Alpine Wine - United Hub
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Alpine wine

By The Hub team, September 29, 2016

Story by Jessica Benavides Canepa | Rhapsody 2016

The Swiss are known for a lot of things: cheese, chocolate, watches, neutrality … but wine? Believe it or not, Switzerland boasts six main wine regions and more than 220 indigenous grapes, but the country has kept its viticultural tradition mostly secret since Roman times. But now, despite strict regulations, low production, and even lower export rates—just south of 2 percent—standout vintages are emerging as a must-have indulgence for wine aficionados.

Many Swiss wines are not found anywhere else. The Ticino region, for example, is known for its rare white merlot. “Wine-savvy guests often request a glass, eager to try something totally new," says Walter Mattinat, sommelier at Hotel Eden Roc, in Ascona. Meanwhile, in the UNESCO Lavaux sub-region, visitors can try the ancient varietal Plant Robert, which was saved from extinction in 1966 and tastes decidedly spicier than gamay, its French counterpart. But, says Luis Tarralheiro of the wine-tasting center Lavaux Vinorama, “Our goal is not just to sell wine, but to share our winegrowers' experience and heritage."

That experience can be tough. Due to Switzerland's mountainous terrain, many vines are planted on steep hillsides, often requiring grapes to be handpicked—an activity that keeps labor costs high and production low. So low, in fact, that roughly two-thirds of the wine consumed here is imported. And unlike in neighboring countries, where winemaking cooperatives are becoming more common, the majority of Swiss wineries remain small, family-run businesses. “Like our ancestors, we maintain the integrity of our vineyards by not purchasing grapes from cooperatives," says Benoît Caloz, whose family owns the award-wining Colline de Daval and Caveau de la Vouettaz in Valais, the country's largest wine-growing region. “Others may produce more, but we control the quality from beginning to end."

Amphore Assemblage

Albert Mathier et Fils Valais Vin Blanc 2010, $65

• Vinified in the 7,500-year-old Qvevri ceramic clay vase method, this orange-hued white is a robust blend of indigenous Rèze and the French varietal Marsanne and features notes of tea, dried apricot, and linden blossoms.

Villette Plant Robert

Jean-Daniel Porta Lavaux Vin Rouge 2014, $28

• Harvested exclusively on small plots in Lavaux and protected from extinction by an association of local wine growers, the Plant Robert grape produces dark, aromatic wines with fruity notes and a hint of spice.

Quattromani

Gialdi, Brivio, Delea, Tamborini Ticino Vino Rosso 2013, $57

• Merlot grapes, fermented in oak barrels for 16 months, are the key to the intensity of this complex multiessence wine, created by four collaborating Ticino producers. Notes range from ripe berries to cloves to chocolate.


United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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