Mariano Gubinelli, a passionate winemaker from Argentina, embarked on a transformative journey as part of the CAEP Winery Training Program hosted by Oakville Cellars from Jackson Family Wines. His experience allowed him to dive into the world of American winemaking and experience an unfamiliar yet cherished American tradition – Thanksgiving.
For Mariano, transitioning from living with his family to residing independently brought about a wave of responsibilities. However, his host family’s generosity in providing him with a home underscored the warmth and support that defined this new chapter of his life.
Thanksgiving became a pivotal point in Mariano’s cultural immersion. Surrounded by fellow interns and winemakers from diverse corners of the globe – Argentina, France, Moldova, Romania, and the United States – he found himself in Yosemite, renting a house for the weekend. It was here that the traditions of Thanksgiving unfolded before him, introducing him to the holiday’s historical roots while blending in elements of his own culture through the sharing of wines and Fernet, traditional drinks from Argentina.
As Mariano reveled in this first-time experience of Thanksgiving, he realized the significance of celebrating a holiday away from his homeland. In Argentina, Thanksgiving isn’t part of the cultural calendar, making this celebration an eye-opening exploration into American customs and values. The trip to Yosemite and celebrating with a special dinner etched a lasting memory of unity and appreciation for cultural exchange.
Reflecting on his time in the CAEP program, Mariano uncovered layers of American culture that went beyond his initial expectations. The warmth and hospitality of the people he encountered along this journey left an indelible mark, fostering a deeper understanding of the diverse tapestry that is the United States.
For Mariano, the CAEP program served as a gateway to an enriching experience, broadening his horizons and fostering a profound appreciation for American traditions. He wholeheartedly recommends the program to fellow enthusiasts. “I recommend CAEP because without their help, it would not have been possible to live this wonderful experience in the United States,” Mariano shared.
Mariano’s First Thanksgiving encapsulates a meaningful celebration and the essence of cultural exchange, camaraderie, and the beautiful tapestry of experiences that define the CAEP cultural exchange program.