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Featured Blog Posts

The Lovely, Little Known Wine Country of Brazil

When even most wine connoisseurs think of Latin America and the fruit of the vine, Argentina and Chile of course immediately spring to mind. But to their east, in Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, lies a slightly smaller and lesser known, yet steadily rising wine country I had the pleasure to visit recently. I was delighted to discover gorgeous rolling countryside and temperate climate which reminded me of Tuscany and Napa Valley, and a wide variety of high-quality, highly drinkable vintages.

Up in the “Gaucho Hills” a two-hour drive north of the state capital, Porto Alegre, the Vale dos Vinhedos (Valley of the Wineries) is a far cry from, say, the beaches of Rio or the Afro-Brazilian vibe of Bahia. Here the cultural influences stem from late-19th- and early-20th-century immigration from Germany – and of special relevance to wine, Italy. The valley is anchored by a pair of cities, Bento Gonçalves and Garibaldi (yes, named after Italy’s hero of unification), and includes two dozen wineries of varying sizes and ages – some dating back as far as the 19th century, others little more than 30 years. Many welcome visitors.  keep reading

Mysteries of 'Unusual' Winter Olympic Sports Unraveled

If like most people you think skeletons are for Halloween and curling is something you do to your hair, the PeongChang 2018  Winter Olympics will rock your world. Along with the usual skating, skiing, snowboarding and hockey, if you’ve been paying close attention you may have noticed more exotic-sounding events such as luge, biathlon, curling, and yes, even the skeleton comes out of the closet. Just what are these winter sports that seem to pop up only quadrennially during the Winter Games? Here’s a quick primer... keep reading

photos |  David Paul Appell, pieclown

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