Germany puts focus on wine: and it's damned good, Fairmont Hotels expansion
I'm an enthusiastic wine guy, but I can't say that I've ever walked into an LCBO in the 30 years I've been in Toronto and purchased a bottle of German wine. Not once.
I like a good Riesling, and I'm sure I've had some good German varieties. But I've tended to buy Ontario riesling, or something from the Alsace region of France, when the need arises.
That could change after a Germany-Lufthansa event at Sassafraz restaurant on Wednesday night. I'd never seen the variety before, but they served a soft, juicy Pinot Noir made near Baden, Germany, from a winery called Konigschauffhausen. Wow; really, really nice. I would've sworn it was from New Zealand, it was that round and fruity and deeply-coloured.
I'm told wine production began in Germany in 800 B.C. and that there are some 80,000 vintners, which is a lot. They grow some 140 types of wine, although riesling is king. Apparently, some 60 per cent of the world's Riesling comes from Germany.
But they're also the third largest Pinot Noir producer, after France and the U.S. I would've thought maybe New Zealand, but the wineries there are pretty small, while Germany is an enormous country with tons of vineyards.
Anyway, it's always nice to learn something new. So thanks, guys.
While we're on the subject of Germany, things are going quite well for them economically these days. Tourism remains a huge industry, of course, and they'll be celebrating with all kinds of wine festivals from May to October of next year.
Lufthansa has added three direct flights each week in winter from Toronto to Dusseldorf, so folks can avoid Frankfurt if they so wish. MInd you, Frankfurt is getting a major expansion and a facelift, I was told.
Lufthansa also is bringing back first class seats on the Toronto-Frankfurt route, and spending a huge amount of money - $2 billion I was told - on upgrades to their planes.
FAIRMONT EXPANDING AROUND THE GLOBE
They sent out a note on Thursday to say that In March, 2012, they'll open a new property in the Pink City of Jaipur, India (see photo at right). It's their first property in India; a major growth area for many hotel chains.
"Offering 199 spacious and luxurious guestrooms, nine 1- and 2-bedroom villas as well as a Presidential Suite, the hotel’s atmosphere will reflect the unique character of the region, while also capturing the air of a modern day palace," officials said. "Guestrooms will include over-sized bathrooms with soaker tubs, state-of-the-art Bose sound systems and 40” flat panel televisions."
Also on the way for 2012 are hotels in Kyiv, Ukraine and Baku, Azerbaijan, as well as Makati, The Philippines and, last but not least, the Fairmont Palm Jumeriah on Palm Island in Dubai.
"Looking beyond 2012, Fairmont is also working on a number of exciting hotel development projects in markets like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Fujairah, and China and remains focused on international expansion with brand growth targeted for key markets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa," officials said.