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Entries in portugal (4)

Sunday
Dec032017

Destination Portugal 

I fell in love with Portugal nearly a decade ago and since then have made many trips back to enjoy everything thats wonderful about one of my favourite countries in the world.

I had been to Lisbon many times and explored all around the city. I wrote about some of that trip here  and some  wine visits North of Lisbon Here 

 

 

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But I had never had time to explore around the prettiest coastal towns north west  of the city like Estoril and Cascais.

Enter Susanna Tocca owner of Doc Dmc events company and winelands.pt  a wine tours company  who invited me to come and present the wines at the Piano Riserva Scarlatti soiree with pianist Pnina Becher from the US in Estoril this November. Combining the wines and the music with dinner in such a beautiful setting as the fivestar palacio Estoril.

 

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Susanna Tocca organises corporate events such as these regularly in Portugal and also Conferences in this area. 

 

 

After the event we spent the day going up to Cabo da Roca the most westerly point in Europe and Sintra, and I fell in love this beautiful and wild area of Portugal which offers so much in the way of healthy lifestyles and delicious seafood and wine. 

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Driving Along this stretch of coast one sees people sailing, surfing, walking, biking, hiking, motorbiking and enjoying the magnicient scenery. Its breathtaking and so affordable to stop for lunch and those great wines. We stopped for lunch on the coast near Sintra town at the  Azenhas do Mar Piscinas resturant where we had an excellent seafood lunch with the waves crashing into the tital pools beneath us. It was November but the weather was mild and the sun warmed us as we relaxed, ate and drank our wine. 

 

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 Portugal's brand should be its people.  The Portuguese people are so  hospitable and always happy to share their beautiful country with you.

If youre planning a trip to Europe, put Portugal on the itinerary and don't miss the opportunity to see some amazing places, food, wine and culture take a look at these trips and experiences you can book with winelands Portugal.

 

 See you in Portugal!

Donna 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Apr202017

Transition to an independent lifestyle, working and living abroad

Ever dream of leaving behind your mundane life, the job that you hate, the dreaded commute, and to live somewhere else? A destination you have dreamed of?

 

 

 

 

Transitions

What do you fear?

A change of culture?

Learning a new language?

Can you afford it?

What about medical?

What about pension?

What about your partner who thinks you cant afford to move.

What about your house?

Finding a job or a means of supporting yourself?

 

In the next few weeks we will be exploring all these areas, and getting your feedback and the opinions of those who have lived abroad happliy, and the solutions they created to the challenges.

 

Now if you are single, its easy, load up the money in your credit card, pack the suitcase, wizz off and face the music later. Right?

If you are married or have a partner there are two people who must quit their jobs, to start again, so more negotiations, more tension, more challenges, but it could bring a while new lease on life for you both, plus you have a team.

 

 

my friend Christine Gilbert who guest blogged on wisequeen when I started it, and wrote with me on b5media, has been travelling nonstop with her husband for 6 years now  they had their baby along the way, are expecting a second one  and are now making a documentary and they funded it all online  find them at  almostfearless.com

 

If you have children who need educating the decisions become more challenging and require longer term planning but it's not impossible, we will be talking to those who have done it with kids.

This amazing couple from Argentina have been travelling for the past decade, and their epic story is a testament to what humans can do. they have covered every continent in their old 1920s car, had four children along the way and had the most amazing story to tell published in Spanish and English. Sparkyourdream.com is their blog.

 

 

What would be the deal-breaker for you to live  for a few years in a country or countries you've always wanted to explore?

I never thought I would be forty plus living in a different culture, and speaking a whole new language, it has opened up an entire new world to me, there have been rough spots and challenges I never thought I would overcome. I've dealt with culture-shock, isolation, home-sickness, being broke, being a published author, being a traveller on a new continent as a local, being an adventurer, being successful, being ill, being married, being single, living between four countries.  meeting amazing people some of whom became  my mentors....

 

All of it has refined me, and yet not defined me, it has made me stronger and wiser.

The deal for me is I doubt I could have done it for 12 years without the internet.

Can you really be location independent? The answer, yes. Let's explore how.

Sign up to the blog so you can be part of this adventure and become independent.

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Jun112011

Amorim 140 years and the story of cork 

On a recent visit to Lisbon Portugal for Vinocamp Lisbon, I was fortunate enough once again to be included in a trip organised by Amorim, this time  to watch cork being harvested from the forest near Alentejo, and then to visit the factory to watch the entire process from when the bark is stripped from the trees, hand-sorted and expertly trimmed by men with knives in the factory, right down to that branded cork that we take out of the bottle without much thought - something I will never do again, I now have great respect for the journey

 

 

 

 

So twenty or so of us Winos from around Europe, set out early one morning from Lisbon with Carlos and Joana our hosts on a bus that had gathered us up from our hotels and  so we were soon heading for the countryside. After watching a facinating cork harvest, something that will stay with me forever, we drove further on down dust roads to a lovely picnic spread for us under the trees at a lake. The fantastic spread was in true Portugese style, we feasted like Royalty  and enjoyed the fabulous Quinta Nova wine * my  video review on Quinta Nova Wine with Rui Paula here ,  that is part of the Amorim stable. This year Amorim celebrated 140 years in cork.

 

 

 

What I learned about Cork

 

THE STORY OF CORK

 

Cork is a renewable commodity that is havested from evergreen Oak trees. 

The cork oak   in Latin ..   Quercus  (oak)  Suber (cork)  

 The first stripping occurs when the tree is between 15 and 20 years of age.

Subsequent yields follow at 8 to 10 year intervals.

 The world's cork oak forests are concentrated in Southern Europe; Portugal, Spain, Italy & France, which accounts for 67% of the cork oak production. North Africa has the remaining 33%.

The total land surface occupied by this oak is 2.2 million hectares (5.434 million acres) of which Portugal and Spain represent 56%.


The industry employs more than 15,000 workers in factories and commercial departments!

The industry also employes 10,000 seasonal workers for the cork harvest and the maintenance of the oak forests.

The sale of cork and cork products by producers, to the European and United States market, exceeds $1.5 Billion U.S. Dollars annually.

Of this value, the cork stopper is $1.1 Billion U.S. Dollars.

 The sale of agglomerated cork, cork flooring, and other related products approx $400 million U.S. Dollars.

 

 

Media Release: 3 March 2011
AMORIM ACHIEVES WINE CORK SALES RECORD 
Amorim, the world’s leading cork producer, has announced record annual 
sales, with more than 3 billion wine stoppers sold in 2010.
The outstanding sales volume figure was included in the company’s 2010 
financial results released last week.
Amorim’s Cork Stoppers Business Unit — the company’s core business —
posted a sales volume increase of 13.8 per cent, further consolidating its 
position as the world’s largest supplier of wine stoppers.

 

 

 

So back to Amorim in  Portugal and this particular cork Harvest.

Who does the harvesting?

The same familes that have worked for generations in this highly skilled field.

It is seasonal work, and more than one of our party  (myself included were comtemplating doing this job which pays well ) . We quickly realised that climbing tees while deftly cutting the bark free for it to fall to the soft earth below without scaring or cutting the tree, is not so easy.

So we watched and filmed and listened to Carlos and Joana in rapt attention and learned a lot.

What happens to the tree once the cork is stripped?

It is marked with a number  and left for another 9 years to grow new cork.

It's a renewable resource

 

Does the cork being stripped harm the tree

It's a bit like removing  the hard skin on your feet it will leave your feet exposed and tender for awhile, and then re-grow to protect you.

 

What about the alternatives to cork like plastic  and screw caps are they not more sustainable?

Well this is along going debate. I personally prefer cork and always will, because its part of the tradition of wine, its more romantic, does a real good job of protecting the wine, and may even impart something to the wine, and with recent improvements in technology will go on doing its job for centuries to come as a renewable resource.

 

TAKE PART IN THE DEBATE HERE LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW ON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT CORK, GOOD BAD? 

 

 

What else is cork used for?

Cork has amazing properties and has been used for centuries in so many applications. Today cork is used for insulation, flooring, shoes, handbags, fashion garments, and to manufacture so many other products.

 

Is Amorim a stakeholder in the sustainabilty issue?

Very much so, and  as I discussed with CEO Antonio at the factory, they take the future of cork and its protection very seriously, they also employ thousands of people across the worldin this labour intensive manual work, in all their international and  regional facilites. They are also constantly improving their facilities. Every tiny piece of the cork is used  even the cork dust which is burned to fuel the factory. Water used in the factory is also recycled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read all about it.

 

 

 

 

I will continue bring you stories about cork and its amazing qualities

Please leave a comment or question  if you wish.

Donna Jackson

 

 

Thursday
Mar102011

Making wine in Portugal 

 

 

 

here the winery of Anas family, if you want to visit.

 

 

This is what Gary Vaynerchuk said about the wine from this family!  Watch

 

 BIG C

 

 

Ill be loading Winemaker interviews all this month.

Donna Jackson.

 

 

 

 

Changing the wine world one wine at a time.