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.

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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