The Holy Grail- A Cup of Preservative and Additive Free Wine

The Search for Authentic Food and Drink

In today’s world it’s common to find many people eating and drinking things that, with a little investigation, they might not consume due to the very artificial nature of what they’re putting into their bodies.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about what’s in fast food: chemicals, sawdust, and plenty of worse things beyond that, which are bad for our health.

Maybe like many people, you’ve turned to organic foods, or healthier, more conscious eating in order to combat the presence of artificial foodstuffs in your life. You’ll enjoy a nice wild salmon, topped with some home-grown herbs from your vegetable garden, perhaps accompanied by a carrot and potato medley you picked up at the local farmer’s market, and think to yourself: everything I’m eating is real.

But there is one surprising area that you may not consider in your quest to eat healthier, more authentic foods: your wineglass.

Chemicals and Additives In Wine?

That’s right. While we all know that soft drinks, sports drinks, and many commercially produced juices can contain chemicals (unless advertised or labelled otherwise), many of us do not think twice about what type of wine we’re drinking, especially if it’s a high-end wine.

But did you know that there are actually a lot of potential additives in your wine, which are usually part of the winemaking process?

Sulfites

Sulfites (technically known as sulfur dioxide) are a preservative that is not only used in winemaking, but in several areas of the food industry (such as dried fruit). While it has not been proven with research, some people report that sulfites give them post-wine headaches or adverse reactions, and indeed, a small segment of the population is actually allergic to sulfites. Some winemakers also produce organic wine without sulfites.

Yeast

Yeast can assist in providing a great variety in the taste of wine. Some winemakers are happy to benefit from the extant yeast on their equipment, while others proactively insert a yeast cocktail into the mix. One of the main functions of this microbial organism is to assist in turning sugar into alcohol.

Tannin

Tannin is what provides wine with the bitter taste (however strong or weak that may be in your particular favourite bottle). It can be found naturally in the grapes themselves, in the skin, but tannin may also come from the oak wood barrels in which the wine is aged. Some winemakers will even add oak chips into their wine to effuse extra tannin into their product.

Sugar

Sugar can be added to wine in order to make it stronger, since, in the process of its fermentation, the sugar becomes alcohol. This does not make the wine sweeter since the sugar is consumed in the process, but the adding of sugar to the winemaking process is actually illegal in some places, like California, Argentina, Australia, Southern France, and South Africa.

Other Chemicals

So far, many of the additives have seemed reasonable, haven’t they? Yeast, tannin, sugar, and sulfites may be additives, but at least they are natural, and in fact, some of them even originate within the grape itself.

However, during the winemaking process, there is a whole additional category of additives that are more chemical in nature, inserted for the purpose of manipulating the wine towards a particular result, such as maintaining its freshness, colour, or uniformity of flavour.

Copper sulfate can be added to remove additional sulfur, and eliminate aspects of the taste that the bottler does not want to have in the wine. The taste and longevity of wine are affected by the pH, so if it is too acidic, calcium carbonate (also known as chalk) will balance out the pH to a desirable number. If the wine is not acidic enough, tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid could be added into the winemaking process or any blend of those acids.

Other additives include acetaldehyde, which is used to stabilize the colour of the wine. Dimethyl dicarbonates (DMDC) are used to sterilize and to stabilize wine as well. While it has been approved in the United States, European Union, and Australia, DMDC is actually poisonous within the first hour it’s added into the wine, but thankfully it breaks down within a half-hour.

Can I Find Additive-Free Wine?

So there you have it. Wine may not be labelled as such, but during the process, there can be plenty of additives that participate in the winemaking process. Some of these chemicals have been reported to provide adverse reactions in wine drinkers, such as headaches, nausea, congestion, or more severe allergic reactions. Even if you don’t have a sensitive palate, you may find yourself preferring wine that is purely natural, or as pure it as it can be without unnecessary additives.

Thankfully, there are some good wines out there that can answer the call to your search for preservative free wine.

We picked two (out of many), one white, to go with your fish or chicken, and the other red, to go with your red meat. Although, if you’re vegan, you’ll just be happy to choose either one of these organic wines, grown in the tradition of sustainable wine-making.

Badger Mountain Riesling

Grown, cultured, and bottled in the Columbia Valley Region of Washington State, Badger Mountain Winery is the playground of winemakers Greg Powers and Jose Mendoza, who proudly crafts wine with no sulfites added, each with “a distinct heady balance of fruit, floral, spice, and earth.” They have a variety of wines (Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and others), and each bottle carries the official USDA Organic Logo.
The central focus of their winemaking process is fresh flavour and pure fruit. “I want to keep the wine as close to the vine as possible,” Powers writes. Much of their wine is also aged in stainless tanks, to avoid the addition of tannins.

Vegan Vine Red Wine

This winery is a family owned operation in San Martin, California. Owners Bill and Brenda Murphy are committed to environmentally sound, sustainable growth, and their vineyard is certified through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The Vegan Vine started when a family member of the owner was curious to see if there was a brand of wine that could meet the needs of his animal-free diet since many wines do utilize the chemical properties of animal products (eggs, milk, and even fish stomach. ) Vegan Vine is perfect for anyone who is vegan or wants to make sure that there are no animal-related additives in their wine. Like many wineries in California, they are also involved in building healthy soil, recycling natural resources, and even enhancing the surrounding wildlife habitats.

Sip and Enjoy

In conclusion, there are a lot of additives and potentially many preservatives in many of the wines you may be purchasing, drinking, and enjoying. But the good news is that if you’re looking for a preservative-free wine, there are plenty of great options out there. Many wineries also have websites where you can view their certifications and read about their sustainable, organic, preservative-free philosophy.

Cheers!

The Adventure of Travelling Alone 

Travelling solo is a growing trend among modern-day youth in particular. The reasons to go it alone can be many, but it is important to be armed with the helpful knowledge that ensures a smooth passage through the trip and safe return. Here are some valuable tips we have collated for solo traveller holidays to work as a confidence booster and guide you through the exercise.

Single supplement

Most hotels and cruise lines assume that two people will always share a room or cabin. But, when you are going it alone and want that room/cabin for yourself, you may be required to pay what is known as a single supplement to make up the loss that the hotel/cruise line suffers. While the details will be known when you make a booking, never be shy to ask how you are being charged.

Choose hotels/other accommodation with several positive ratings

In unfamiliar places, you could perhaps feel more vulnerability. Therefore, before booking an accommodation, spend focused time researching your option and choose only places that have several positive reviews. Always take a balanced view of the reviews and even speak to some of the reviewers if you can to get a close-up picture.

Find places with free Wi-Fi

We are now in the digital age and being connected at all times is important. If your hotel/other accommodation offers free Wi-Fi, you could save a neat little pile of cash by the time you complete your trip. After all, you want to keep in touch with people back at home, share your experience, some photos and videos regularly. If you are using your data package in a far-off location, most packages you have loaded before leaving home would be exhausted in just a few days if you don’t have access to free Wi-Fi.

Pick up a conversation with co-travellers

Picking up a conversation with co-travellers, single or couple/family is a good idea to break your monotony. You can even find locals who are happy to host you, and that could be a huge help, particularly when you are in a different country. Check out Meetup to keep yourself informed of local activities and events in town. This way, you may identify local events and festivals that do not figure in most guidebooks. Every city offers a series of opportunities and being informed of these before arriving there can be a huge help in planning your time.

Use mealtime to relax

You can use your mealtime to unwind. Try picking up some conversation with the bartender or waiter, or merely sit reflecting on your experiences. This is also a good time to plan for the next few hours or even the next day. Remember, you are alone, and there is no one assisting you with planning things out. Remember the importance of free Wi-Fi and try to pick restaurants that offer a free Wi-Fi since that would also help you catch up with your emails and social media or even read a book.

Advantages of travelling solo

  • Enjoy the freedom of doing things that you want to and doing it on your own schedule
  • No arguments with partners/partner
  • More freedom chatting with locals or other tourists
  • You are the master of your time and can, therefore, spend as much time at a place you want irrespective of what others feel
  • You can determine your itinerary
  • Go around places by night and sleep during the day if you choose to
  • Ability to change your itinerary
  • Ability to determine where and what to eat
  • Grow in confidence meeting new people, learning a few words from several languages, discovering mass transit systems in highly developed cities, make mistakes going in the wrong direction, get help to correct the error and head towards the right place, and gain rich experience in the process.

Disadvantages of travelling solo

  • You may have to drag your luggage along into the bathroom at an airport (no one to keep an eye on)
  • Relatively more expensive
  • Need to keep yourself informed on safety issues
  • Self-conscious in many circumstances, though it can be used to your advantage
  • No one to give company on a chill night
  • Preparing to meet the challenge

With the advent of the digital world, preparing to travel alone has perhaps become a no-brainer. But, you should plan ahead, scour through a plethora of websites, check your social media accounts, start conversations, check back to ensure that information provided by online friends are accurate and make notes. This part of the exercise can be time-consuming unless you are an ardent devotee of freewheeling. Even granting that attitude, you still have to work with your tickets, accommodation, cost comparison, choosing places to eat, what not to do, ways to find help in unknown locations etc.

Concerns about your health

While travelling solo is loaded with a host of advantages, if you have pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, hypertension or coronary issues, you should think twice before embarking on a solo trip. After careful consideration, if you still decide to proceed with your solo trip, you should always keep your medical information and contact information back home, including details of your primary healthcare provider handy so that someone can reach out and provide assistance if you experience a problem while you are still travelling.

Designing your itinerary

Designing your itinerary can be a challenge, particularly when you are travelling alone for the first time. Although you are about to embark on experiencing the world outside and go it alone, never shy away from getting valuable advice from elders, friends and other people with travel experience. The digital world can also be of significant help in providing most of the input you need. But, nothing can match the experience of people who have done some travel alone, or in company with others. The social media is another place you can get valuable help in terms of places to see, things to do, affordable boarding and lodging etc. We have appended some useful resources for you to scour before you draw up your itinerary:-

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/about/solo-travel
https://thewest.com.au/news/guide-single-and-solo-travel-ng-ya-114696
https://www.goway.com/trips/typ/single-friendly/

Top 5 landscape designers in Sydney

Landscape design can be termed as a creatively independent profession. It is based on art tradition and design. Such designers are called landscape designers. Using scaled dimensions, they create visual representations for landscaping. Landscapes include natural as well as man-made elements. The designers try to combine nature and culture in their work. Under contemporary culture, landscape designers try to bring together garden design and landscape-based architecture.
They deal with landscape planning and designing of gardens. They work on outside areas, be it for commercial purposes like for companies or personal use like backyards. For better organisation, the landscape is often divided into two major parts which are hardscape and softscape. Landscape students are familiarized with different concepts so they can better understand how the client views the layout, and how the designer can build on that idea
Landscape design is one of the two major professional roles of design projects. While designing a landscape or a garden, the major factors to be considered are climate, site, groundwater recharge, type of soil, vehicle, and human accessibility to the area among others.
Creating an inspiring landscape can help in the decision-making process of a person. Landscape designing firms build therapeutic commercial landscapes for companies so that their employees can relax and de-stress there. Having a similar relaxing space in the comfort of your home can prove to be very beneficial for your well being. Following are the top five landscape designers in Sydney.

Outhouse Design

modern garden design

 

Outhouse design is a unique and reputable award-winning landscape design consultancy. It has won the National Design Excellence Award by the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers in the year 2016 and 2017.
The first step they take is landscape site consultation where they familiarize themselves with the client’s location and vision for the landscape. The next step is the landscape design concept plan where they click digital pictures of the site and basically collect all the relevant data. Step three consists of perspective illustration drawings where they offer the client to digitally enhance the vision into 3D so the clients have an understanding of what the landscape is to become.The company’s specialty is landscapes and gardens but it also undertakes many other projects like:

  • Landscape, architectural, and educational projects
  • Therapeutic design
  • Residential garden
  • Playhouse

Maintain Me

garden landscape

Maintain Me is a creative landscape design company that has been known for their unique interpretation of garden work. They say no space is too small to create an oasis for your relaxation and enjoyment. They are based in Sydney and opens Monday to Saturday.
This design firm offers a range of outdoor designs as well as in-house designing options. Maintain Me aims towards maximizing the full potential of your space. They also provide cleaning services for your garden maintenance. Their focus is design services primarily, which focus on the following:

    • Premium garden services
    • Express garden services
    • Landscape design
    • Cleaning services

 Bell Landscapes

landscape design

Bell Landscapes is known for its garden design, installation, and maintenance. This firm is based in Sydney. Their main focus is residential homes and boutique commercial spaces. They also specialize in hotels. Bell Landscape claims to be focused, flexible, and professional. They promise to deliver the best results by bringing to reality the idea that the client has in mind.
A consultation with them promises to cover topics from design to implementation and even maintenance of the garden area. Initial consultation with them takes about an hour after which they forward you the free proposal. Their main services are as follows:

      • Garden Design
      • Garden Maintenance

Harrison’s Landscaping

architectural design

Harrison’s Landscaping has established its name well in the past ten years. The company is known for designing and installing gardens and pools. Harrison himself is a fully licensed pool builder. His company employs well over 25 talented individuals that include designers, landscapers, architects, carpenters, and stonemasons among others.
This design firm was one of the Finalists at the Australian Garden Show in 2015. They have been featured in reputed magazines, such as Vogue, Belle, InsideOut, and even TV shows, such as Grand Designs. They have designed landscapes in all parts of Sydney and NSW. Their services are as follows:

          • 3D Rendering
          • Deck Design
          • Drought Tolerant Landscaping
          • Garden design and construction
          • Landscape design
          • Pool designing

Stone Lotus Landscapes

landscape

Stone Lotus Landscapes is a Sydney-based company that specialises in the designing of boutique landscapes and green construction. They are passionate about outdoor living and gardens. The company promises to offer the complete solution to your landscaping problems.
Stone Lotus Landscapes covers everything from consultation to design, construction, and even maintenance. They claim to have developed networks with suppliers and subcontractors, ensuring a result for you that is not only practical and beautiful but also has the minimum amount of fuss. Their primary services are as follows:

          • Landscape design and construction
          • Custom water features
          • Customized fire pits
          • Landscape Construction
          • Site Planning
          • Swimming pool design

Therapeutic Space Is Essential

Having a creative and inspiring landscape can help in the decision-making process of a person. Companies build therapeutic commercial landscapes for their employees so that they can relax and de-stress.
Often, stress from work is overwhelming. It is very harmful to our health especially if the stress is present regularly. Having a secluded space in the office itself can help a person relax and gather his or her thoughts so that they can focus better on the task at hand and divert their attention there.
Having a similar relaxing space in the comfort of your home can prove very beneficial for your well being. People go on holidays on weekends so that they can have a few days where they could relax and take a break.
How amazing would it be if you could take a mini holiday in your backyard? Your personal space that you could design and plan the area with things that you love could prove to be of great value to you and your family’s well being.

Fashion Designers That Use Embroidery

needle and thread for embroidery

From traditional to contemporary, embroidery is definitely making a comeback in the fashion industry. As one of the most popular forms of needlework, embroidery is the art of decorating a fabric using different kinds of ornamental stitches. These days, more and more fashion designers are incorporating the art of embroidery on their collections and here are some of them.

 

 

Asiya Bareeva

Another emerging fashion designer is Asiya Bareeva, who is based in Russia and has a fondness for embroidery. Asiya’s inspiration came from the multiculturalism she found in her country. With the diverse religion in Russia, including Islam and Buddhism, Asiya would design garments that are inspired by the cultural clothing of these religious communities.

Known for designing elegant pieces that feature layers of varying fabrics and prints, her collections often focuses on the combination of neutral colors and incredible embroidery. She is also known for creating beautiful headpieces and jewelry using Japanese polymer clay.

A graduate of a technical university for textiles, Asiya is also praised for using secondhand materials on her designs, which she personally sourced from bazaars and from the old clothing of relatives and friends. Her decision to use secondhand pieces stemmed mainly from an eco-friendly standpoint.

Purvi Doshi

Purvi Doshi is a designer from India, which explains why most of her creations feature intricate embroidery designed pieces. Inspired by her Indian heritage, Purvi created a clothing label of her own name. She has done a fantastic job at creating beautiful garments, which is why the Grazia magazine awarded her with an “Emerging Designer” award.

Purvi is known for using traditional Indian crafting techniques in creating her masterpieces. One of these is known as khadi or hand woven cloths. In fact, she showcased her khadi collection in New York’s Fashion Week last September. The collection consists of colorful clothing pieces that are embellished with intricate embroidery, floral patterns and interesting textures.

Purvi’s collection is well loved not only in India but also all over the world. Both Bollywood celebrities and everyday women in India can be seen wearing her beautiful creations.

Mary Katrantzou

Another designer that has gained popularity for her use of embroidery is Mary Katrantzou, a Greek fashion designer based in London. She has made a name in the world of fashion for her whimsical prints worn by famous celebrities and is now displayed at some of the world’s most exclusive boutiques. Her creations consist mainly of the use of intricate embellishments, crocheting, beading and amazing embroidery.

Born to a family of designers, where her mother was an interior designer and her father a textile engineer, Mary’s passion for prints started at an early age. She has trained with an architect in the US before she transferred to the Central Saint Martins in London, where she graduated with a master’s degree in textiles. Because of her amazing work in the world of fashion, Mary has been given several awards and she bagged the most prestigious Vogue Designer Fashion Fund last 2015.

Mary’s beautiful and colorful creations are much loved by famous celebrities in Hollywood. Among them are Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Jessica Alba and Elizabeth Banks.

Vita Kin

Vita Kin is another fashion designer who has been credited for her colorful and carefully embroidered designs. Vita hails from Ukraine, and her inspiration stems from her homeland’s traditionally embroidered garments known as the vyshyvanka.
Her garment collections are all about exorbitantly decorated peasant blouses and voluminous dresses that were loved by celebrities and famous personalities from around the world.

Vita’s collections are all lovely and have a surprisingly luxurious feel to them. Each piece is carefully hand woven and embroidered to perfection that some designs will even take months to be completed. Hand woven from Vita’s studio in Kiev, a Vita Kin cape could take three weeks to be completed, which consist of more than a hundred meters of hand sewn decorative cords.

Because of her impressive work, she is slowly becoming an international sensation. In fact, there was a time when the demand for her garment collection has skyrocketed that she has to halt personal orders in order to keep up.

JJ Valaya

Known as the Monarch of Indian Fashion, JJ Valaya is a popular Indian fashion couturier and designer. He is widely praised for his distinctive fashion trends, which exude opulence, royalty and pre-independence charm. He has reached the peak of success with his flawless creations that invokes the real essence of Indian culture, as evident on his use of exquisite embroidery and rich fabrics.

JJ Valaya is also known for his passion for mixing fabrics and putting together two different materials to create something surreal and extravagant. Being the trendsetter in the industry of fashion in India, the designer has employed more than 250 embroiderers and craftsmen who work closely with him.

The signature style of JJ Valaya is truly a genius, and his interesting mix of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary couture has made his handiwork to become a worldwide sensation. His collections have been worn by some of the most notable celebrities in Bollywood such as Kangana Ranaut, one of the highest paid actresses in India.