Traversing the best wine countries in Africa

The mention of wine for many, brings a lot of imaginations especially those of luxury, vineyards, dining and wining. For others, the fancies go all the way to romantically exotic destinations, fondly sipping glasses of some red or white wine with their inamorata(o)s. For wine lovers planning to turn their flight of fancy into reality, here are Africa’s best wine countries to consider for your bucket list.

South Africa

South Africa leads in having some of the best wine destinations not just in Africa but also in the entire world, having been identified as a wine growing country since the late 17th century. Traversing the country’s thousands of vineyards, some whose history dates back to 1659, will create a completely enticing world whose sheer beauty immerses you into an unforgettable adventure. From the Constantia wine valley located at the foot of the Constantiaberg Mountain, to the Stellenbosch Winelands which is the second oldest wine producing region, sample some of the best wines that SA has to offer. Traverse through the ancient settler’s town of ‘Paarl’, not forgetting the Franschhoek Wine Valley and experience its homely atmosphere and lush scenery.

If you like, go on a binge and once in awhile losing yourself to the wine world. The South African wine valleys are also child friendly, offering great play fields for your little ones. Whether seeking a solo encounter, a romantic getaway or a family bonding wine indulging experience, South Africa should top your list. Gourmet foods are available and accommodation to suite every style.


Argued to be the second largest wine country in Africa, Algeria is a close rival of South Africa also seeking to claim its position as a top wine producing destination in the continent. The Hauts Plateaux region is a force to be reckoned with, for remaining steady in the production of Algerian red and white wines including Algiers, Coteaux De Mascara, D’hara, Coteaux De Tlemcen Chlef and Béjaïa; all favorites of many connoisseurs of wine. Take a tour of the wine cellars, sample the various tastes and get treated to alluring views of the country’s dense vineyards.


Is Rose Wine your most favorite of them all? Tunisia is the best African country you can possibly experience this magical red wine, made from a variety of red grapes including Grenache, Clairette, Cinsaut Mourvèdre, Carignan, Syrah, Merlot and Alicante Bouschet. If red in not your thing, feel the white’s touch of lost paradise from the Muscat of Alexandria, Pedro Ximenez and Chardonnay grapes. The French flavor from Tunisia’s wine is everything you would like to sample in the wine world.


Morocco is yet another wine producing African country and while the industry is said to have a long way to go, it remains a major destination for wine lovers. Visit the Atlas Mountains that command quite a share of fame in producing renowned wines in the country. White is more common, while red is still grown in some parts of Morocco.

Cape Verde

It is not so popular with wine production, since only the Chã das Caldeiras, a small community in the Fogo Island produces wine. Yet, you can find some of the best red and white wines in Cape Verde that will activate your smell and taste glands with the brut.


Few people know Ethiopia as a wine country, yet Ethiopian wine enthusiasts have since 1998 been enjoying locally produced wine from Ziway, a small region in the Horn of Africa. visit the country’s Rift Valley and have a chance to indulge in both red and white wine from Bordeaux, whose consumption goes well beyond the Ethiopian borders. Enjoy the scenic lakes enclosed by an impenetrable woodland with thrilling bird life for your adventure.


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Sleep 2016 Event to Take Place in London November 22nd and 23rd

Comprising a conference program, innovative design installations, and an exhibition of cutting-edge products specifically aimed at well-designed hotels, Sleep—Europe’s hotel design and development event—attracts influential speakers, creative talent, and leading contract brands from around the world to London’s Business Design Centre. As a special focus at this year’s event, taking place November 22nd and 23rd, the science behind understanding today’s diverse hotel guests will be explored through conference sessions and built concept guestrooms by international design companies.

The Sleep Set design competition is an event highlight that attracts international design companies and is widely recognized for challenging convention. For this year’s theme, the Science of Tribes, Sleep is partnering with scientists from social science research consultancy the SINUS-Institute to look at how different groups of people across the world can be identified by their shared values, tastes, and attitudes—and how this can be applied to our understanding of today’s hotel guests. The London offices of Aukett Swanke and Gensler, Singapore-based WOW Architects, Tokyo-based Mitsui Designtec, and London-based Studio PROOF are each creating a guestroom for a different “tribe.” Following an introductory presentation by SINUS, the designers will have an opportunity to explain their concepts before a panel of judges in front of a conference audience, with the winner announced at the installations.

The complimentary conference sessions also reflect a global perspective and speaker lineup, attracting the likes of design legend Adam D. Tihany, who will participate in a panel discussion on cruise hotels along with Rick Meadows, president of Seabourn Cruise Line and Cunard North America, and Christian Schönrock of Costa Group—looking at what it takes to bring innovative design to life on a new vessel.

A panel of curators, including Alex Toledano of Los Angeles-based Visto Images and Sune Nordgren, curator at Nordic Hotels & Resorts, will reveal how thoughtfully curated art can strengthen a hotel’s brand narrative. A discussion on the future of wellness looks at how successful hotel spas are in meeting new consumer aspirations and how good design can support mind and body in all our built environments—with views from Sue Harmsworth, CEO of ESPA; Clodagh, founder of New York-based Clodagh Designs and designer of award-winning Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal; Kevin Underwood, principal at HKS; and Aiden Walker, author of Ecology of the Soul.

Two popular roundtable sessions will include one hosted by professionals from the hotel development, owner, investor, and operator sectors, while the other will offer practical tips from experts on a range of specialties including lighting design, trends in materials, F&B concepts, and curating music for a memorable hotel stay. In a penultimate session on day two, Vince Stroop, principal at New York-based Stonehill & Taylor, joins Nick van Marken, head of hospitality at Deloitte UK and Matthias Arnold from the SINUS-Institute to analyze the hopes and fears for the industry in a globalized and less certain world.

Additional offerings at Sleep include an Immersive Reality Lounge featuring the recently launched HTC Vive—the newest Oculus Rift headset—and the latest Sublime Portal, a shared immersion experience for visitors. This fast-evolving technology is set to transform the design process, providing a critical stage between the drawing board and built space, enabling stakeholders to explore concepts and solutions at one-to-one scale.


6 Mega-Trends in Hotel Technology

Technology has become critical to attracting and retaining hotel guests, and today that means investing in a wide range of solutions that create immediate and personal engagement. With rising expectations, surprise and delight has been replaced by expected and assumed. Reservations must be easily made via any smart device, guestrooms must facilitate any type of content, networks need to be rock-solid, and data is now your most valuable asset.

To meet escalating guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology this year, according to HT’s 2016 Lodging Technology Study. Their biggest priorities for technology spending, in order, are: payment security, guest room tech, bandwidth, and mobile engagement (see fig. 1 below).

Mobile solutions in particular will dominate the list of capital investments this year — six of the top new rollouts have a mobile component, ranging from mobile keys, to mobile payments, to location-based technology (see fig. 2 below). Also high on to-do lists are improving data accessibility and security.

In this mega-trends special report, Hospitality Technology pulls together data from its 2016 Lodging Technology Study, combined with insight from industry thought leaders and hoteliers, to find more about out what’s shaping technology spending today.


1) Mobile ubiquity. “Drop the expectation that we have offline and online customers,” counselled travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt at HTNG’s 2016 North American Conference in March. Harteveldt, a former Forrester analyst, recently founded Atmosphere Research Group ( and is arguably one of the world’s most sought-after travel industry advisors. “Mobile has produced a permanent sense of immediacy. It’s changing forever how our guests interact with us and how they expect us to interact with them.”

Indeed — from mobile bookings, to check-in options, to room access — mobile dominates the list of top new technology rollouts in 2016. Hotel-branded customer mobile apps are poised for ubiquity, with 84% of operators planning to have the technology within the next 18 months. In the same time frame, about one quarter of hotels plan to deploy mobile keys.

In addition to simplicity for guests, mobile room access can make financial sense. For Village Hotels (, a UK brand with 28 properties attached to large gyms, mobile check-in and mobile key were added for financial reasons. The brand’s hetras ( cloud-based property management system interfaces with a mobile key system from Kaba (

According to Rob Paterson, commercial director for Village Hotels, the brand was seeking to align its four-star costs with its three-star status. Village Hotels that offer mobile check-in/keys or kiosks are operating more efficiently, with no lines, Paterson says; the rest will rollout weekly this year. Village has found that “pre-arrival communication is pretty important to explain the whole process, because it’s not common today,” says Paterson, along with on-property signage. Security is actually enhanced because the hotel has more info on the guest possessing the key, he adds, and ensuring payment pre-arrival is essential.

2. Integrating mobile data. Hotels have long amassed data but underused it. Data is the most valuable asset for many brands, and tapping into it will be a priority to deliver the personalization that travelers want. “If guests don’t find what they want from you and you aren’t leveraging your data in the right way to serve them, they will move onto a competitor,” says Harteveldt. Mobile technology is exponentially increasing those data inputs.

Nearly 80% of all data today already has a location-based element, according to The Location Based Marketing Association (LMBA; “Location has become the new ‘cookie’,” says LMBA founder and president Asif R. Khan. According to HT research, 30% of hotels plan to roll out location-based technology in 2016. Using mobile data together with reservation information from the PMS has helped Fontainebleau Miami ( upsell guests through pre-arrival and checkout offers, enabling the resort to optimize room revenue by inviting guests to arrive early or stay late for an additional fee. According to the resorts’ mobile check-in provider StayNTouch (, 20% to 40% of guests select mobile check-in, and the resort saw a 141% ROI from late checkout offers in the first 30 days. Balancing early check-ins against actual arrival times also helps hotels better manage room availability, the solution provider says.

3. Enabling guestroom tech. Once a technology playground of on-demand content and flat screen TVs, the guestroom has become a challenging area for hotel technology. More than half of hotels (56%) say that guestroom technology upgrades will be a priority this year. The most activity inside the guestroom will be to boost bandwidth — 36% of hotels have allocated resources for this in 2016—in order to support the content and devices that guests are carrying with them. Hoteliers are also investing in delivery platforms to elevate the in-room experience and catch up to what guests have at home. That means bigger, better TVs that interface easily with guest mobile devices for a great viewing experience, says Mike Blake, CEO, HTNG ( About one in four hotels will upgrade flat screens and enhance their HD content.

4. Future-proofing networks. With guests sporting their own mobile devices, delivering standout guest room and mobile experiences is now about delivering robust, secure and accessible infrastructure. “The number one thing guests want is for their WiFi to work,” according to HTNG’s Blake. Hoteliers are increasing their coverage and updating their networks to accommodate these demands—adding bandwidth will be a top priority for 45% of hotels in 2016, and it’s tied for first place as the largest budget line item (along with property management systems).

Fiber, or passive optical LAN, is quickly becoming the standard for new builds and retrofits, either all the way to the room or as part of fiber/copper hybrid networks. According to Corning ( and VT Group (, rather than running new cabling every four to five years, hotels can tap fiber’s high capacity to install once and gain huge increases in capacity and reach, since unlike copper, bandwidth is unlimited and does not degrade over distance. A single fiber optic cable can replace separate wiring for WiFi and cellular backhaul, building controls and triple-play networks, freeing up space and increasing performance while enabling parallel redundancy.

At Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (, vice president of technology David Heckaman and his colleagues considered multiple hybrid networking models for the one to two construction projects the brand undertakes each year, but found fiber to the room was equal or lower cost across geographies. “Fiber used to be expensive to terminate, but it has come down in price and is much simpler to terminate now than copper,” particularly with the availability of pre-terminated wiring closets, Heckaman says. With the need for as many as eight ports per room, Mandarin Oriental worked with Corning to select dedicated active switches for each room, while other hotels choose in-room access points as the switch. “Our goal across the brand is to make sure from an infrastructure standpoint that we always leave the bandwidth chokepoint at the back door, at the hand-off to the ISP,” says Heckaman.

Another factor supporting fiber is that no one wants to log into WiFi just to open their door. VT Group’s hotel clients are increasingly investing in DAS solutions such as Corning’s fiber for in-building cellular. Mandarin Oriental also sees fiber as providing the infrastructure to support future use of small/microcell designs and help the brand keep up with evolving cellular network technology.

5. Beefing up security. With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated and a recent rise in crypto-ransomware attacks, “people’s attitudes toward security are totally changed, and this area is highly funded,” says HTNG’s Blake. Security is garnering investment particularly as payment becomes increasingly mobile and new non-bank payment vehicles emerge. Providing for more secure payments and data is the top objective driving technology investments for the hotels in HT’s study. It’ll receive about 12% of overall IT budgets this year, which is a 25% budget increase over the year prior. Guest privacy in general is a growing challenge with the addition of mobile and social channels, and the increasing sophistication of data piracy is drawing increased investment in intrusion detection and prevention.

6. Energy conservation. Among capital IT rollouts planned for 2016, 20% of operators plan to focus on energy management. For most hotels, energy is among the top three largest costs, so efficiency efforts are an attractive proposition in order to yield financial savings. Intelligent technologies are helping hotels monitor and report on energy consumption. At the end of 2015, Hilton Worldwide ( became the first hotel company to achieve Superior Energy Performance certification from the Department of Energy for energy management at three properties.

Hilton has deployed its proprietary measurement platform, LightStay, across 4,500+ hotels. By gathering data from across its global portfolio, the company is able to analyze how hotels are managing energy performance and drive improvements. In addition to energy, the company has set targets in the areas of water conservation, waste diversion and carbon reduction.

Interel ( nabbed its second TechOvation award from HTNG for its TCP/IP-based Water Management System. In addition to giving guests instant control over water flow and temperature, the system is IoT and big data-enabled to deliver monitoring, while creating usage and consumption statistics that help to optimize settings. The ability to program water control settings, including an “eco” mode that automatically engages energy-efficient settings, provides operators with savings, leading to ROI.

The Future is Now: 5 Next-Gen Technologies with Value Today

Already seeing some use, these five technologies are likely to garner more share of the IT budget as operators find value in customer engagement and ROI.

IoT – Hospitality use of Internet of Things technology can already be seen in Disney’s MagicBands and guest room control systems, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. IoT will expand to enhance both guest experience and operations efficiency in everything from deploying staff where guests are congregating to preventing equipment breakdowns. On exhibit at CES this year, for example, was a sensor that measured UV risk at its specific location and advised when to reapply sun-screen; imagine this sensor embedded into a hotel pool chair.

Wireless charging. Already 41% of properties offer in-room charging stations, but charging is going wireless, such as Kube Systems ( chargers using the Qi standard in 29 Marriott lobbies. The next generation is longer-range wireless charging such as TechNovator’s ( XE, which uses resonant electromagnetic fields to charge multiple phones with special cases up to 17 feet away.

Virtual reality. Last Fall Marriott piloted a virtual reality headsets program at two properties that enabled guests to take virtual trips to exotic locations. HTNG’s Blake envisions using VR glasses and apps to enable prospective guests to tour conference spaces and guest rooms. In HT’s study, 14% of hoteliers said they think personal holograms have real-world potential as property concierges/guides.

Robotics. A robot as the hotel mascot? It’s already happening, and in fact 22% of hotels in HT’s study said robots have real potential in this industry. Relay robotic concierge from Savioke ( was named first runner-up “Most Innovative Hospitality Technology” at HTNG’s 2016 TechOvation Awards. Relay autonomously delivers amenities to guest rooms, and the technology is already being used at select Aloft Hotels ( In a similar move, Hilton Worldwide ( has teamed with IBM ( to pilot its robot concierge, “Connie.” Connie uses cognitive technology to process information as it interacts with guests, enabling it to adapt and improve recommendations as it learns.

Interactive walls. Gesture-controlled, interactive walls received 36% of respondents’ votes for futuristic technology most likely to take hold. The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel (, which is set to open in the spring of 2016, will feature interactive digital displays created by Montreal-based digital design firm Réalisations Inc. ( in public spaces. Using a variety of technology including motion detectors, projectors and 3D cameras, the firm created a “living” wall that will interact with guests and respond to their movement.


Colour-Changing Cocktails

Disco Sour, Restaurant 492

As explored in Food & Colour: Visualising Flavour, the food and beverage landscape is benefiting from experimental and compelling colour applications that are helping to elevate dining and drinking experiences to new sensorial heights.

Wine, in particular, is enjoying a multi-hued moment as product developers look beyond traditional white, red and rose iterations. See Alcohol Trends 2016 for insights into orange wine – a variety becoming increasingly popular for its light and refreshing taste delivery – as well as Blue Wine, a Spanish variety that uses indigo pigments to create a visually arresting product.

Bringing creative colour treatment to the world of mixology, South Carolina-based restaurant 492 has invented the Disco Sour – a cocktail that changes colour from pale yellow to deep violet. Dubbed by the restaurant as a “magical mood-ring ingredient”, butterfly pea flower (a bright blue flower native to Asia) is used to catalyse the colour transformation as it slowly bleeds its blue-toned ink into the beverage. Lemon juice can also be added to trigger a purplish tone.

Appealing to consumers’ desire for culinary drama, similar applications have been seen in other food categories. See Colour-Changing Ice Cream and Holographic Chocolate. These concepts are all focused on eliciting surprise and delight for thrill-seeking ‘culinary explorers’. See Nightlife Eats for more on bar and after-dark leisure culture.

For further insights into culinary experimentation using science and materiality, see Food & Materials: New Edible Forms. For more on current mixology trends in the at-home and on-the-go markets, see DIY Mixology.


New Luxury Resort to Arrive in Canouan

Canouan island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is home to the forthcoming 5-Star Pink Sands Club, Canouan resort. The 26-suite, six-villa property will open its doors early next month.

The Club is done in a classic style with pink accents, cool marble, cream fabrics, and dark wood. Coastal and lagoon-view guestrooms feature technology, including a mirrored sliding glass door with a TV embedded, and marble-clad bathrooms are outfitted with double vanities, separate rainfall showers, and soaking tubs.
The Spa will offer nine hillside and two overwater palapas with glass-bottom floors, accessible only by boat. Following treatments, guests can enjoy the infinity pool with three-tiered tanning deck.

All-day dining venue Romeo will feature an open kitchen, while the sophisticated Juliet offers two private dining rooms and indoor-outdoor seating. Other F&B options will include Lagoon Café, an elegant beach house-style bar and restaurant offering ocean views, a pool bar, and an additional five bars and restaurants.

The resort will also be home to the Canouan Golf Club, which offers a Jim Fazio-designed 18-hole championship golf course. A floodlit tennis court, Technogym fitness center, and teen and kids club will also be included onsite.


Hyatt announces sale of Hyatt Regency Birmingham in the UK

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has sold Hyatt Regency Birmingham for approximately £38.6 million to an affiliate of Bin Otaiba Investment Group. The purchaser will also spend approximately £2.7 million in additional capital expenditures to further improve the property over the next three years. As part of the sale, a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with the purchaser and the hotel will retain its Hyatt Regency branding.

The Hyatt Regency Birmingham:

“We are delighted to work with Bin Otaiba as we continue growing through our asset recycling strategy,” said Steve Haggerty, Hyatt’s global head of capital strategy, franchising and select service. “This transaction allows us to retain brand presence in the market and expand our relationship with an owner who is investing in the Hyatt Regency brand.”

One of the best-situated hotels in Birmingham city center, Hyatt Regency Birmingham is a modern, 4-star hotel that enjoys an unrivalled central location adjacent to Centenary Square and connects guests to who and what matters most. Offering access to the city’s landmark International Convention Centre (ICC) via bridgeway, the hotel is one of the leading convention facilities in the U.K., regularly hosting events that include the annual conferences of major political parties. It is also across from Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and 10 minutes by train to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). Additionally, the hotel is a short distance from the exclusive Mailbox and Bull Ring shopping centers. Occupying an entire 24-story, glass-front building, the hotel dominates the skyline of central Birmingham, the second largest city in the country.

The hotel’s 319 guestrooms and suites, including the exclusive Presidential Suite, all have floor-to-ceiling windows that command breathtaking views of the canal network or the city. For leisure, guests can visit the Amala Spa and Club for wellness and beauty treatments, the 16-metre indoor swimming pool and the well-equipped gymnasium. Hyatt Regency Birmingham is also home to the signature Aria Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Guests can enjoy a great selection of fine wines, champagnes and cocktails with friends in The Gentleman & Scholar Pub and Terrace. Traditional afternoon tea is served in the hotel daily, offering the perfect way to celebrate special occasions or round off a day’s shopping.

One of the most popular business hotels in the city, Hyatt Regency Birmingham is an ideal venue for meetings and conferences, featuring 10 meeting and event rooms that are complemented by meeting packages and personalized catering services, and exceptional spaces to host the most elegant weddings.


Wild Turkey introduces Matthew McConaughey in global marketing campaign

A new voice for a bourbon brand
This month, Academy-award-winning-actor Matthew McConaughey began starring in Wild Turkey’s new global campaign, which reintroduces the world to the bourbon brand through a series of TV, print and digital ads. McConaughey also is serving as the brand’s creative director and is telling the story of Wild Turkey from behind the camera and in front of it, the company says. “Wild Turkey has the history and qualities of a brand that depicts the dedication of someone to do something their own way — even if that way isn’t always the most popular,” McConaughey said in a statement. “I want to help share their unique story, starting with a new ad campaign that I feel really captures the special essence of this brand while introducing itself like never before.” A short film on YouTube chronicles McConaughey’s visit to the Kentucky distillery as he explores what has made Wild Turkey a legend in the bourbon business.

In search of fine wine
California accounts for about 90 percent of the total U.S. wine production, according to the Wine Institute. Reveling in consumers’ fascination with both wine and celebrity, wine experts Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine take readers on a journey through the Golden State and the vineyards of the rich and famous, including Francis Ford Coppola, Kurt Russell, Yao Ming, Mike Ditka and more, in their second book “California Celebrity Vineyards.” The book features exclusive interviews and more than 250 color photographs of vineyards along the West Coast — from Napa to Los Olivos — as part of the authors’ two-year quest to find great wine and give readers a peak into the lives of the athletes, actors and artists who have all turned to the art of winemaking.

Travel in style
Heineken USA, in partnership with Tumi, kicked off the seventh year of its #Heineken100 initiative by releasing the first of three travel, business and lifestyle accessories. Heineken is partnering with the most innovative brands in the retail market to develop limited-edition, co-branded products that are seeded to 100 of the world’s most influential men, the companies say. The first release is a custom, Miami-inspired Tumi tote featuring signature Heineken-green detailing and superior functionality, it says. The second Tumi #Heineken100 product, curated for New Yorkers, will debut in September, while Amsterdam’s item will round out the 2016 initiative in October, it adds.

Beer with a cause
Green Flash Brewing Co. kicked off its sixth annual Treasure Chest beer release and event series Aug. 27 in San Diego. The program again included the release of Treasure Chest beer on draft and packaged in 22-ounce bottles available through November. Green Flash will host the third annual Treasure Chest Fest at its brewery on the East Coast in November, it says. “As a six-year breast cancer survivor, I am thrilled to see the Treasure Chest program grow every year,” Green Flash Co-Founder Lisa Hinkley said in a statement. “Thanks to the support of our consumers, we are proud to have raised over $220,000 dollars for our national and regional charity partners to date.”

Adding new talent
Muscle Milk signed a partnership with Noah Syndergaard, a pitcher with MLB’s New York Mets. Syndergaard, who uses the brand’s protein products, will be featured in marketing efforts throughout New York and the rest of the country, the company says. Muscle Milk will feature Syndergaard in marketing collateral at retail locations, in digital and social content, and through unique brand experiences for retail and distributor partners. “Noah is a unique young talent. His strength, drive and humble confidence are each consistent with our brand,” said Greg N. Longstreet, president and chief executive officer of CytoSport Inc., in a statement.

Elevating lives
Tequila Avión announced the launch of its new brand platform, Yo/Elevado, which encourages seasoned and novice tequila connoisseurs alike to elevate their spirit choices and lives, the company says. Inspired by Avión’s birthplace and the drive of its founder, Yo/Elevado highlights the parallel between the literal and the figurative, it adds. The platform has been brought to life in its Tequila Elevado a un Arte campaign, which explores what happens when one stops worrying about time and efficiency and strives to elevate tequila to an art. The company engaged both Spanish- and English-language creative directors from the Opperman Weiss agency to create the campaign, which includes a mix of traditional media, digital and social media, as well as a short film. The campaign will run through 2016.

Saying ‘no’ to beer pressure
Stoli Vodka partnered with extreme sports athletes to debut a video series titled “Extreme Cocktailing.” In a recent survey conducted by the company, 74 percent of millennial men said that they enjoy flavored cocktails; however, 63 percent avoid drinking them for fear of scrutiny from their peers and instead choose beer. So, Stoli launched a four-episode video series on and YouTube to show the 63 per-cent what they’re missing out on, it says. The series includes professional slackliner Spencer Seabrooke, champion bull rider Zach Miles, professional mountain biker Kyle Norbraten and world-renowned kayaker Benny Marr.

Make a TEAcision
This month, Snapple launched two new seasonal flavors — a Red Fruit tea flavor and a Blue Fruit tea flavor. The new teas are being backed by an integrated marketing campaign that taps into the 2016 Presidential election. Prior to the launch, Snapple visited cities hosting major political events to give fans a sneak peak of the new flavors, it says. Actor Michael Rapaport served as a break time correspondent and arrived at various stops in a wrapped Snapple “Break State Bus,” which was used as a base of operations for giveaways, blind taste tests and consumer debates about anything except politics, it adds. Digital creative supporting the new teas includes an interactive “create-a-campaign” break tool to generate a customized, patriotic campaign ad and an online “Can-Tea-Date” quiz, where consumers can see whether they lean Red Fruit Tea or Blue Fruit Tea, the company says.


The Top 10 Predicted Wine And Beer Trends of 2015

It’s the beginning of the new year and you know what that means: New food trends are just beyond our gourmet grocery store’s horizon. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Culinary Forecast, locally sourced meats and seafood landed in the top spot in this year’s food trends. And obviously, you’ll want to wash down those sizzling steaks and shrimp with some trendy alcoholic beverages. So here are the top 10 predicted wine and beer trends for 2015.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) crowned micro-distilled/artisan spirits as the top trend of the New Year. Micro-distilled or artisan spirits are liquors that use local ingredients that give the alcohol an unique flavor. Think of it like the craft beer version of hard liquor.
Top Ten Predicted Wine And Beer Trends of 2015

The number of artisan distilleries in the U.S. has exploded, increasing 30 percent a year. According to the American Distilling Institute (ADI), in 2005 there were only 50 craft distillers compared to the over 600 in 2013. So it’s no surprise that artisan spirits are the next big thing to hit the drinking scene. Major alcohol companies are expected to purchase craft distillers, wineries, breweries and brands to stay on top of the rising trend.
The NRA named locally produced booze the second top trend for 2015. As people continue to prefer their food fresh from the farm and locally produced, it only makes sense they want the same for their alcohol.

Barrel-Aged Drinks
Barrel-aged drinks also ranked high on the NRA alcohol trend list. New York, Portland and San Francisco bars are the leading the pack with this movement. To make a barrel-aged drink, a bartender uses a process called “batching” where they mix up several gallons of cocktail and funnel it into an oak barrel. They set the liquor in a dark area, usually the basement of the bar and wait months until they decide the aged alcohol is ready. Over the months, the alcohol is absorbed from the wood, soaking up its color and flavors.

Session Beers
Craft beers will continue to reign over Budweisers. However, craft brewers will stop focusing on IPAs, which get people drunker faster because of its higher alcohol content. Perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, you will be able to sip more with session beers that contain less alcohol, typically no more than five percent. Even though they skimp on the alcohol, they don’t on taste. They taste well with chips, wings and pizza. Try Founders Brewing Co.’s All Day IPA, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Nooner Pilsner or Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s DayTime seasonal beers.

Craft Rums
Pappy Van Winkle was really popular in 2014, but the American craft whisky trend was so last year. Craft rums will be the next big trend of the year among spirit connoisseurs. According to the ADI, Balcones Texas Rum was crowned “category defining” in a 2013 competition. The aged rum is made from molasses in oak barrels and is only available in the U.S.

Portable Wine
So wine in a can wasn’t as appealing to Millennials as companies hoped it would be, but portable wine is expected to make a splash in 2015. There is the company Zipz that received the biggest deal in Shark Tank history when it got $2.5 million. Other portable wine options include Stack Wines and W1ne for One.

Tequila For Millennials
Speaking of Millennials, if they are looking for a party then tequila should be the drink of choice. Celebs like Iggy Azalea and Usher are proudly announcing their love for the drink, and with lots of songs saluting shots, tequila is most commonly associated with a fun, but wild time. There will be more high-end options expected to hit the market for those who have more sophisticated taste.

Healthy” Alcohol
Low-calorie wine brands are expected to do well this year. Some bars may start adding calorie counts to their menus, meaning they could create cocktails minus the extra sugar. Organic wine, beer and cider will also continue to rise in popularity, especially since organic vodka, gin, liqueurs, whiskey, tequila and rum are now available.

Wine Country
Surprisingly, Virginia is predicted to be the next go-to region for wine. New Jersey and Texas are also up-in-coming wine regions. And will it be white or red this year? White wines like Assyrtiko from Santorini, Greece will be the must-drink summer sipper.

Flavor of the Year
According to the Swiss flavor maker Firmenich, the annual Flavor of the Year has been announced. 2015 will officially be the year of honey-flavored liquor. Try Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey or add pure honey when mixing up cocktails at home.


Australian firm develops method to safely cold-press raw milk

Screen-Shot-2016-06-08-at-15.01.18An Australian company has rolled out a new bottled “raw milk” that uses cold-pressing as an alternative technique to pasteurisation, after receiving the approval of the New South Wales Food Authority.

The micro-organisms in raw milk make it dangerous for humans to consume – but Sydney-based Made by Cow high-pressure processes the milk, which, despite the product’s positioning, mean it is no longer technically raw apart from avoiding the process of heating that conventional milk goes through during pasteurisation.

As Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald reported, the company worked with NSW Food Authority “for more than a year” to ensure that the product was free from the pathogens that are usually present in raw milk, and which pose a serious threat to humans.

Made by Cow has made the 750ml bottles, with a retail price of AUD 5 ($3.74) each, available in health stores in Australia. Because of the unusual method of processing, each bottle of Made by Cow’s cold-pressed milk features a thick layer of cream on top.

“Good herd management, hygienic milking techniques and the cold-pressure method have meant we can put 100% safe, raw milk onto supermarket shelves,” Made by Cow founder Saxon Joye was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The bottles of milk are placed under enormous water pressure, squashed in about 15%, to remove the harmful micro-organisms.”