Structured Wine - United Hub
Rhapsody

Structured wine

By The Hub team

Story by Natasha Mekhail | Rhapsody, May 2018

The windswept hills of La Rioja, in northern Spain, have been home to grape cultivation for over 1,000 years. While historic bodegas abound, the 21st century has seen a new generation of vintners recruiting top designers to build their wineries, and now the architecture may be stealing the show, with tour operators like Butterfield & Robinson, The Unique Traveller, and Rioja Wine Trips basing whole itineraries around it. Read on for four of the most spectacular examples of La Rioja's new wave of design—delivered with appropriate pairings.

Ysios

The inside of Ysios winery

With its slatted, seemingly pixelated roof, Ysios looks like a building out of Minecraft, but world-famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava had something more organic in mind for the undulating structure of his first and only winery: an abstract representation of the vineyard's backdrop, the Sierra de Cantabria mountains. The cedar-clad building, completed in 2001, also mimics the patina of wine casks, and an external water feature mirrors its curves, creating the illusion of a row of barrels. Inside, the vaulted ceilings (with windows to match) read more like a temple than a tasting room.

Ysios Chillida wine bottle

Pairing: The Ysios Chillida, a tempranillo that's dedicated to another of Spain's Modernists, the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida.

Marqués de Riscal

Outside view of the Marques de Riscal winery.

The owners of this 150-plus-year-old producer took the Bilbao approach, commissioning starchitect Frank Gehry to design their winery hotel, which was completed in 2006. The roof cascades like ribbon in shades of iridescent and silver titanium, and there's no denying the wow factor at the first sight of it skimming the vine-swathed hills. Take in the views while enjoying a multicourse tasting menu on the shaded terrace of the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, then indulge in a Caudalie Vinothérapie spa treatment like Pulp Friction, a sculpting massage that uses fresh grapes.

Bottle of the Frank Gehry Selection 2012

Pairing: Double down on the experience with the Frank Gehry Selection 2012. The tempranillo's velvety mouthfeel sweeps the palate like one of its namesake's designs.

Baigorri

The glass-and-steel reception hall of Baigorri winery

The glass-and-steel reception hall of this winery, designed by Basque architect Iñaki Aspiazu and completed in 2003, resembles a futuristic Japanese teahouse—in sharp contrast with the neighboring medieval stone hamlet of Samaniego. But the visible structure is just the tip of this oenological iceberg: The winery descends seven stories below ground, allowing for an ultra-efficient, gravity-fed processing line. Reach the winery restaurant, which has a dramatic arched-concrete ceiling, by crossing a wooden footbridge over the barrel cellar.

Bottle of the B70 2011 wine

Pairing: The B70 2011 shows the depth of Baigorri's technical artistry: Each grape is hand-selected from single-source tempranillo vines planted in 1942.

Finca de los Arandinos

The inside of Finca de los Arandinos, the winery hotel

This winery hotel, which opened in 2011, enlisted Spain's late enfant terrible of fashion, David Delfín, to imagine its common areas and guest rooms. Delfín fulfilled the auteur-designer mandate by hand-lettering each room number, placing tile welcome mats in front of every door, and papering the hallway in a bold floral print, but that's where normalcy ends: Inside the rooms, mobile panels conceal the minibar, desk, and bathroom. (Staffers often have to point these out to baffled guests.) Delfín also refused to cover over the spackling. Even now, the restaurant's ceiling looks defiantly like a construction site.

Bottle of the + Mejor 2015 wine

Pairing: The + Mejor 2015 is a rosé that's as bright and challenging as Delfín's designs.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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