Champagne Bureau, USA Launches Interactive Map of Champagne Region

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The Champagne Bureau, USA today has launched an interactive map of the Champagne region.   Here you can explore the towns and areas that make up the world-famous wine appellation that produces the unique sparkling wine called Champagne. From the city of Reims to the Côte des Bars, the interactive map allows users to click on different towns and locales to learn more about the areas, including their unique history and fun facts.

View map here: http://bit.ly/1Bl6e3g

 

Source:  The Champagne Bureau, USA

 

An Interview with Charles Keusters, Director of Food & Beverage, Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic

interviewCharles Keusters arrived at Casa de Campo December 2014 following a four-year run with Meliá Hotels International. His assignments included management positions with Paradisus Palma Real; Paradisus Punta Cana; INNSIDE Madrid Hotels; and ME Madrid. Charles earned his Hospitality Administration/Management Diploma from Les Roches Marbella. In addition, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Haverford College.

Casa de Campo Brief

Casa de Campo set the benchmark for luxury travel in the Dominican Republic back in the 1970’s and continues to elevate the standard.

This elite “sporting life” property is situated on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, in the town of La Romana.

Luxury accommodations include 185 guest rooms, suites with private terraces, and over 50 villa homes some with private pools. Casa de Campos’s 7,000-acre property offers an abundance of recreational and relaxing activities, including: three award winning and truly spectacular golf courses “Teeth of the Dog”, “Dye Fore” and “The Links”, designed by award-winning designer Pete Dye; La Terraza Tennis Center; a 245 acre shooting center; polo and equestrian center; and variety of water sports. For relaxation and enjoying the sun, the spa and private beaches are a must. Six of the full-service restaurants provide International cuisine and wines all with breathtaking views. Casa de Campo has its own airport, heliport and marina; guests are welcome to arrive by air or by sea.

Liz Palmer

 What Food and Beverage concepts have you implemented since your arrival?

Charles Keusters

 My main objective is to give Casa de Campo villa owners and guests an experience they cannot find anywhere else – to make it a culinary destination.

The owners and guests have access to anything they want here. I like the culinary culture and always looking for new ideas – for my future plans, I’m looking to set up a riverboat where the chef will cook on the boat for guests. I’m also incorporating health and wellness into the menus and working with the chef to incorporate more indigenous vegetables and fruits into the menus along with local fresh fish, which is at our doorstep.

Liz Palmer

As Director of Food & Beverage of Casa De Campo, how do you manage your day and can your outline a typical workday for us?

Charles Keusters

It’s rarely the same every day for me.

I oversee private functions, all the restaurants, and catering for private yachts and planes.

Breakfast is usually at 7:30 am at Logo. Here I have breakfast and review my day. Then I do a-walk-around the property to see if everything is in order. 8:30 am there is usually a briefing with the General Manager. 9:00 am I have an executive committee meeting which includes the operations team where I review pricing and budging. After this meeting I walk around and oversee the various events around the property. Throughout the afternoon and evening I great guests and listen and respect their comments and suggestions.

Liz Palmer

What defines luxury to you?

Charles Keusters

Luxury is comfort, innovation, uniqueness, and anticipation, which are defining elements. Service also plays an important part.

Liz Palmer

Does Casa De Campo have a wine cellar? If so, how large is the inventory? Who maintains it? And who chooses the wines and prepares the wine list?

Charles Keusters

We have an 8,000 bottle cellar, with an inventory of French, Italian, Spanish, Chilean, Australian and New Zealand wines.

I manage and maintain the cellar and am currently reviewing the wine lists to make some future changes.

Liz Palmer

What is your favorite glass of wine to sip at the end of the day?

Charles Keusters

Wine is a personal experience – I like Italian and Spanish reds. Especially Cepa 21 from Spain.

Liz Palmer

Charles, how do you keep up on industry trends and cultural needs of global clients?

Charles Keusters

I’m personally interested in international industry trends. I read magazines, food blogs, and am constantly reviewing Instagram.When I travel I love to explore other cultures and their dishes.

Fresh from the Villers-Marmery vineyards of Champagne Henriet-Bazin, a chardonnay vine in flower

Fresh from the Villers-Marmery vineyards of Champagne Henriet-Bazin a chardonnay vine in flower. This principal growth stage falls between Leaf Development/Inflorescence Emerge and Development of Fruits.

Doc Schéma fleur de vigne + cadre copie

Principal features of a chardonnay vine in flower.

 

Source: Nicolas Rainon

12th Edition of Sicilia en Primeur #SiciliaEP15

2015-04-16 21.36.35Sicilia en Primeur was established in 2004. The purpose of this annual annual event is to present to the Italian and international press the latest vintages from the wineries belonging to Assovini Sicilia.

Over 100 international wine journalists invaded Sicily to attend the 12th edition of Sicilia en Primeur from April 14th – 18th, 2015. With over 40 participating wineries pouring 300 wines, we had the chance to taste “en primeur” wines from different parts of the island, and speak first hand with the winemakers and owners. This also gave us the chance to learn more about their terroir, history, landscape and the various winemaking regions on the Island.

This new generation of Sicilian wine producers have utilized the island’s enviable climate, indigenous grape varieties and fertile soil to win many international wine awards. Their wines have also won the hearts of many of the attending journalists.

So I heard… “Some of Italy’s finest wines are now being made in Sicily”.

Assovini Sicilia selected a sublime venue the Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay, Taormina, which had stunning views of the Mediterranean.

98Z-7N0Vv4rV4Yq7Y_XWcgfTOdOvOtFT5IPn9OaXun02015-04-17 06.25.52IMG_6470

Exclusive Interview with Conrad Bergwerf, Managing Director, of both the Paradisus Palma Real and Paradisus Punta Cana

2015-02-23 19.02.17Exclusive interview with Conrad Bergwerf, Managing Director of the Paradisus Palma Real and Paradisus Punta Cana properties, in the Dominican Republic.

Conrad Bergwerf has almost twenty years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry and has won a number of prestigious awards. As General Manager of Hotel Gran Meliá Jakarta, Mr. Bergwerf was recognized by the Comité de Turismo de Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste Asiático (ASEAN), in addition to receiving a nomination by the government for the best hotel in the country. Mr. Bergwerf also served as the General Manager of Melia and Paradisus resorts and hotels in Cancun, Jakarta, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Punta Cana.

About the properties:

Both resorts are 5-star all-inclusives. Paradisus is the the all-inclusive luxury brand of Meliá Hotels International.

Paradisus Palma Real is a 554-suite all-inclusive resort that offers a signature adults-only Royal Service program with personal butler service, private beach and pool areas, and Family Concierge service. The resort also offers an abundance of water sports activities, horseback riding excursions, four tennis courts, three pools, Kids’ Club, six gourmet restaurants, and a full-service spa.

Paradisus Punta Cana is a luxury all-inclusive resort situated among white-sand beaches and beautiful blue waters in the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. The resort offers an array of chic suite accommodations and exclusive offerings for guests creating a distinct and memorable vacation experience including seven swimming pools, 12 restaurants and a full service, signature YHI Spa.

Liz Palmer:

What does Meliá Hotels International brand represent?

Conrad Bergwerf:

Across four continents it’s the number 1 vacation destination world wide; in Spain it’s the number 1 hotel chain, it’s number 2 in Europe, and world wide it’s number 10 – this all speaks how successful it has become.

Liz Palmer:

Does the Paradisus Palma Real and the Paradisus Punta Cana properties have a philosophy?

Conrad Bergwerf:

Yes, they do… “Its he pure freedom of just to be…” and this speaks for itself.

Liz Palmer:

Can you share what makes Paradisus Palma Real unique?

Conrad Bergwerf:

Paradisus is unique in that every single aspect has been thoughtfully and precisely created to deliver an unparalleled experience for all the senses. Your senses will be fully engaged in all respects.

The Family Concierge at the Paradisus Palma Real has had a recent $12 million renovation which includes 42 deluxe suites, with ocean or partial ocean views, some suites have Jacuzzi’s on the balcony — there is lots of marble, an elegant bathtub (separated by a white diaphanous curtain), has VIP check-in, private pool, exclusive restaurant, butlers, and a lounge with a nonstop selection of snacks and juices.

The Family Concierge section also has special  children’s in-suite amenities including robes and slippers and Kids Camp.

Liz Palmer:

Whom Does Paradisus Palma Real Particularly Appeal to?

Conrad Bergwerf:

Our guests come from:

#1 USA – East Coast and Midwest

#2 Canada

#3 Brazil

We do a lot of “barefoot dinners on the beach”, weddings, proposals,  entertain celebraties and Latin American sport celebrities.

Liz Palmer:

You have so many restaurants to choose from, which is your favorite? Do you also have a favorite dish? And a favorite wine?

Conrad Bergwerf:

It usually depends on the time of the day and my mood. Usually, I enjoy seafood. I love Spanish wine, we have many on our wine lists.

Liz Palmer:

How do you keep up with the industry trends and changes in emerging markets and cultural needs of global clients?

Conrad Bergwerf:

I am very focused on this. For example I like playing with the lighting – indirect on the beach and other parts of the resort. I’m also looking at changing the shower lighting. Also, having more open space on the properties, this gives it a nice flow. Using trendy architects to assist us in designing space. Trends start in Asia and I follow a lot of the top designers. Lastly, and the most important is that getting Wi-Fi to go to the beach.

Liz Palmer:

Thank you for taking some time out of your schedule to talk to us and for your wonderful hospitality during our visit to Paradisus Palma Real.

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