Planning a visit to Italy and its wineries in the next few months? Nice idea! And you’re lucky, because in our technological times you do not have to weigh yourself down with paper guides, books, maps, leaflets or brochures. Everything you need for your journey is in a convenient app for smartphone or tablet. As an Italian with an iPhone and an iPad, I tried out several of these apps on my own devices and found a couple that are very good.
While the airplane is taxiing, or during take-off and landing, I have to turn off the electronic devices. Sometimes I remember to bring a book, but other times that means I have to look in the seat-pocket for entertainment. If the crossword puzzles and Sodoku are done (dear airline, please change the magazines more often) I end up reaching for the SkyMall catalogue. It is guaranteed to provide entertainment, from Star of David Christmas Tree topper (seriously! I am not making that up) to a genuine Harry Potter Magic Wand.
As a journalist, I have lived and worked overseas and traveled hundreds of thousands of miles. My passport is crammed with dozens of visas from faraway places, with each visa a trigger for memories: some good, some bad, some even horrific.
While South Africa is home to more than 600 wineries in over 90 appellations, a small group of maverick winemakers are stealing the nation's spotlight, working with chenin blanc and Rhône varieties, off the beaten path in the Western Cape's Swartland appellation.
As a wine professional, I was a bit embarrassed at how little I knew about the Spanish wine region of Ribera del Duero before I traveled there in June. Maybe I should not have been—it is famous in the UK, but in the US we barely know the name.