Thursday – December 28th – The Arrival

Thursday was the beginning of our Argentina adventure. Everybody reached Mendoza successfully and checked in at the Hotel, although many of us had the delivery of their luggage delayed by several hours. The class formally began with a “Welcome to Mendoza!” reception with pizza and empanadas. Next, we met Jose’ and David, who will be our guides throughout our stay in South America and gave us an introduction to the Argentine culture and how to consult in Argentina.  After a well-deserved siesta, we had our first work session to prepare for the client meetings at the wineries tomorrow morning.

TeamClientAnnaBistro2   TeamClientAnnaBistro

The highlight of the day was the dinner at a local restaurant called Anna Bistro, which included the clients from three wineries: Lamadrid/Durigutti, Lagarde, and Kaiken.  This gave all of us a nice opportunity to begin to establish cordial relationships with them, which are a must in Argentinian consulting engagements. The relaxed environment and the delicious food certainly helped us to do that.  Overall, the day was a clear success.

– Stefano G.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final Day and Departure from Mendoza

After two weeks of challenging client work, immersing in the Mendoza culture, and plenty of new experiences, it’s hard to believe that it’s coming to an end. Today, we said our sweet goodbyes to our brief home. We woke up in the morning, scrambling to pack away clothes, souvenirs, and wine from our respective wineries.  Luckily, check out was early so we had a few hours to kill in the city.

After consolidating our luggage, many of us decided to take the last few hours to make some last-minute rounds for lunch and more souvenirs. Some ended up getting a fast lunch at the Subway around the block before picking up chocolates and leather key chains to bring back home. Others went out for brunch or purchased Messi jerseys. After this, it was time to head back to the hotel and prep for departure. Many students were headed on to new adventures in South America, taking advantage of the free days before classes resume.  Whether leaving for the Chilean beaches, the Andes or the good ol’ USA, we were all anxious to get where we were going.

At the airport, the group rested from the lengthy check-in process and played cards at the gate, discussing the different routes of the day-long flight sequence that would bring us home.  Although many of us were seated together on the first couple of flights, our group slowly dwindled and diverted, making way for nostalgia and some much needed rest.  For many of us, our last group activity was a delicious welcome home meal at the most American place we could find in Santiago airport: Ruby Tuesday’s.  Enjoying salads and burgers and endless fried foods, we shared memories and goodbyes.

I (Shannon) however, was lucky enough to once again ride all the way back to DC alongside Professor Bailey.  Hearing some of his final thoughts about the course and the students that surprised and impressed him was a great way to conclude my trip.  When we were thinking back to the first day where we all didn’t even know each other’s names, it hit me how quickly we had all become so close. A group of 30 students I likely would never have met, and certainly never known as well, has now shared one of the best traveling and academic experiences of our lives together.  I strongly believe we will continue to cherish the memories of this culturally and academically intense study abroad program, despite us having referred to it as “vacation” most of the time.

Meanwhile, as I (Grant Z.) boarded the plane to cross the Andes and played my newly discovered Spanish Spotify playlist, I began to think about the unique experiences of the trip. From zip lining to rafting; from late night work sessions to sparkling wine and asado, it truly was an unforgettable experience. I finally broke out of my train of thought long enough to capture a picture of the Andes, a spectacular last view of our time here in Argentina. Salud to amazing experiences, amazing people, and a wonderful new culture. Ciao Argentina, we will see you next time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 10, 2017

Today each team had their final presentations.The first teams to present were the Cruzat teams, who left the hotel at 8am for their 9am presentation. First the tourism team presented their recommendation. They recommended creating a gift shop and an electronic post card to send to tourists who would enter their information on an iPad. Next the data integration team presented the two databases they built. The Cruzat executives were extremely excited by both recommendations and especially had a lot of questions about how the new databases worked. Thacher and Ted then installed the database for the clients after the presentation. Once the work was done both teams celebrated with the clients, sharing champagne and eating asado.

The Bodega Dante Robino teams enjoyed a unique experience this morning during their carpool with the Cruzat teams.  Every prior work day, the Dante Robino teams were dropped off first, but as Cruzat was the first site to do their final presentations, we were able to enjoy the majestic and breathtaking views of the Andes mountain range in between these two wineries.

After soaking in the incredible view and enjoying necessary naptime, the teams arrived at Dante Robino to prepare for their 11am final presentations.  My team, whose project was to improve their tourism reservation system, presented first.  Jack and Chris took the lead on delivering the slideshow and did an impeccable job running through our many tutorial videos and recommendations for their new reservation calendar and data storage/analysis spreadsheets.  Next, the other D.R. team presented their pitch for a revamped tourism strategy, which included “wine cards” to help guests remember the specific type of wine they sampled amongst other marketing innovations.  Just as my team performed, the second Dante Robino team crushed their presentation, leaving a grand feeling of success and relief as we made our way to the celebratory portion of the day.

The head of Dante Robino’s tourism department, Celina, who was extremely gracious and helpful to both teams throughout our two weeks in Mendoza, capped it off with a delicious wine, cheese, and meat spread for everyone to enjoy.  We all rejoiced in the hard work and tremendous results achieved for Celina and Dante Robino, and after receiving our complementary bottles of wine—and purchasing a couple more—it was time to head back to El Portal Suites for a well-deserved siesta.

Dolium’s teams were last to go with a 6pm presentation time. We spent the morning preparing and Dolium’s tourism team enjoyed an amazing breakfast at María Antonieta, a restaurant a few blocks from the hotel. After lunch we took a short nap then prepared more for the 6pm presentation, which in a typical Argentine fashion started a few minutes after 6. First the Dolium website team presented the website they built to Ricardo, Dolium’s owner, and Cris, Dolium’s IT employee. This presentation included a live demo of the website and Ricardo was very pleased with the result. Next Dolium’s tourism team presented their marketing plan to Ricardo. This recommendation included a series of efficient ways for Ricardo to easily communicate with potential partners and tourists. After the two presentations Ricardo gave a warm speech and thanked the two teams for their hard work.

At around 7:30pm, we had our last cultural discussion, which focused immensely on the cultural differences between team members and between business practices in Argentina vs. the United States. At the end of the cultural discussion we walked to Francesco Ristorante for our farewell dinner. It was easy to see just how close each member of the group had become over the course of this short trip with laughs and smiles being shared across the tables. The dinner ended with each member saying a few heartfelt words to the group and signing a flag of Argentina, a 10-year tradition for the Mendoza J-term program

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 9th, 2017

It’s Monday and it’s so hard to believe that this amazing experience is almost over. After a relaxing weekend at the spa and Familia Zuccardi, it was time for all the teams to get back to work!

With the final presentations to our clients coming up on Tuesday, each group spent the day perfecting and rehearsing their PowerPoints. In the morning, some groups headed out to their clients’ sites, while others stayed at the hotel to keep working on their presentations (and got to sleep in…*cough cough* Dolium). Some team members at Dante Robino enjoyed working outside for part of the day to soak up some sun before coming back to wintertime in the States.

bodega dante robino

Dante Robino in the morn’

By mid-day, many team members were ravenous. With little time to spare and a craving for something healthy and fulfilling, some students resorted to the most authentic Argentinian cuisine.. McDonalds, of course.

McDonald’s maybe wasn’t our best choice…

After lunch, we finished up our reports, ready to print them for the clients. Throughout the rest of the afternoon into the evening, each group had the chance to give a dry-run of their presentation to the professors, David, Jose and Carolyn. While one team from each site presented, their counterpart at the same site observed and prepared some recommendations.

After the dry-run, everyone in the audience would give their feedback, pointing out the strong points and giving suggestions for ways to improve. Jose, as a native Spanish speaker, offered really valuable advice on how to present to a foreign audience. As it turns out, avoiding using idioms like “to wrap up” or “right off the bat” is much easier said than done. This is definitely turning out to be a great chance to learn how to do business and consult in a different country – as we practice, we’ve realized that lots of minor details we may never have paid attention to before can have a big impact on the effectiveness of our presentations.

Gas station wi-fi turned out to be a lifesaver. As the hotel wi-fi slowed down with 30 people working on it all at once, a few groups made the 15 peso investment to use the nearby gas station’s internet. Definitely worthwhile for “the fastest internet in Argentina.”

The Dante Robino team maybe should have made that investment, as Mari was not amused it took us 2 hours to make an edit that could have taken 10 minutes. Nonetheless, it gave us more time to practice our presentation without looking at our slides and remember all of Jose’s advice.

Mari doesn’t like wifi problems

At night a bit of rain came, along with some thunder and lightning, which made quick pick-ups or delivery the most popular moves for dinner. Empanadas and chicken wings were ordered by the dozen.

Tomorrow, the Cruzat and Dante Robino teams will head out to their sites bright and early in the morning. They’ll have to give their presentations, but they’ll also get to enjoy asado and a picnic afterwards. The Dolium teams will present in the evening from our hotel, with most of the owners of the winery making the trip out to see the final deliverables. Hopefully everyone gets a good night’s rest and is ready to go for our last full day in Argentina tomorrow!


Tim & Rachel

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 7, 2017

After a full week of working with clients, we were all able to get some much-needed R&R at our choice of the largest winery in Mendoza, Zaccardi Winery, or at Cacheuta, a luxurious spa about an hour from our hotel.

Looking at the sign-up sheet on Thursday night was a throwback to middle school. All nine girls had opted to go to the Winery, leaving an all boys group of 15 at the spa. Some things just don’t change.

Both groups had very different vibes, but had great times all around. After meeting to write a blog post about both, we realized that trying to mash together stories from both trips wouldn’t do either justice, so we divided our own accounts of each and just edited each other. We hope you find reading these accounts as much fun as we did!

Zuccardi Winery:

The wine tasting started off great. To everyone’s relief, we had a native English speaker as our guide, so there was a sharp decrease in the number of fake nods across the group than usual. In the tour, we learned about the winemaking process, following the grapes from the vineyard as they collect in giant metal tanks, ferment in barrels, and finally get prepared to be bottled. Nobody was more excited about all the cool machinery than Amanda though.


Amanda Mom


“Look guys! I’m like a cool mom!” – Amanda Crowell 

That’s systems for you. Though, ironically, our systems professor, the one and only Reed Bailey seemed to care far more about the wine …


BaileyWine “I’ve never seen bubbles this bubbly!” – Reed Bailey 

Regardless, it was a fun and informative day for everyone. Shannon channeled her inner vampire while searching for meaning in a barrel, and Beane couldn’t help but stick out from the crowd, as always.



“I was not expecting this” – Austin Beane

We ended the winery trip with a delicious lunch in the vineyard, where we genuinely finished eating before the main course even came out. The resulting food coma got even the best of us:


Bailey Sleep

“These kids think their life is tough? They don’t even know”

– Reed Bailey 


Cacheuta Spa:

In comparison to our usual 8:15 a.m. departure times, the decision to leave at 10:30 was a welcome relief for everyone in our group. After getting pulled over for taking an illegal right (which at least four other cars made as well while we were parked on the side of the road), we finally got started on the hour-long drive to the Cacheuta spa.

While we had seen a few of the public housing complexes around Mendoza from some of our previous excursions over the previous week and a half, today’s drive to the Cacheuta spa took us past some of the ritzier areas that Mendoza has to offer. High walls and extravagant gates separated our bus from these nice areas and emphasized the class divide that exists in some areas of Mendoza. On the drive out, David English pointed out several landmarks that we passed, including a mountain out in the distance that was involved in the incident that sparked the 1993 movie, Alive.

After arriving, we spread out across the various amenities that the hotel offered, with some heading straight to the saunas while others somewhat comically covered themselves in mud from the mud bath. In the early afternoon, we all donned our bathrobes and headed into the hotel for an extravagant lunch buffet with our pick of chorizo, steak, chicken, pork, and/or blood sausage, which is certainly an acquired taste for many of us, in terms of meat and a variety of sides, fruits, and vegetables. After taking full advantage of the buffet, we returned to the spa and waded around in some of the twenty-some odd pools that the spa had along the river.

After briefly congregating in the game room to watch Jack claim he “usually is good at pool” despite his struggles, we boarded the bus for an uneventful trip home, with many people sleeping after being worn out by a day in the sun.

While some opted to make up for missing their siesta by continuing their naps once they got back, many of us piled into one of our rooms in the hotel to play cards before heading to dinner. The weather in Mendoza had been perfect, albeit hot, up until today, but after sitting down at the taco bar a few blocks from the hotel, the sky opened up, collapsing part of the roof under which we sat. Scrambling inside to escape the rain, we found a new table and dined on tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas. The rain eventually subsided and we were able walk back to the hotel and get some sleep before another busy day on Sunday where the two groups would switch and we would get to spend the day at Zaccardi Winery.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 8, 2017

Today, half of the class went to the spa. It was a beautiful day, and we arrived eager to relax in the hot springs. The group’s first beauty treatment was covering ourselves with mineral-rich mud. Naturally, the boys lathered their hair with the mud, while the girls opted out. We baked in the sun, our mud-covered skin cracking in the heat. We took turns rinsing off in showers that had no apparent temperature control: one freezing cold, the other boiling hot. The mud treatment was a perfect way to start off the spa day.


The group explored the various hot springs until 1:00pm, when it was time for a buffet-style lunch at the hotel. We eagerly lined up in our robes- yes, robes. It was truly a dream come true: all-you-can-eat lunch in a robe, no questions asked. The buffet was delicious, and we piled on asado, pasta, vegetables and fruits.


After lunch, the group split up again to relax and nap in the various springs. I took a trip to the underground steam room. It was actually in a cave! Taking one step into the sauna/cave, I started sweating instantly. I learned that the group yesterday spent a record 7 minutes in there, which concerned me. I barely lasted three minutes.


The highlight of the trip was spotting condors flying high above the mountains. I was determined to see one, but I saw five! We all left relaxed, sleepy, and a little sunburnt.

While that half of the class spent the day basking in the fierce Mendoza sun, the other half of us toured and had lunch at the Zuccardi Familia Santa Julia winery.

The tour of the immense Zuccardi facility gave everyone a look into a different sort of winemaking operation – Santa Julia produces wine on a much larger scale that Cruzat, Dolium, or Donte Robino. We saw a storage room with thousands of barrels full of wine being aged and specially made concrete egg-shaped tanks that are unique to the winemaking process at Zuccardi.

After the tour we walked over to a beautiful shaded garden for a four-course meal. The seventeen of us sat down at a private table in a grass opening surrounded by trees, flowers and grapes. Not surprisingly, the food lived up to the expectations set by the scenery. We were served a variety of cold cuts and cheeses, appetizers, sandwiches, and ended with fresh fruit and cream. My favorite part of the meal was the hot steak sandwich – a delicacy one would pay top dollar for on its own, and it was just one part of the meal!

After a siesta it was time for everyone to get back to work. Teams received feedback on the first drafts of their reports and worked late into the night perfecting their projects. Everyone received great feedback from the professors by the end of the night, and we are all excited to present our work to our clients in a few short days.

Caroline & Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 6, 2017

Wow, a full week of work in the books!  It’s amazing to see how far each team’s ideas have come in these last five days, and it’s even harder to believe how close we are to the end of our time in Mendoza.

At Bodega Dolium, the teams enjoyed a pretty typical work day.  The puppies greeted us as usual, and we spent most our time working with the winery owner, Ricardo. Both teams were finishing up their work and doing a final run through with the client, fine tuning their recommendations to best fit his needs.

The Dolium website team showed Ricardo the website they built and asked for his feedback, which they were able to incorporate after the interview. The tourism team showed Ricardo their email campaign and put the finishing touches on their recommendations.

Without a doubt, the hardest thing for both Dolium teams was saying goodbye to the puppies. Over the past two weeks, these dogs have added so much fun and entertainment to our work days.  Shaggy, Sniff, and Pancho (as named by Tim and Nathan), we will miss you!



Over at Bodega Cruzat, the Data Integration team spent the morning putting the final touches on our new Excel Tool.  We continued adding functionality, tracked down common errors that came up during our test cases, and formatted the workbooks to be as user friendly as possible.

We also had the chance to sit down with the head of IT at Cruzat, who commented on our work so far and helped show us how to upload our product onto the winery’s shared internal network.

After a solid morning of work, the teams packed up and bussed back into Mendoza around 1pm.  As has become something of a routine, members of the Cruzat team stopped by de Un Rincon de la Boca for lunch, picking up empanadas and sandwiches to eat up on the roof of the hotel.


After lunch and a quick siesta, the teams reconvened for a busy afternoon work session.  Final drafts of the executive summary were due at the end of the night, so everyone got straight to work in the lobby of the hotel.

These executive summaries, containing approximately 3 pages of text followed by exhibits and user guides, will serve as the primary reports delivered to the clients next Tuesday. Teams spent the evening writing up their recommendations, creating exhibits, and battling El Portal’s glacial wifi speeds.

After handing in these reports by 9pm, students turned their attention to the rest of the night.  Some had the hotel dinner, which turned out to be amazing and a really good deal ($155 peso combo of entree, dessert and wine). Others went off to the bars on Avenue Aristides Villanueva, grabbing drinks and relaxing after a day of work.

What a great week in Mendoza – looking forward to trips to the spa and vineyard this weekend!


Emma L. and Ted O.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 5, 2017

Hola amigos! Welcome to the most entertaining day of Mendoza. Although the day was pretty standard, this blog lets us post some photo series we’ve wanted to post since Day 1! Please enjoy: Pictures of Engineers Wanting to Be in McIntire:

IMG_2658 (1) IMG_2664 IMG_2668 IMG_5962

From left to right: John Valeiras, Ted O’Rourke, Ted O’Rourke, Gaston Quantz IV

The last photo is actually just Gaston struggling to figure out how to lace shoes. UVA Engineering’s finest right? Look at that charming smile.

I can confidently say our day at Cruzat was unmatched. Why? Not many things beat getting to sample 1200 ARS bottles of sparkling wine (this is an absolute steal of a price) with this view. 


Note- I didn’t choose this picture. Mari didn’t realize that I was referring to the mountains when discussing the view.

Except for maybe the view at Donte Robino:


At Cruzat, my group has been working on boosting sales to tourists to the winery, and we got some good news. The day before, the winery sold 17,500 ARS of wine and merchandise to visitors with our new store setup in place. To provide some context, this is over 50% of how much they sold of these products the previous year. I say this because I’ve been told numerous times from friends and family members about what they expect for me out of this trip (unfortunately close to the sipping nice bottles of wine with beautiful views of the Andes), and in reality, we are providing some value.

Over at Dante Robino, we tested different methods for collecting customer data and we achieved near conclusive results to one experience. We were fortunate to have the chance to chat with the owner of a tour agency that brings clients to the winery about improvements she felt could be made to customer experiences. Our team was able to get into a solid rhythm and write a large majority of our executive summary. Here we can see Reece explaining some of our team’s ideas to our point of contact, Celina:


Many teams opted to truly embrace Argentine culture and picked up sandwiches from Subway for both lunch and dinner. We worked throughout the afternoon and had dinner on our own after a discussion on cultural differences.  This was entertaining, as people had no shortage of topics to discuss. PDA (Public Displays of Affection) was one of the most prominent differences in peoples’ minds, for good reason, and to quote the singer from Love Actually, “Love is all around me.” Definitely around Yash, as this bold kid went out to a teenage couple aggressively giving a cultural demonstration on a park bench.

From left to right: Yash, and two kids who couldn’t find a room at a no-tell motel

IMG_5968 IMG_2770 IMG_5969

That was another topic of discussion at the cultural workshop, as was the food, emphasis on time, and siesta.

The night concluded strongly. Some people did more work (Shout-out to Margaret who built a map displaying after learning a new programming language just for this project), some played cards, but EVERYONE insisted on updating everyone about every action of their night via groupme. All in all, everyone turned in relatively early because the final draft of the report is due tomorrow. The day ended with some humor – shoutout to Read Bailey for handling a typo with grace.



Raj Das and Mari Green

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 4, 2017

Between all the excitement and festivities, it’s hard to believe that we’ve been in Argentina for a full week already! We have familiarized ourselves with the wineries’ operations, and the final report and presentation no longer seem like a far-off and unsure affair. Things are coming together: much of the project scoping has been completed, and proposed solutions are beginning to take off!

There were many yawns among both humans and dogs alike upon arriving at Bodega Dolium this morning.

However, after a couple cups of coffee, the two teams were ready to jump in and get things done.

Dolium Team 1 started off by performing an usability evaluation sessions with Professor Grazioli as their subject. They recorded feedback on Bodega Dolium’s current website that they could use for designing the new website.

Afterward, they began to put together User Interface (UI) designs and explore different avenues for website building and hosting. They even got the chance to dive into some PHP!

Meanwhile, Dolium Team 2 drafted up social media profile changes and posts for Bodega Dolium’s revamped online presence, researched more into potential tourism partnerships for Dolium, and brainstormed different enterprise software programs that could aid in Dolium’s new marketing efforts.

After a quiet lunch at the hotel restaurant (which was quite the deal — bread / small snacks, an entree, a drink, desert, and coffee all for under 10 US dollars) and siesta, the two teams got back to work for a couple more hours. During these work hours, two members of Dolium Team 2 (along with Professor Bailey) had the nice opportunity to meet with a general manager, a HR employee, and a concierge from the Hyatt to explore ideas regarding hotel partnerships over coffee. They were very kind, and provided a great deal of insight (as well as free Moleskin notebooks)!

The teams at Dante Robino had an equally exciting and productive work-day. Our point of contact, Celina, was far more available then she had been in the past, which made asking her questions relevant to the projects the two teams were working on much easier.

The team working on tourism continued to come up with ideas to stay in contact with guests after they leave Dante Robino, which included creating a survey to collect guest information such as email addresses and “test” distributed them to guests. The team working on the reservation system continued to develop a Google spreadsheet, which allows Celina to cut down on time spent entering data, and standardizes data for future analysis.

The day concluded with all the teams together at El Patio de Jesus y Maria, a family-style asado place with all-you-can-eat meat, for group dinner. We received a small demonstration on how coals are heated and shoveled under the grill to cook the meats and then were treated to cut after cut of delicious, tender meat (at least the non-vegetarians in our group were).

Some brave souls in the group even dared to try blood sausage, a local delicacy.

With the calming lights, plentiful food, and free-flowing conversation, it was the perfect way to end a Wednesday night in Mendoza!

~ Jonathan and Caroline

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 3, 2017

Tuesday began early again with the standard 8:15 am departure time. This was our fourth day working at the client site, and, although we were beginning to get the feel of how they operate, there is never a standard day at these wineries.

At bodega Dolium we were hard at work updating the winery’s online branding to better reflect their environmentally and socially responsible practices and to inform possible patrons of the unique tours and tastings led the owner himself. We are also pursuing marketing partnerships with local hotels to promote sustainability. The plan entails offering discounts on Dolium products to hotel patrons choosing to perform actions reducing their environmental impact such as opting to reuse sheets or towels for another day.


The Dolium team’s favorite puppy, Malumba, taking a siesta in a wine barrel


Dolium team hard at work


The Bodega Cruzat team was busy with both of their projects: working to improve the data entry and record-keeping system for the winery administration, and setting up a store section of the winery to help with sales at the end of wine tours.  The data entry team has been working on two parallel projects to improve the current record-keeping system of the winery, but has somewhat suffered from working on the less glamorous project, as the tourism project group are the only ones who have gotten to taste Bodega Cruzat’s delectable sparkling wine.

After a stop to get a (rare) quick meal, consisting of the traditional lomo sandwich, the groups headed back to their rooms for the increasing essential siesta.


After lunch the Dolium team had a chance to interview the general manager of one of the only four 5 star hotels in Mendoza about the hotel industry and our ideas about possible partnerships. Although he did not think it would work with his luxury hotel, he expressed optimism about possibilities to ally with smaller hotels and “eco-lodges” in the area.

On Tuesday night, all the project groups sat down with Professors Bailey and Grazioli to review the first draft of their project reports and discuss their plans for the remaining week.  These were lively discussions, as groups are seeing their ideas start to come to fruition while continuing to discuss different challenges and solutions that they have encountered throughout the first week.  Now that we have laid out plans for our projects, teams are focused on delivering a completed product to their respective wineries.


Hard working consultants take a quick break for some beef


Bodega Cruzat consultants aren’t messing around


-Charles Rogers & Thacher Hoch

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment