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5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Wine Lovers

For those who like to swirl, sniff, and sip their way around the world, a tour of one of the world’s great wine destinations can be a dream vacation. Staying at a winery is a fantastic experience and many vineyard restaurants around the world offer fresh, farm-to-table style dining, prepared by expert chefs in breathtaking locations. While some of these locations can be outrageously expensive, there are wonderful international wine destinations that you can experience on a budget. (See also: 7 No-Fuss U.S. Wine Destinations)

1. Salta, Argentina

While Argentina’s Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, both near Mendoza, are world renowned, they can be pricey. Farther north, the wine region around Cafayate in Salta province offers great value for wine lovers.

Among the 10,000 acres dedicated to vineyards, some wineries (bodegas) offer free tours and tastings. But you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a rental car or private driver to take you out to wineries, because there are plenty right in the town of Cafayate. This means that you can walk from tasting to tasting without having to get behind the wheel. Any trip should also include a visit to a fantastic wine bar in town called Bad Brothers Wine Experience, which has affordable tapas and wines.

If you do choose to head out to some of the nearby vineyards, I recommend visiting Piattelli Vineyards, which is about a five-minute drive from Cafayate town. When I was there in 2017, tours started at 100 Argentine pesos, or about $6.50. Another favorite is Bodega El Esteco, where a tasting was 155 Argentine pesos, or $10 during my visit. This bodega also has a fabulous hotel called Patios de Cafayate, where you can stay in a historic building right on the vineyard — a truly memorable experience for those who love all things wine.

2. The Okanagan Valley, Canada

You may not have considered visiting your neighbor to the north for an excellent glass of wine, but British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is famous for producing tasty merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay. Thanks to the strong U.S. dollar, travel within this region and other parts of Canada is cheaper than it has been in previous years.

Vineyards in the region are set along the breathtaking, 84-mile long Okanagan Lake, and many of the restaurants at the wineries have beautiful views over the water.

The best way to visit the wineries is to get a group of people together and share the cost of a private vehicle. You can rent a 10-passenger stretch limousine for $79 an hour and take it on a self-guided wine tour. You can usually visit three to four wineries in a five-hour half-day tour that would cost $395. If you split the cost among 10 people, your transport would cost less than $40 a person.

But it’s not always easy to get together 10 friends when you’re traveling, so you can also book affordable wine tours starting at $90 per person. Another option is to rent a car in Kelowna, the main town in the region, for around $25 a day, and drive yourself out to the wineries. Just make sure you don’t overdo it on the tastings!

Whether you go in a limo or in a rental car, you can cut costs by visiting wineries that offer low-cost tours and tastings, usually running $2–$7. Often these fees are waived with the purchase of…

Microsoft is helping restaurants cook up their own bots

Microsoft has launched a service for businesses to quickly and easily create a FAQ bot customers can chat with inside Bing search results.

The Bing Business Bot service begins by asking a business owner a series of basic questions about their business, like where parking is, how to make reservations, and handicap accessibility details. The service then creates a bot that draws on your answers as well as Bing Places business listing data.

If the bot doesn’t know the answer to a question, it will reach out to the restaurant owner — and remember the answer to the question for future customers.

The simple creation of a bot based on Bing Places information provides businesses with a less technical way to enhance…

How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire

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For many of us, earning enough airline miles for that free trip can take a while. Sometimes using a co-branded airline credit card can help speed things up. But while we’re waiting to collect enough, we might risk losing what we’ve already earned. While each frequent flyer program has its own set of rules, most will erase your miles if you don’t use them or earn new miles for a period of 12–24 months.

Check your airline’s loyalty program to see how long you have before your miles disappear. And if your expiration date is looming, consider one of these strategies.

Join an airline dining program

Since you can “reset the clock” on your frequent flyer miles with even a small purchase, airline dining programs offer an easy way keep your miles alive. While each airline’s program includes different restaurants, and the number of miles you’ll earn will vary, they all work similarly: You sign up for the program, dine at a qualifying restaurant, then earn bonus…

Aziz Ansari on the Return of ‘Master of None’ and that ‘S.N.L.’ Monologue

Do not invite Aziz Ansari to an Italian restaurant casually. Having spent several months living in Italy last year, working in restaurants, Mr. Ansari, the comedian, co-creator and star of the Netflix series “Master of None,” is “hypercritical,” he said, about what makes the perfect raviolo.

Mr. Ansari’s pasta-making stint — at restaurants including the tiny Mario Batali favorite Hosteria Giusti in Modena — tied into “Master of None,” whose first season ended with his character, Dev, jetting off to Italy on a pasta-making journey of his own. Which came first, the story line or Mr. Ansari’s obsession? “I secretly knew that if I wrote a story where my character lives in a small town and learns how to make pasta, I could to go to a small town in Italy and justify it as research,” he said. Season 2, released on Friday, May 12, starts out in Modena, where Dev is hand-rolling tortellini and having adventures à la “The Bicycle Thief.”

Mr. Ansari, 34, has been a master of many pursuits — he is the co-author of a best-selling book, “Modern Romance,” about love in the internet age; sold out Madison Square Garden for his stand-up tour; and has emerged as a thoughtful voice for South Asian artists and Muslim families. He delivered a moment-defining monologue, hosting “Saturday Night Live” the day after Donald J. Trump’s inauguration.

Mr. Ansari’s immigrant family has been a secret weapon: His parents play scene-stealing versions of themselves on the show, and his younger brother, Aniz, is a writer. The series is personal, so don’t expect Season 3 anytime soon. “I’ve got to live my life, and have some stuff happen,” Mr. Ansari said by phone from Los Angeles. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Your Italian on the show is pretty good — did you pick it up easily?

I did three weeks of lessons. I realized that I waste so much time on the internet that if I didn’t, I could speak every…

Edible Innovations: Steven and the Californian Baking Movement

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Food Innovation Program — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.

This is a crazy story of disruption — a disruption that has now been ongoing for more than 30 years.

Steven and Susie Sullivan founded The Acme Bread Company in 1983 to bake bread for restaurants and stores that wanted to offer better bread than was generally available on the wholesale market at the time. They saw a lack of good bread on a larger scale. “Good bakeries were small ones that were not able to serve restaurants “ says Steven, “that’s why everything started.”

Steven started working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, along with Alice Waters (@AliceWaters). There wasn’t a big food movement going on at the time and “Silicon Valley” was still just known as the “Bay Area.” He was 18 the first time he went…

TripAdvisor embraces online food delivery with Grubhub integration

Grubhub is integrating its online food ordering smarts directly into TripAdvisor, meaning those using the travel giant’s mobile apps and website in the U.S. will soon be able to click a button to order food while browsing for eateries.

While TripAdvisor emerged as a travel website for user-generated reviews, including hotels and restaurants, the company has long expanded beyond this service to provide mechanisms to make bookings, too. Indeed, the company has enabled Instant Bookings for hotels for a while,…

Air New Zealand’s London Pop-Up Restaurant Only Sells Airplane Food

Bad airplane food is a cliché for a reason, but Air New Zealand is bucking the trend, Food & Wine reports. The airline’s new in-flight menus feature culinary creations by New Zealand chef Michael Meredith and Peter Gordon, the Kiwi-born executive chef of London’s popular The Providores and Tapa Room. To promote their revamped meal options, Air New Zealand launched a free, two-day pop-up restaurant in London that serves nothing but airplane food.

The temporary outpost, called This is How We Fly, is running out of the Unit London gallery in Soho, but it’s only sticking around for two days—April 25 and April 26 (which is today, which means you’ve only got a few hours left to give it a try). Patrons sit in airplane chairs and dine on options including “lamb with minted peas, braised lettuce with bacon lardons, and salt roasted crushed new potatoes with mint jelly”…

IKEA May Be Launching Stand-Alone Cafes

IKEA has been serving up meatballs and other Swedish classics since its first store opened in 1958. The idea is simple: If you feed people, they’ll stay longer and buy more furniture. But six decades later, the food operation has grown. For instance, IKEA is now Sweden’s biggest exporter of lingonberries. And, according to Fast Company, the company is looking for ways to take its restaurants to the next level by opening dine-in options…

Rules restricting artificial trans fats are good for heart health

side of fries and oils
Starting in 2007, areas of New York restricted the use of partially hydrogenated oils in eateries, eliminating artificial trans fats from foods like these french fries. As a result, residents experienced fewer heart attacks and strokes, a new study suggests.

OIL OPT OUT

Taking artificial trans fats off the menu reduces hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke, suggests a study that examined what happened after several areas in New York restricted the fats’ use. The findings portend larger scale public health benefits after a nationwide ban on artificial trans fats begins in the United States in 2018.

Hospital admission rates for heart attacks declined 7.8 percent more in New York counties that restricted trans fats than in those counties that had not, researchers report online April 12 in JAMA Cardiology.

“This is the first study that links a trans fats ban to a reduction in heart disease and stroke in large populations,” says nutritional epidemiologist Frank Hu of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The evidence from this study indicates that implementation of a nationwide ban on trans fats will reduce heart disease and save many lives in the United States.”

Heart disease causes one in every four deaths in the United States. Coronary heart disease, the most common kind, kills more than 370,000 people each year. Past research finds that eating foods containing artificial trans fats, also called trans-fatty acids, increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Among other effects, consuming these fats leads to higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, a component of artery-clogging plaque. Artificial,…

Michelin-Starred Chef to Bring His Soup Kitchen Concept to the U.S.

image credit: Massimo Bottura at the 2012 Olympics. Image credit: Dino Panato/Getty

Massimo Bottura is one of the more respected chefs in the culinary community: His restaurant, Osteria Francescana, has earned three Michelin stars and the coveted number one spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. When he isn’t feeding affluent gastro-tourists at his Modena, Italy restaurant, Bottura is finding ways to use leftovers to feed the hungry.

One of those ways is through Refettorio Gastromtiva. The idea behind the Refettorios is simple: Chefs use surplus products from supermarkets and catering companies that would otherwise go to waste in order to create healthy and delicious meals for the community. After finding success in Italy, the initiative came to…