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From where to go to what’s in store, intrepid traveler David Jones scouts the globe and answers burning questions for those who live to go there. Have a question for our destination guru? Email it to us at quest@kerdowney.com or ask us on our Facebook page.

We love wine and we are looking for some new destinations to discover and sample local wine. Where do you suggest we travel next? B. & A. Krappen, Oregon

Here is a big surprise that even wine connoisseurs might not know: The Kakheti region in eastern Georgia (in the Caucasus region) has been cultivating grapes and making wine for over 8,000 years. They have a method where the wine is trampled and then fermented underground until mature in clay vessels, known as Qvevri. The result is a semi-sweet red wine called Khavanchkara that is incredibly smooth. In addition to this traditional method, they also make wines using European-style maturation in oak barrels. My favorites are the Mukuzani 2007 from Saperavi grapes for a red and the Teliani Valley Tsinandali White Dry 2010.

Traveling to Georgia was a huge surprise for me. The people are friendly and extremely proud of their heritage. The culture and arts come from deep within the soul of the Georgian people. The traditional dance and polyphonic singing is a source of great national pride. In short, put Georgia on your bucket list, for more than just the wine!

Another recent find of mine was the Central Otago region on the South Island near Queenstown. Most people know Queenstown as the adventure capital of New Zealand. It never fails to deliver in stunning natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping activities. But who would have thought that this cooler climate would be excellent for Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris wine production? There is an incredible boutique vineyard called Valli, and Ker & Downey guests get VIP treatment from the owner Grant Taylor. Grant personally walks you through the vineyard while explaining the history and characteristics of Central Otaga wine.
For more information about adding Georgia or New Zealand to your next itinerary, contact your Travel Professional. To read the current issue of QUEST magazine online, click here, and be sure to stay up to date on all of QUEST’s online content by following the QUEST Facebook page.

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