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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Holidays are over

The beginning of February heralded the start of the new school term with almost everyone going back to work. The holidays lounging at the beach or hiking in the mountains are over and what better way to ease yourself back into the work routine by starting to plan your winter getaway?!

Economy in favour of traveling

Looking at the local business news might make one depressed about the kiwi dollar’s behaviour on the international market. But for those planning an overseas holiday it is great news. With the current rate it is cheaper to go to the northern hemisphere than it has been for quite some time. Add to that the falling oil price and some drops in ticket prices on top of the favourable exchange rate and suddenly going to Europe is not such an impossible feat to plan.Allgaeuer_Alpen_Panorama_1

Early birds benefit

One aspect hasn’t changed, the earlier one books the flights the bigger the savings. A survey found the biggest savings for international flights were achieved around 200 days in advance. That’s roughly six to seven months! Time to get surfing on the internet. A range of online search engines like Expedia and skyscanner for example can give you a good idea of what’s available at the moment. Or check out the airlines directly.

Germany beckons

906__140619_0007214_loNew Zealand is very attractive to German expats and as they come and make it their new home, they bring their food culture with them. Nowadays you’ll be able to taste some of the traditional foods at farmers markets and supermarkets. Not to mention the range of beers and cakes. But one thing you won’t be able to get a taste of at the supermarket is the land- and cityscapes of Germany. The unique combination of millennia old history and modern lifestyle needs to be experienced in person to be believed. Why don’t you browse through our blog and get an inkling what it would be like in real life.

Advantage of experience

Reichstag at nightWe take a lot of pride in organising our tours around Germany down to the last detail and giving you an experience to treasure for a long time afterwards. Customer satisfaction is our priority and we’re flexible enough to accommodate individual preferences. Sidetracks has been in the business for a considerable time during which we have gained insight and contacts that do not directly relate to our tours, but can be of benefit for our customers. Send us a note, give us a call and let us help you make the most of your time in Germany and Europe.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

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Germany’s traditional wines under threat

On our Rhine and Romans tour  you have a chance to see some of Germany’s oldest wine growing areas located on some of the world’s steepest slopes. These vineyards are in danger of being abandoned due to the hard manual labour and their maintenance costs. While one hectare on flat ground requires around 180 hours of labour, the equivalent slope hectare requires up to 1500 hours AND abseiling knowledge. Since 1970 the area of commercially used vineyards on “true” slopes (> 60% incline) has decreased from 12,000 hectares down to less than 8,000 hectares. The costs will be even harder to justify once the European Union stops the restrictions on the size of wine growing areas for each country. Each country will be able to increase its area by one percent per year, which will create more competition for the already pricey specialty wines.

Romantic views succumb to wilderness

But this is not just a problem for the wine growing industry, the tourism industry would suffer heavily as well. As readers of our tour blogs might remember, the Moselle and Rhine region are particularly picturesque and on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The description mentions “…the vineyard terraces that define this prosperous and picturesque stretch of the Rhine valley and encompass all the key views that influenced writers and artists.”

Traditional wine makers given a helping hand with modern technology

So, for the past ten years a dedicated team of researchers and technicians of the Geisenheim University have been working on a solution: “Geisi”. Looking like a cross between Fred Flintstone’s family car and NASA’s Mars rover the prototype has been making its way around some of the steeper slopes (>80%) and trying it’s “hands” at viticulture. Even though its current size is not quite right yet for the old fashioned narrow rows of the vineyards, the team is confident that the next model will be a bit skinnier and still be able to do all the necessary jobs of pruning and harvesting.Geisi03_1023

Market potential

At a recent trade show in Stuttgart they could have sold at least 10 models already, which is encouraging for the developers.  But, they’re not just working on a mechanical help for these vineyards, they are also developing new growing strategies, which would reduce the necessary labour and still produce good to excellent quality wines. One of these strategies comes from Australia and has already produced interesting results: smaller grapes, but less loss from mould damage. And the bottled wine, a tangy dry Riesling “Kauber Rauschely”, will be evaluated by the concerned and interested vineyard owners. Nothing proves a point like a perfect product.

On that note, Prost!

 

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

 

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