January Wine Gastronomy: France & Spain

Gap Year Friendly

Taste exquisite wines and food across France and Spain.

Warm up your winter break by traveling through the picturesque hillsides of France and Spain as you study the wine business! This specialized travel-based January study abroad program will take you through popular wine regions to examine the individuality and expression of this exquisitely refined product, learn about wine pairing, and study the tourism industry. You’ll experience the Mediterranean’s top destinations, including Barcelona, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence. Coursework credit can be awarded in: Business, Wine Studies, Marketing, Geography, Hospitality Management, Environmental Studies, and International Relations.

NOTE: This program is not available for January 2022. Looking for a multi-city program that dives into history and culture? Check out January in Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 1 class (3 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5


  • Chance to speak directly with winemakers, master chefs, and tourism agencies
  • Experienced program instructor with fifteen years in the international wine industry
  • Six wine regions, each with a unique novelty
  • Variety of courses, including wine studies, cultural studies, and hospitality management
  • All trip-related travel included once you're in Europe!

Program Details

IAU College

IAU College, a not-for-profit institution of higher education, has been operating study abroad programs for US college and university students since 1957. IAU College has received students from more than 700 colleges and universities, with over 20,000 participants over its long history. The oldest and largest American institute in southern France, IAU College has recently expanded program offerings outside of France to compare and contrast the languages, cultures, landscapes, and contemporary issues within and between broader European and African locations and contexts.

With operation bases in both the US and France, as well as staff and faculty who travel to and research throughout much of Europe and Africa, IAU College’s programs offer a unique cross-cultural perspective. While proud of their French foundation, IAU College are equally enthusiastic about their multi-disciplinary and comparative multi-country study abroad programs. Through intensive study, travel, and reflection, IAU College’s thematic traveling programs allow students to gain leaps and bounds personally, academically, socially, and culturally. IAU College continually strives to deliver on its mission of providing “an international education that inspires intercultural awareness and prepares students for responsible roles in a global community through the study of European and Mediterranean history, languages, cultures, and contemporary issues.”

CIS Abroad is proud to collaborate with IAU College to offer this unique “traveling seminar” or travel-study program.

Accreditation(s): IAU College (formerly the Institute for American Universities) holds an Absolute Charter awarded by the Regents of the State University of New York, is registered with the French Ministry of Education and recognized by the Recteur of the Université d’Aix-Marseille.

Areas of study with fewer than 3 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Coursework – Choose one of the following 3-credit courses:

Business 302: Wine Marketing and Analysis

Business 306: The Global Wine Industry

Economics 303: Regional Wine Trade and Economics

Geography 303: Regional Wine Trade and Economics

Hospitality Management 307: Wine and Food Pairing

Wine Studies 302: Wine Marketing and Analysis

Wine Studies 303: Regional Wine Trade and Economics

Wine Studies 306: The Global Wine Industry

Wine Studies 307: Wine and Food Pairing

Why Life in Barcelona and Aix-en-Provence

Your journey into the heart of France and Spain’s wine-producing regions begins in Barcelona. Barcelona offers the perfect base from which to explore Spanish viticulture. You’ll have the chance to visit Barcelona’s distinct neighborhoods and sample Spanish wine for yourself in one of its many bodegas. A tour of a winery in the Penedès region awaits when you strike out from Barcelona into the nearby wine-producing regions.

Though the Spanish are experts in wine production, France also produces some of the most recognizable wines in the world. Aix-en-Provence (or simply “Aix”). The winding streets of Aix are often filled with visitors from around the world. They come to shop in its vibrant markets full of beautiful produce, view the works of Paul Cézanne, and of course, taste the region’s wine. Despite its global appeal, Aix maintains a small-town feel. You can walk to the center of town in just fifteen minutes.

Live La Vida Local

  • Wineries: Combining Craft and Business

    Head out of your historic and pleasant program bases for the lush countryside. You'll visit a variety of wineries with both local and global reaches, allowing you to understand and appreciate the craft and business of winemaking. Topics include the international influence of the French and Spanish wine markets, the globalization of wine, and the tourism industry. And, yes, your palette will also be involved in much of the learning.

  • Southern France: Hub of Gastronomy and Wine

    Yes, they still do business by the Mediterranean in southern France, despite strong desires to idle by the sea and stroll through fields of lavender... Due to its favorable Mediterranean climate and rich soils, Aix-en-Provence's rich food and wine heritage has justifiably so become a source of pride for residents, and increasingly sought after by outsiders. The tourism industry relies heavily on the region's reputation for fine food and wine - we think you'll understand why shortly into your visit...

  • Mediterranean Coastline and Culture

    As this program will have you hugging the Mediterranean coast, there will be no shortage of incredible views, from the sandy beaches of Barcelona to the rugged cliffs of Cassis. Understandably so, the pace of life along the Mediterranean is a bit slower, so you'll be encouraged to practice both patience and mindfulness to fully appreciate these cultures. Both the sea itself as well as the climate have shaped resident cultures, resulting in a similar diet and lifestyle across otherwise diverse peoples.

Housing for your program


Housing will be shared rooms with up to four people per room. Students will stay at hotels, hostels, student dorms, and/or homestays in each location. Breakfasts will be included most days.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • MealsBreakfast

What's Included


Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Cities on the itinerary are Barcelona, Costa Brava, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Sauze, and Cassis
  • Visits to the Notre Dame, wine tasting, chocolate shops, and outdoor market
  • All program-related travel (except round-trip airfare from the US)
  • Breakfast daily and most dinners
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • On-site orientation
  • Tuition and fees
  • IAU College official transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

You’ll kick off this epic and engaging January travel-study program in the form of a comprehensive orientation. Meet your fellow students and the professors and program leaders. We’ll cover local topics such as culture and language, as well as rules, regulations, guidelines, and expectations of the program in general. As this program will allow you to experience first-hand the rich winemaking heritage of each location, we will set expectations on responsible and mature behavior, modeling that of Europeans who typically drink more moderately and responsibly than young Americans. We’ll combine elements of our group orientation with an experiential education in local culinary practices (read: tasty meal!) in the form of a welcome dinner in both program bases, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

While you may have a hard time leaving the Mediterranean and its exceptional people, places, and wine, we’ll make sure you can sufficiently reflect on all that you’ve experienced. We’ll gather you all together again for one last round of tasty tapas and fine wine. After an experience like this, we can’t prepare you enough for “reverse culture shock,” symptoms of which commonly include daydreaming, storytelling, and frequent hashing of plans for your next trip overseas. We’ll give you a sense of what to expect when returning home, as well as how to verbalize your experience in a resume and job interview, resources to stay involved in study abroad and a discount for a future program. We have plenty of programs that can take you back to places you visited on this program, and even more that will expose you to wonderful, new places and people!

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

Amy Mumma
Travel Tip:

Before your tastings of wine and food, please don’t drink very cold or very hot beverages. This will numb your taste buds, along with too much spicy food.

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Read more below for information related to this program:

On-Site Program Modifications

We want your time abroad to be an experience of a lifetime. We also know that it is a unique time to be going abroad. Below is some helpful information to you so you can make the best decision for your finances, academic career, and personal health and safety.

Our Financial Commitment

CIS Abroad is working with international partners to create refund and withdrawal policies that limit the financial impact on students and families should COVID-19 change a student’s plan to travel. See our refund policy page for more information.
To insure yourself from additional loss, such as the loss of airfare, or any other non-recoverable loss after your program begins, we recommend purchasing trip protection insurance, aka CFAR/IFAR insurance.

Our Academic Commitment

CIS Abroad has carefully selected programs where there is minimal to no academic risk.*

If a student must quarantine or miss classes due to sickness, remote academics are guaranteed. These may be synchronous or asynchronous, i.e, live or recorded.

If a city or country goes on lockdown due to sickness, remote academics are guaranteed. These may be synchronous or asynchronous, i.e. live or recorded.

* If a student cannot travel to their destination due to COVID-19 restrictions, remote academics are guaranteed on select programs and in certain courses. If accessing remote academics from the US are important to you, please contact our advising team to learn more about which program locations or courses are right for you.

Our Health & Safety Commitment

CIS Abroad has developed a site-specific risk management plan for every location so that health and safety protocols are monitored, managed and communicated throughout the semester. We have developed a COVID Care Package included in our program fee to make traveling and living in a host country easier on students, especially those first few weeks on-site:

  • COVID compliant airport pick-up and transfer to housing.
  • Access to quarantine housing upon entry, if quarantine is required when entering the country; this housing may incur additional charges.
  • Information and assistance on meal delivery, if quarantine is required when entering the country.
  • COVID-safe classrooms and campus facilities as well as access to masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies according to country and location specific standards.
  • Vaccine requirements for all participants to ensure COVID-safe program excursions and guaranteed housing with vaccinated students.
  • Access to accommodation if isolation is necessary due to positive COVID test or exposure; this housing may incur additional charges.
  • Access to COVID testing; this testing may be an additional charge.
  • Medical and accident insurance that covers COVID-related illness (except for on programs operating in the USA).
  • Cultural activities and reflection that emphasize safe, local exploration geared to the specific context of being abroad at this special time.

*if quarantine is required upon entry, we will let you know 60 days before a program starts, or as soon as the information is known to CIS Abroad. Your program coordinator will keep you updated as to any changes in dates, arrival, local restrictions and costs. If it is required, this may entail an earlier departure date and an additional housing and meal cost.

We recognize not every student, family, or university will allow travel this year, despite the risk mitigation outlined above. Should students apply for 2022 programs, and then choose to defer to a future program, we would be happy to move that student’s application to a program with a later start date. We are committed to providing our innovative virtual programs to meet your internationalization goals.


We plan to show you the best of what your location has to offer this term; great culture, great food, and interesting people. On the Excursions tab, you can see the day or overnight trips we usually offer. It is too soon to know if we can offer those same experiences or if we’ll stay a little closer to our program base. Just know that great experiences await you.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: December 28 (Estimated)
  • Departure: January 14 (Estimated)
  • Price: $6,290 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.