Travel the Great Outdoors

Travelling is the greatest unparalleled education there is. There is no better way to experience many of Life’s best and most defining Travel moments.

People travel for many reasons. They journey to see family, they go away for business reasons and they especially travel away for vacations. Going on vacation is usually the most popular reason for leaving home for an extended time and going some distance from where you live.

With all ventures ‘far and wide’ you encounter many different experiences. Many countries you travel to are varied in people, culture, languages and currency. You learn and benefit from so many adventures. Each travelling venture can be unique and life changing.

People who travel extensively have a broader, wider mind and vision, based on all the accumulated experiences they have. Unless you travel, you will never see or experience the wonders of the world. You need to travel to see with your own eyes the ‘ancient civilisations’, the magnificent historical and archaeological sites, the enchanting natural landscapes, and the fascinating explosions of colour in mountains, valleys and deserts.

The oceans, lakes and rivers sparkle and change moods before your eyes. There is so much in abundance to see and do in our world, that your whole lifetime will never begin to ‘touch the surface’ of what there is out there.

With so much to enrich your life, if you have the opportunity, why would you not want to Travel in order to witness ‘first hand’ many of life’s unique magic moments. By travelling you attempt to do the world some justice and in the process learn so much. Travelling provides a brilliant learning curve that nobody can ever take away from you. It’s a priceless education that totally enriches your Life. It makes you a wiser and richer person for all your new found experiences.

On your travels you meet many interesting people and the chance to make new friendships. The relationships that are mutually developed can have far reaching and positive consequences. Only by travelling will you provide yourself with the opportunity to potentially alter the destiny or course of your Life. Imagine the endless possibilities for you.

Travelling is vital to you if you want to have broader horizons and an endless mind of cherished memories. Travel, be free and capture all you see and hear in the movie of your mind forever.

May you soon enjoy the magic of a special trip soon

Martin Jeszke

Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2013

Who decides what makes a travel destination “hot?” Why do people from all over the world start buying air fare tickets to places they know very little about? Tourism is often times attracted by economics. Sometimes major events such as the Olympics place a city “onto the map”. Before you know it, it is placed on the “hottest 2013 destination” list. Of course, a clever marketing strategy makes a huge difference too. For years an advertising agency ran the “Visit California” commercial featuring famous celebrities wearing bikinis and drinking wine on the beach, which attracted millions of visitors to the sunny state each year.

Our top destinations are:

Corsica, France

Corsica is a mixture of Italian and French cultures. Its stunning beauty and challenging topograhopy make this epic beauty a spectacular choice for our top destinations of 2013. Corsica will host the initial stages of the hundredth Tour de France.

Rabat, Morocco

Marrakech has always taken the spotlight from Morocco’s low-key capital. While many travelers are seduced by Marrakech’s heady sights and sounds, Rabat has a historic old town feel, featuring mosques and hassle-free shopping. It also features lovely cafes and wide boulevards.

Yukon, Canada

As one of the least densely populated areas in the world, Yukon is enjoying tremendous mineral wealth which is drawing new residents to this region. Due to climate change parts of the north area is actually dissolving into the Arctic Ocean with the glacier parks undergoing profound change.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In 2013 the 160th anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday will take at the city’s Van Gogh Museum. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which is considered one of the world’s greatest orchestras, turns 125 years old in 2013. Amsterdam’s canal ring will celebrate its 400th anniversary. This city always finds ways to celebrate, especially so in 2013. And we thought Amsterdam was already so much fun.

Carinthia, Austria

Carinthia is known for its uncrowded ski slopes nestled on every mountain top. Bordering Italy and Slovenia, the region offers Mediterranean laissez-faire. Now is the time to check out Carinthia, while it’s peaceful and quiet. It won’t stay like this much longer.

Palawan, the Philippines

Palawan consists of thousands of sparkling islands and offers a 2000km pristine coastline. This untouched beauty is about to explode with regional airlines realizing Palawan’s potential and scheduling direct flights to the capital. Combined with high-end boutique hotels normally found in places like Bali, you can feel that Palawan is ready to become big.

Colombia

A magical mountain scenery, stylish hotels and new direct routes from major airports, put Colombia quickly onto a traveler wish list.

The Gulf Coast, USA

The Gulf Coast has taken a few hard hits in the past few years. In 2013 the area with rolling sand dunes and sparkling water is ready for some seasonal travelers.

Mustang, Nepal

The completion of a road connecting Mustang to China in the north and the rest of Nepal to the south will make all the difference to this remote region. Until the early 90’s nobody was allowed in; after that it was opened up to a few hundred a year. These days anyone is allowed to enter as long as they have the pricey trekking permit. This provision keeps the numbers down; but expect that to change soon.

Scotland, United Kingdom

The 2012 James Bond thriller “Skyfall” was filmed there. If you saw the movie, you probably walked away wishing you too could race through Scotland’s dramatic countryside and hide in its foggy pastures.

Why Is There Such a Price Difference Between Champagnes and Sparkling Wines?

One of the most common questions I am asked with regard to Champagnes and sparkling wines is: “why is there such a price discrepancy between them and what are the differences?”

There are a number of factors that contribute to differences and the price differential. The method in which the wines are made, the variety and quality of grapes used in the wine, the time held before release and the distance the wine travels to reach the point of sale.

The Main Methods of Production

The most time consuming, intensive and consequently the most expensive method of producing sparkling wine is the traditional method used in the Champagne area of France. After a primary fermentation the wine is bottled where as the second fermentation happens in the bottle. Sugar and yeast are used to induce this second fermentation. In Champagne the wine has to sit for a minimum of 1.5 years. Then the wine has to go through the process of remuage (the gradual turning and inversion of the bottle) to get the lees (yeasty sediment bits) to settle in the neck of the bottle to allow them to be removed after which time the dosage (typically a mixture of sugar and wine) is added to top the bottle back up. Most Champagnes will be aged on lees for longer than the 1.5 years. Moreover, the Champagne has to reach our shores: not an insignificant distance!

The cost of producing sparkling wine in this traditional method (Champagne) is the most expensive way as it takes a good deal more time to produce, then a good deal more time before the finished product hits the retail market. Some Australian sparkling wines made using this method are kept for many years before release. The Arras Range of vintage sparkling wines are held en tirage for up to 10 years before release. Consequently the prices for these wines reflect the time and quality of the wines.

The Transfer method is another method used when after the first fermentation the wine is put in bottles for the second fermentation. After time in the bottle the wine is taken out and put into large tanks. The wine is then filtered, dosage added and then the wine is returned to the bottle.

The Charmat method, a process invented in Italy, is another way of producing sparkling wine. In this method the wine undergoes the second fermentation in stainless steel tanks, not in the bottle. The wine is then bottled under pressure.

The Transfer method cuts a fair slab of the time out of the production of a sparkling wine and consequently makes it slightly cheaper to produce. This method does allow more complexity in the wine then the Charmat method as the second ferment is in the bottle and the wine is left on lees for a period plus the winemaker has more scope to fine tune the wine at the end. The Charmat method makes a more simple style as the second fermentation is in the tank and not the bottle and there is no extended lees contact.

The last method and the cheapest form of sparkling wine production is Carbonation. The wine is simply injected with C02 in a tank and bottled under pressure as with sparkling soft drinks.

The Grapes

In the Champagne region of France there are strict controls on what grapes varieties can be used and the areas from where these grapes can be taken to make Champagne. The three main varieties allowed are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. There are a couple of others but they are rare and seldom used. These three varieties are what the better Australian sparkling wines are made from, although Pinot Meunier is used to a much lesser extent due to the relatively small amount grown here. The producers of premium sparkling wines source the best grapes available to produce the best base wine they can. Cheaper sparkling wines use less costly grapes and in the cheaper carbonated sparklings different varieties are often used for production.

One other factor that can be a price determinant, especially at the premium end, is the market forces that are in play. Due to the very small quantities some of the top Champagnes and sparkling wines are produced in small quantities so they can command large prices as there are always consumers willing to pay a premium to secure them.

The cost of sparkling wines is therefore a reflection of the manner of production, the grapes used, the time involved in the process, the holding time before release and how far it travels to hit the retail market. With sparkling wine, as with most very fine things in life, you get what you pay for: time, care, quality and limited supply. When next you enjoy a cold glass of bubbly you may like to ponder on the factors involved in its creation. But don’t think too hard: life is too short!