As a native New Havener, I was fascinated by the news that Yale students were going to work on the design of a winery in Rioja as part of a class project.
The project is being developed by a visiting lecturer for the fall semester. John Spence, an iconoclastic resort developer, plans to bring some of his Yale students to Spain to develop a winery at one of his resorts.
Spence is a Brit who dropped out of college and did a variety of gigs before becoming a developer: music promoter, real estate salesman. In the early 1990s he started his own business, Karma Royal Group, that currently runs 22 resorts on 4 continents. He specializes in developing luxury resort villas.
At Yale, he will teach a design studio class and will deliver a free public lecture, “Five Star Hippie.” Spence wanted to be a rock guitarist but when he realized he was a pretty bad guitarist, he adapted and went in another direction.
The need to adapt and change is what he hopes to teach to his Yale students. Spence is quoted as saying that ” Life is different than it used to be, tougher than it used to be.” He hopes to impart that real-world perspective to his students.
The project will help to expand the world view of the students. They will help to design a medium sized winery at a resort in the Rioja wine region near Bilbao.