Wine Reviews

China now has more vineyard land than France, wine body says

By Tue, Apr 28, 2015 5:08PM UTC

PARIS (AP) — China now boasts more land dedicated to wine-making vineyards than France, but France has beaten out Italy to regain the title of world’s No. 1 wine producer.

How education is driving China’s unquenchable thirst for wine

By Fri, Jan 17, 2014 12:43PM UTC

New research shows that China will drive global wine consumption in the coming years as it becomes the fastest-growing market in the world. This thirst for wine is matched – and driven – by an increasing thirst for wine knowledge, with a mix of programs offered by wineries, distributors, consultants and universities educating potential consumers about the wines of the world.

Thailand: Exciting wine lists, better drinking

By Mon, Aug 26, 2013 1:31PM UTC

As the Thai hospitality industry enters the second year of the  Wine List of the Year competition, a review of the first year traces some interesting outcomes. Famed as one of the most penalising countries of Asia in its beverage taxation, it was time to raise the quality bar at

Natalie Brown’s onboard life

By Thu, Mar 14, 2013 6:03AM UTC

Natalie Brown studied Hotel, Food and Beverage Management at The International Hotel School (IHS) and graduated in 2010. At the age of 24, this Durban girl has visited over 150 countries while working on a cruise ship. Natalie shares her insight into Seabourn life…

What have you learnt since leaving IHS?

To an extent, the foundation was definitely laid during my studies – the basic knowledge and understanding. Every operation runs differently and I have had to learn how to apply the knowledge I have and adapt it to different systems and procedures. I have also learnt that no matter how much paperwork you have behind your name in this industry, your experience speaks volumes for you, which is what I’m focusing on now.

What is it like to travel and see the world?

AMAZING!!! Arriving at my first destination, I was such a tourist, taking photos of everything. We were in the Caribbean, on one of the exclusive beaches where the guests have a beach BBQ. The smell of food cooking, sunshine and drinking out of coconuts while sitting in the warm ocean was one of the best days I have had while I have been onboard.

You don’t realise just how much the world has to offer until you set foot on beaches like Bora Bora or walk the streets of Hong Kong, spend an overnight along the wharf in Australia, and see sunsets in Turkey. I have a few favourites: New Zealand, Bora Bora, Cadiz in Spain, and Barcelona. Sometimes you are on the same itinerary for a few months which can be limiting but then again, you become like a local in the ports that you stop at and get to know the ins and outs of the city.

Is the work quite challenging?

It is a tough adjustment in the beginning. You’re on your own, and you have to learn to sink or swim in a very short space of time. The demands of the guests and maintaining a constant standard of service can be challenging. When you’re at home and land based, work is work and you leave home behind you, but on the ship, both are so closely entwined that you have to learn to leave your emotions in your cabin and focus at work because it is very easy to bring those feelings to the office.

Every department has their own definition of hard and demanding but it is equally as tiring. In housekeeping, it is physically tiring and you work against the clock to get finished. As an Assistant, it was a combination of mentally challenging and physical because you’re still expected to be on the floor. In Guest Services I have found that it is mentally and emotionally stressful. You have the phones going, e-mails coming in and out, your normal routine admin to take care of as well as upset guests venting at you because we’re normally the first point of contact for them when they want to make a complaint.

You have time to relax between your shifts and after work in the evenings. The crew activities keep you busy as well, and the ship does try and keep the crew entertained after work in the evenings.

How easy was it to make friends?

If you’re open minded and accept that different people will have different ways of living and working, then it is very easy to get along. You need to adjust, but it’s the mixture nationalities that makes the ‘ship life’ that much more fun!

The travelling is definitely a high point but the people you work with and meet are very special. You become like a family onboard, you laugh together, cry together and share memories with each other that will always be treasured. Your crew members make the majority of your contract fun, going ashore together and the friendships you make all the hard work so worth it.

What do people need to know when considering cruise ship work?

Be ready to leave at the drop of a hat the first time you get called to join the ship. Buy the most comfortable shoes you can find and don’t worry too much about the price. No amount of pain or blisters is worth a cheap pair of shoes! Pack lightly because you are going to double your wardrobe onboard.

Be prepared to work long hours and to be on your feet for a large amount of your day. The hard work you put in does pay off and there will be days when you wonder why you’re in this industry but the fulfillment of the guest satisfaction wins every time.

You need a lot of patience, perseverance, and be prepared to work hard to go above and beyond the guest’s expectations. You will also need to be flexible and remember that while you get to travel, you’re here to work and that might mean sacrificing shore time. Being willing to learn is important and even when you make mistakes, realise that it will only help you better yourself in the future.

What does the future hold for you?

Hopefully I will have some stripes on my shoulders before I leave the ships. I would like to become a Crew Purser but that does take a few years to climb the ladder. I would like to be part of a chain of hotels or cruise liners in the future and run the operations side of things and still get to travel to the different properties or ships. I think it would be my dream to work for myself and have my own name on the entrance door.

What’s the best advice you can give?

Live for today, don’t worry about the things that have happened and you cannot change – live and learn. Make every experience count. In front of every door of opportunity is someone that has helped make that door easier to open – don’t forget who they are because when you are successful and where you want to be in life, they were the ones that helped you get to where you are.

MBA class raises $10K for Right To Play with a little help from Olympic Hurdler Perdita Felicien

By Fri, Feb 15, 2013 4:30PM UTC

Olympic hurdler and Right To Play Ambassador Perdita Felicien was the keynote speaker at the Gala

Feb. 14, 2013 – Kingston Teamwork and return on investment are concepts Queen’s full-time MBA students understand all too well. When the Class of 2013 was looking for a charity to support, they employed some of the tools they’ve learned in the program to select Right To Play as its charity of choice.

“Right To Play was a great fit,” explains Mitch Gudgeon, the initiative’s head chair. “Its focus on teamwork, sports and play aligns with the Queen’s MBA team-based approach. We understand the benefits and values children learn when they’re put in an environment that facilitates play. We were also impressed with Right To Play’s low administration costs (15% versus up to 60% compared to other charities).”

With the due diligence phase complete, a 17-member organizing committee kicked into action. First up was a combo Kingston Frontenacs hockey game and disco skating night at the K-Rock Centre on Feb. 1. The event raised $1,200 (thanks to the Frontenacs’ contribution of half of each ticket’s price) and brought out 120 students, faculty and staff. By exercising their finely honed organizational, marketing and communications skills, the committee pulled out all the stops for the Gala held on Feb. 9 at the Ambassador Conference Resort Hotel. Keynote speaker Perdita Felicien, a member of Canada’s Olympic track and field team, gave a powerful speech that brought the crowd of 130 to their feet. “Your darkest hour does not define you: Rebuild!” and “Surround yourself with excellence” were just two of her inspirational messages.

A silent auction comprised of items donated by members of the QSB and local Kingston community raised nearly $2,000, bringing the overall total to $10,000 to benefit Right To Play. Sponsors and donors included Continental Corp, Molson Canadian, Gananoque Brewing Co., Pelee Island Winery and Vineland Estate Winery.

“This was a tremendous experience for all who got involved,” says co-chair Lindsey Lachance. “We learned a lot in the process, but the most important outcome will be helping spread the joy of play and the many values that come with it to children around the world.”

“We’re hoping that next year’s class will pick up the baton and run with this so that our philanthropic initiative will become a legacy project that makes a difference for years to come,” says co-chair David Sinkinson.








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