Student Story – In the vinyard with Gerald León (Chile)

Graduate Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management student, Gerald  León, has a passion for all things wine.

Originally from Chile, Gerald came to New Zealand to follow his dream of pursuing a career in the global wine industry.

According to NZ Wine, the Central Otago Wine Region not only boasts a spectacular landscape and sophisticated tourist culture but it is also home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, not to mention impressive, vivid white wines. This makes Queenstown the perfect place to learn more about wines and cellar door management.

“On the couch” with Gerald León


What was your undergraduate degree?

Bachelor’s in Business Administration


Why did you decide to pursue a career in tourism?

I always felt attract to food and wine, however I spent 6 years working in an area that never fulfilled my professional expectations. I want to share and transmit my passion for food and wine to people and a job in hospitality helps to achieve this goal.


Where are you working now?

I’m currently working at Kinross in two roles, bartender and wine advisor. I will soon start my internship as wine advisor.


How long did it take to find your job after you arrived in Queenstown?

Less than a week 😊


What is the tittle of your research topic or if not set what are will you focus on? Why did you choose this?

I want to conduct research on the restaurant industry. After heavily relying on wealthy foreign visitors, Queenstown fine-dining restaurants quickly had to adapt to a market they were not previously relying on. I want to gain more insights on the actions plans and changes in strategies conducted by local fine-dining restaurants.


Why did I choose this? What are you hoping to discover?

Unlike restaurants with a casual format that were able to implement delivery during pandemic, fine-dining restaurants heavily rely on ambiance and onsite experience and have been seriously affected by the pandemic. I want to discover how they have adapted to this challenging scenario, what changes they have conducted from an operational perspective, and also lessons for the future.


What is your career goal for the future?

My long-term career goal is to have my own wine bar or wine-related business. I want to gain experience by working at renowned wineries and hospitality businesses in order to learn how to run a business and gain innovative business ideas.


Words of wisdom for anyone considering studying Grad Dip at QRC

My advice is to start networking since your first day at QRC with industry leaders. Do not be afraid of reaching out to them, as this will help you access to better job perspectives.

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