6 Ways to Celebrate the Champagne Harvest This Fall - United Hub

6 Ways to Celebrate the Champagne Harvest This Fall

By The Hub team, September 12, 2017

Each fall in the Champagne region of France, the harvest begins as big name winemakers start culling grapes for some of the best-loved sparkling wine in the world. True Champagne only comes from this region in northeast France — cava and prosecco don't count — making it something of an exclusive treat.

Visiting the region where the grapes are grown and tasting the wines with experts from the vineyards will enrich any experience of the Champagne itself. Those who can travel to France absolutely should. But those of us who are stuck at home can still celebrate the harvest. From overseas workshops to home-made cocktails, there are plenty of ways to toast this year's bounty.

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Take a train to Reims

To find yourself wandering through the vines of a Champagne winemaker, fly first to Paris. From there, visitors can take a short TGV train (less than an hour) to the city of Reims, where the bulk of the vineyards are located. Reims can easily be seen in a day-trip, and with all of the wine you'll want to sample, taking the train is probably the best (and safest) option.

Experience the vineyards

Some of the biggest names in luxury are located in Champagne, with winemakers such as Moet & Chandon, Taittinger, and Dom Pérignon all calling the region home. Most vineyards offer tastings or special workshops — Dom Pérignon, for example, offers four different experiences, including a variety of tastings and a tour of their abbey.

Champagne Armand de Brignac, a well-known vineyard known as "the Ace of Spades" for its logo, teamed up with Chef Arnaud Lallement (of the Michelin-starred L'Assiette Champenoise) to debut a luxury tasting menu of five Champagnes alongside French delicacies. The 500 euro per person tasting is available at the eponymous hotel.

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Visit the city and surrounding attractions

Most restaurants around town offer Champagnes by the glass, so you can sample the fruits of nearby vineyards while enjoying classic brasserie food at restaurants like Le Boulingrin.

The nearby Reims Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece, akin to Notre Dame, open to visitors from around the world. The 800-year-old church is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Learn to open and store your bottles

Whether you're taking home bottles after a jaunt in Reims or buying them at your local liquor shop, opening and storing them properly can greatly affect the taste.

Moët & Chandon winemaker Marie-Christine Osselin warns against storing champagne in the refrigerator for long periods of time, telling the Huffington Post that it's better to chill Champagne in an ice bucket for 15 to 20 minutes before drinking it. Leaving Champagne in the refrigerator for too long can cause the wine to oxidize faster and change its flavors, she said.

After chilling — and to avoid injuring either yourself or loved ones — always open a bottle of Champagne by twisting the bottle, not the cork itself.

Make your own Champagne cocktails

While Champagne can be savored on its own, try an even more festive take on the celebratory drink by enjoying it in a cocktail. Gin-lovers will go wild for the French 75, while fans of vintage cocktails are sure to love the Ingrid Bergman, found at Manhattan's Slowly Shirley bar.

Visit your local Champagne bar

Sipping Champagne is not an activity exclusively reserved for the French, or even Manhattanites. Wine-lovers can find excellent Champagne bars in cities like Portland, Oregon, and Atlanta (grab a table at Buckhead's Vine & Tap for a trio of bubblies and $1 oysters).


This article was written by Jess McHugh from Travel & Leisure and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

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