beef empanadas, which you fold slightly differently based on what kind they are.

After we finished, they fired up their mud oven with wood. To test if it was hot enough, they place a piece of newspaper in the fire and count how long it takes to catch on fire. After the empanadas were in the oven, we went to work salting the beef for the Asado.

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The only seasoning that goes on the beef is copious amounts of salt, but the meat was delicious when it finally came out. While everything cooked, we kept ourselves busy by doing some riddles and puzzles. Once the hikers returned, we all sat down to relax and enjoy the meal we had cooked. Following lunch, we all got to try some matte, a traditional Argentinian tea drink.

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At night, we were all fairly tired, but decided to go out to a discoteca! We went early and had dinner in a private room. Once the dance floors started to fill up around 1:30 AM, we ventured to the “ultra VIP” area looking over the main dance floor. We have to say the “main” dance floor, because there were approximately infinity places to dance, all with different kinds of music and people. The Argentinians have a way of enjoying their night life that most of us had never experienced. They LOVE to dance, and when we all filtered out around 5-6 am the club was more crowded than it was at 1 am. La fiesta nunca muerte.

-Katherine Fetscher y Nick Trinchere

Thursday, Jan. 1: Day 4

¡Feliz año nuevo! Happy New Year!

After celebrating New Year’s Eve well into the early morning hours, we were all relieved to be able to sleep in for the first time during the trip. This extra sleep was necessary after a packed first few days. The hotel even extended breakfast from 10am to 11am! However, some of us still struggled to get out of bed in time to grab some breakfast food. This posed a particularly bigger problem today because almost everything, including restaurants, was closed for New Years Day.

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The Norton Bottling team discussing ideas over breakfast

The city was quiet and it seemed clear that we weren’t the only ones recuperating from a late night! We were warned that maybe only a few smaller restaurants would be open. Luckily, some of us were able to find an open restaurant though. It was still not possible to grab a quick lunch though. Even on New Years Day, a typical Argentine lunch still lasted a couple of hours.
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The city was quiet and restaurants were closed on New Year’s Day

During the day, we all met with our teams also to continue working on our projects. We still had the normal 5-8pm work time scheduled later in the day, but since we all took the day before off to go rafting and/or ziplining, we had to make up for it.

Today was an important step for our projects as we received feedback from our professors on our executive summaries. These 20 minute sessions focused on constructive criticism rather than compliments in the interest of time. Their insight was integral as they helped focus our scope of the project and offered alternatives to our current proposed solutions. We also had time to ask specific questions and go over our ideas.

Following these group meetings, we dedicated time to discuss our encounters with culture and the economy in Argentina and its overall effects on business practices in Mendoza. We first spoke about several aspects of culture that we have noticed thus far on our trip. We elaborated on these observations by analyzing their effects on the workings of business and how they vary from known practices in the U.S. For example, we have noticed that our clients are often tardy, which is of course considered rude back home. We then spoke about the unstable Argentine economy and how it has an effect on businesses. Most transactions consist of cash transfers so it is important to invest in hard capital as Argentines are unsure of how much worse the peso will become day-by-day.

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Professor Grazioli leads the discussion on Argentine culture

– Mai-Vi & Max