Monday, August 20, 2018

Wine, Travel & Food News From Vino-Sphere: August 20, 2018

Care for Cotton Candy With Your Champagne?

In ode to French singer Edith Piaf’s song La Vie en Rose, the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Los Cabos is launching a Cotton Candy-topped Moët & Chandon Rose Champagne cocktail. The beverage will be served as a pre-dinner drink on arrival to its French fine dining restaurant, Piaf. At the restaurant and throughout the resort, guests are truly in a state of bliss where everything around is a source of joy as the meaning behind the song entails.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail Focuses on Craft Beverages

Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge has debuted the VBR Cheers Trail and Passport guiding visitors and locals through the regional craft beverage scene. The Cheers Trail will lure visitors to the region and entice them to dine, explore and stay overnight. The Passport is an added incentive offering a variety of discounts specific to 25 craft beverage partners. "This is great news for VBR's booming craft beverage businesses and for the economy as a whole," said Landon Howard, President of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge. "We are now more focused than ever on experience-based travel and ways to connect visitors with our travel and tourism partners."

The Cheers Trail Passport can be found at and is free. Once you click on the link and access the web app, you simply register, follow the instructions and present the Passport to participating locations along the trail to redeem exclusive offers.

World’s Largest 3-D Printed Reef Submerged In Maldives As Environmental Initiative

The world's largest 3-D printed reef was submerged August 11 at Summer Island Maldives, in what is hoped could be a new technology-driven method to help coral reefs survive a warming climate.

The artificial reef, assembled with hundreds of ceramic and concrete modules, was submerged at Summer Island's 'Blue Lagoon' -- a sandy part of the lagoon, where the resort hopes to create a new coral reef ecosystem.

The project started in a lab in Melbourne, Australia, where industrial designer Alex Goad of Reef Design Lab used sophisticated computing modeling to design reef structures similar to the coral reefs found naturally in the Maldives.

A large 3-D printer whirred away for 24 hours to print molds of the reef structures. These moulds were cast in ceramic -- an inert substance, similar to the calcium carbonate found in coral reefs. The ceramic moulds were shipped to the Maldives, and filled with concrete on the beach at Summer Island.

220 ceramic, concrete filled molds were then slotted together, like a giant LEGO set, to create the new reef.

The new reef sits in seven meters of water, close to the resort's existing coral nursery. Fragments of coral from the nursery are being transplanted onto the 3-D reef, where they will grow and colonize the structure.

Founders of Open That Bottle Night To Speak At Wine Writer Event

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, founders of “Open That Bottle Night" and renowned wine journalists (, formerly Washington Post) join a robust faculty of writers, editors, and coaches at the 15th annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, to be held February 19 to 22, 2019 at Meadowood Napa Valley. "Open That Bottle Night" falls on February 23, 2019.

Girl Scouts Adding New Cookie

Girl Scouts of the USA have announced that a new cookie, Caramel Chocolate Chip, will join the 2019 Girl Scout Cookie® season lineup, as a gluten-free offering with limited availability in select areas. With the returning gluten-free Toffee-tastic® cookie, also available in select areas, consumers in all markets will be able to enjoy a gluten-free offering along with the rest of the lineup during the 2019 cookie season. The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps fund girls' development of entrepreneurial and essential life skills, and important experiences for girl members.

Oceania Liners Get $100 Million Makeover

Today, Oceania Cruises has launched the OceaniaNEXT initiative, including an array of dramatic enhancements designed to elevate the guest experience. The first initiative to be undertaken is the $100 million “re-inspiration” of the line's four 684-guest ships (Regatta, Insignia, Sirena, and Nautica) that will result in four better-than-new ships. Each will emerge from the re-inspiration process with 342 brand new designer suites and staterooms, and stunning new décor in the restaurants, lounges and bars, inspired by the line's 450 ports of call.

Seattle Company Releases Highest Caffeine Concentration Gummy

Seattle Gummy Company recently launched Mocca Shots™, a new product with the highest caffeine concentration available on the market. Each Mocca Shots™ dark chocolate gummy packs 100 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of a regular cup of coffee.

Seabourn Approved for Cruises To Cuba

Seabourn has received approval to begin sailing to Cuba from Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting with a 12-day cruise aboard Seabourn Sojourn departing Miami on November 4, 2019. Seabourn becomes Carnival Corporation's third cruise brand currently approved to sail to Cuba.

The 11-, 12-, and 14-day sailings will visit five ports in Cuba, calling at three or four on each itinerary and providing guests the ideal opportunity to discover the different regions on this vast island. All five voyages will feature overnight stops in the historic capital city Havana.

Handcrafted Pisco Brandy Set To Launch In Chicago

Catan Pisco, a versatile grape-based spirit handcrafted in Chile, has announced their official launch in Chicago. To celebrate the long-awaited launch, Catan hosted a celebration at the Metropolitan Club in the Willis Tower in July. Featuring cocktails made from the very first case of Catan, the event was attended by the Chilean General Consul of Chicago, Rodolfo Montecinos. All attendees were treated to Chilean dishes made especially for Catan by chef Greg Carso and a performance of the traditional Chilean dance La Cueca.

"Pisco is Chile's spirit of choice and has been the cornerstone of our culture for centuries. I'm proud to be of Chilean descent and our tradition of starting family meals with a pisco sour or sipping it neat with friends at a bar are memories I hold dear," said Catalina Gaete, Catan Pisco founder and CEO.

New Signature Canadian Travel Experiences Highlighted

Destination Canada, Canada's national tourism marketing organization, is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to the Canadian Signature Experiences collection from across Canada.

The Canadian Signature Experiences are a curated collection of over 200 extraordinary and authentically Canadian travel experiences. As diverse as the country itself, these unique experiences are offered from coast to coast to coast and provide an introduction to the best Canada – and Canadians – has to offer.

The four new experiences are:

Coppola Winery to Release Canned Pinot Noir

Francis Ford Coppola Winery, is launching its first canned red wine with the 2017 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Pinot Noir. This new product builds on the success of three high-quality white wines from the same can collection, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc that launched last summer.

"We're excited to show our continued commitment to premium canned wine by bringing the award-winning Coppola Diamond Collection Pinot Noir to a can offering," says Corey Beck, CEO and Chief Winemaker of The Family Coppola. "We were one of the first to put wine in a can and our dedication to superior quality, sustainability and authentic brands remains important to our business."

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