Drink wine, travel far and wide

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Beringer Philippines on Wednesday announced the brand’s latest campaign, appearing primarily on the travel site Trip Advisor, “to inspire a holiday revolution.” The winemaker is encouraging everyone to make travel planning a social occasion: “We believe that vacation planning is always better when shared with others over a glass of wine.”

Hmmm … any excuse to drink vino, right?

The campaign went so far as to commission a survey, polling 5,000 respondents from age 25 to 65 in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The survey showed that over 95 percent of Filipinos value vacation planning even though almost 30 percent liken travel planning to working. Most also believe that group travel plans will more likely push through if planned together.

Therefore, Beringer concludes, if you plan together, preferably over a bottle of wine, you have a better chance of fulfilling that dream vacation with your friends or family.

Personally, I would recommend planning over coffee and over a period of time, possibly via a group messaging app for constant updates and research on the best places to visit, restaurant tips, etc. The best travel planning I have been a part of so far is with a foodie group called Lamonation (friends who love to eat and have the motto, “Hindi umaatras sa hamon ng lamon”) where a Facebook group was created so any member can share news, travel tips, and even create polls to vote on which restaurants to visit at our destination. While it’s fun to poach the idea as you hit the happy note with your pinot, the reality is that planning doesn’t happen overnight, much less over a bottle of wine.

But then again … any excuse to open a bottle of red is welcome!

For those not so familiar with American wines (I am personally partial to French), Beringer is the oldest continuously operating winery in Napa Valley, California. It was founded in 1876 by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer who believed that Napa could produce world-renowned wines.

The company, whose ownership has changed a few times since its founding, probably chose a campaign related to travel because of the history of Beringer Winery as the first California winery to offer public tours and wine tasting in 1934. (A bit of trivia: Since Hollywood is in California, stars such as Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were among the first to be invited.)

Today, Beringer Vineyards is listed under both the United States National Register of Historical Places and as a California Historical Landmark.

Meanwhile, I feel that the personal campaign of Beringer’s Kathy Yao Santos of Happy Living Wines, which distributes Beringer in the Philippines, is to encourage people to make wine a part of family dinner. The first time that I met her was at Shang Palace, when they paired Beringer with Chinese food. Last Wednesday, she paired Beringer with “modern” Filipino food.

Guests at the event were made to try the Founders’ Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, and their classic Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Pinot Noir, described as “fruit forward with bright flavors of red cherry and currant, beautifully complemented by cedar and cinnamon spice” was the favorite of Australian Elise Greene from Treasury Wine Estates, which now owns Beringer. It is ideally paired with salmon, turkey or brie cheese.

Personally, though, I was drawn to the Zinfandel, which had a more identifiable nose and lingering finish. While also fruit forward, the tasting notes specify vanilla and nutmeg. The wine is recommended to be enjoyed even with burgers and pizza; or Kathy recommends anything barbecued or even spicy, such as the beautifully charred octopus that was served that night. I was happily surprised to learn that it costs less than P800 per bottle (I was expecting it to be about P1,200) so I think it’s really good value for money—you can really consider Founders’ Estate Zinfandel as an everyday treat.

Meanwhile, Sunny Ku, who organized the dinner, preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon, probably because of its lush feel in the mouth. The evening’s piece de resistance was paired with wagyu sirloin with rice and egg, a “modern” version of tapsilog, proving that the Beringer cab matches with the Pinoy palate.

By the main course, our end of the table was laughing so hard at the corniest jokes (I confess to being the Queen of Corny), thanks in large part to these Napa Valley wines. By the sound of our laughter after five glasses of wine—and we all just met that night—I think that even if you don’t drink that bottle with friends for the purpose of planning your next vacation, if you do open a Beringer Zinfandel with any group, by sheer desire to laugh and hang out some more, you will, inevitably, end up planning your next vacation. Their tagline is right: It all begins with Beringer!

For inquiries and orders, call Happy Living Philippines Corporation at 899- 4700 or 895-6507 or 896-0336 or e-mail inquiries-info@happylivingwines.com and sales@happylivingwines.biz.

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