Monday, August 6, 2018

Wine, Travel & Food News From Vino-Sphere: August 6, 2018

Vienna Tourist Board Captures Bird’s-Eye Videos With Eagles

The Vienna Tourist Board sent eagles up into the skies to capture footage of the city from above. Now online, travel fans can watch it using VR goggles and experience the capital in 360° just as the eagles caught it on camera. Videos can be found here:

Fritzi, Bruno, Darshan and Victor took to the skies on behalf of the Vienna Tourist Board, taking off from the top of the Danube Tower and a hot air balloon launched from the grounds of Palais Schwarzenberg. They were kitted out with 360° cameras and 16:9 format cameras on their backs. The eagles circled above the city capturing bird's-eye views in stunning 4k resolution supported by the production company Red Bull Media House, who were brought on board to give the Vienna Tourist Board campaign wings.

"The project was a world first - never before had eagles wearing 360° cameras been used to capture footage of a major city," explained Norbert Kettner, CEO of the Vienna Tourist Board. It goes without saying that all the necessary animal welfare clearances were obtained before starting the project and none of the eagles - wearing lightweight cameras - came to any harm during filming.

Mercer and Delicato Announce Joint Venture

Delicato Family Vineyards and Mercer Wine Estates announced today they will launch a collaborative new wine from Washington. The new brand, Mercer Family Vineyards, is a partnership between two respected fourth-generation family wine companies.

The Indelicato family planted their first vineyards in California after Gaspare Indelicato emigrated from Sicily to California, and under the continued family leadership it has grown into a top-ten wine company with well-known consumer-loved brands such as Gnarly Head, Bota Box, Noble Vines, and Black Stallion Estate Winery on Napa Valley's Silverado Trail. The Mercer family settled in Washington'sHorse Heaven Hills as a farming family in 1886, they planted the first vineyard in the area in 1972. They released their first wine in 2005, and the portfolio has continued to garner high scores and respect from critics and the trade.  

The first vintages of Mercer Family Vineyards, 2016-17, will include a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend, and a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon available nationally and rolling out August 1, 2018. In addition, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Malbec and Reserve Red Blend will be launched in the Pacific Northwest.

Surfliner Offers Special Angels-Padres Promotion

The Amtrak® Pacific Surfliner® announced the first-ever Surfliner Series as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim face the San Diego Padres at Petco Park for a series of three interleague games on August 13, 14 and 15, 2018. Fans can take advantage of special offers and promotions to save on both train travel and ballpark tickets, as well as, enter for a chance to win the Grand Slam Giveaway, where one lucky winner will get to throw out the first pitch at Petco Park on August 14 prior to the Angels-Padres game.

Texas Experiences One Of Their Most Successful Harvests

Historically having a short harvest period sets Texas vineyards behind. A shift in both wine demand and production methods in the wine industry has recently helped the region sustain a healthy harvest cycle. With their annual grape harvest starting in the summer month of July - that's four months ahead of growers in the ever-popular Napa region - the state has had one of their most successful seasons producing 38% more than 2017, continuing a growth trend.

With the market developing a growing taste for different blends including varietals that have a shorter hang cycle, the state's wine businesses are reducing their loss caused by those blends that require much lengthier dry times. "Paired with advances in winemaking technologies, mid-west wine producers are able to maximize efficiency and production costs helping them compete better inside and outside of their local markets," shares Texas-based award-winning wine collector, Marcus Hiles.

Craft Beer Tap Room Opens In Shanghai

The Stone Brewing Tap Room – Shanghai is now open, its third location to open across three continents in three months. The opening marks the first tap room by an independent American craft brewery in China, and raises the bar for craft beer in Asia.

"There's no other US craft brewer bringing this level of commitment to China right now," said Paul Gelinas, Stone Brewing Executive General Manager of China. "Independent American craft beer is of increasing interest to the craft beer community here, and Stone is truly bringing the full experience with guest beers, rare finds and the most impressive tap system available. We knew we wanted Stone's arrival in China to be something exceptional, and we're delivering in strides."

Stone's 300 square-meter bar and restaurant offers seating for 90 indoors and 28 in the additional 100 square-meter gardens (30-50 person capacity for events). Floor to ceiling custom roll-up doors open the tap room to the outdoors on two sides. The interior incorporates reclaimed wood, concrete, steel and vintage lighting around tables, a main bar and an oversized fireplace lounge. Vintage carpets and sofas warm the industrial elements for a visual experience as nuanced as the beers. Natural landscaping and stone boulders flow inside and out. Outside, guests can indulge in to-go beers while enjoying the property's grassy front lawn or lounge around a massive stone slab garden table.

Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé To Debut

Rosé fans will be joining Beaujolais Nouveau-lovers in eager anticipation of Thursday, November 15, when Beaujolais Nouveau Day also becomes Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé Day for the first time in the US.

On this day, the third Thursday of November when French law allows the release of the "first wine of the harvest," Les Vins Georges Duboeuf (the family owned-and-operated winery that popularized Beaujolais Nouveau across the globe) is launching a "new" Nouveau.

According to Franck Duboeuf, who manages the winery with his legendary father Georges, the Nouveau Rosé is made from Gamay grapes carefully selected from the best vineyards in AOC Beaujolais.  These same growers supply the winery with the grapes for their classic Beaujolais Nouveau.  Some of them have worked with Georges Duboeuf since the winery's first Nouveau release in 1983.

"We are excited to send a Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé to the US for the first time," Franck says.
Gamay grape skins are nearly black, while the flesh and juice are white, so these same grapes can produce either a red or a rosé wine.  Like the classic Beaujolais Nouveau, the Rosé is being made by Duboeuf's Chief Winemakers, Emeric Gaucher and Denis Lapalu,  The winemakers explained that they look for grapes fit for rosé -- those with a slightly high acidity to retain a fresh mouthfeel.

Dinner Time Stories To Open Interactive Meal In Toronto

The first Canadian pop-up of Dinner Time Stories, opens on Sep. 29 through Nov. 25 in downtown Toronto at Katana (333 Bay St.). Elevated by cutting edge 3D technology, the immersive dining experience takes guests on an adventure with Le Petit Chef, making his way along the historic route of Marco Polo on the Silk Road.

Combined with a refined six-course menu of international cuisine, the production delivers an unforgettable journey around the world in two hours.

Brought to life in Toronto by The Substance Group and Go West Creative, the show sets the tone for the evening with music, table patterns, props and decorations, all changing with the chapters of the story. Once guests take their seats, they are introduced to the hero of the story, Le Petit Chef, who comes to life onto their plates. Through 3D digital mapping, Le Petit Chef embarks on his travels in a projection timed to be perfectly in sync with each course.

"When I was first introduced to the Dinner Time Stories concept, I was completely blown away by the extraordinary technology, unmatched service and absolutely delicious food that draws you into the world of Le Petit Chef," says Neil Forester, owner of The Substance Group. "There is a huge appetite for something like this in Toronto and I am thrilled to lead the team that is bringing Dinner Time Stories to the city."

Besides the captivating visual element, the show's six-course menu is created behind-the-scenes by catering leaders 10tation and Chef Bashir Munye, taking diners along a unique exploration of flavours. Le Petit Chef begins his culinary exploits with an amuse-bouche of ratatouille, a French classic from his hometown of Marseille. As he continues on his travels, he makes his way through the desert and into the hills of the Himalayas, savouring cuisine from North Africa and India before ending with a selection of dishes from China. For the final course, Le Petit Chef creates his favourite dessert from Marseille, infused with elements and ingredients he has collected from his adventures across the world.

The show runs Friday to Sunday from Sep. 29 to Nov. 25, 2018, with two seatings nightly. Tickets are $200 per person at

Drake’s Coffee Cakes Return

Drake's Coffee Cakes are now back on store shelves to the delight of Drake's consumers. With their delicious cinnamon streusel topping, Drake's Coffee Cakes were first introduced in 1930.
Drake's Coffee Cakes are a part of popular culture, having been featured in a story line on the TV sitcom Seinfeld. As with all Drake's® cakes, Coffee Cakes are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. 

Wings Over The Rockies Attraction Opens At Colorado Airport

Exploration of Flight, a unique to the nation attraction, is now open at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado, thanks to Wings Over the Rockies is a Colorado-based non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring all people about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future.

The 19,000 square foot Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery is broken up into two experience arenas. The first floor will cover the "experience" of flight. Strap into a tumbling gyro chair to understand the effect of G-forces on your body, interact with a wind tunnel using items of your own design, navigate mountain passes, witness leading edge technologies and even feel the thrill of flight through virtual reality.

On the second level, visitors will understand the "sequence" of flight. From mission planning and career readiness to a full-fledged viewing lounge, guests will be able to witness the excitement and buzz of the second busiest general aviation airport in the United States. Guests can even don a headset to hear chatter from Centennial Tower, a direct line into the complicated, yet fascinating, world of aviation communication.

Along with the robust array of interactive exhibits, the Blue Sky Gallery will include incredible opportunities to discover flight first-hand. Sit in the cockpit of pilot-quality flight simulators, interact with the latest aviation technology and even experience flight itself through a partnership with Aspen Flying Club.

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