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Auto racing is one of the highly televised sports in the world. The exposure of people to auto racing has acted as a catalyst for its growth in popularity. More and more people, especially kids and teenagers, have been drawn towards racing. Carting, most basic and arguably the safest introduction to motor sports, is very popular not only in Europe and North America, the traditional bastions of auto racing, but also in Asia and some parts of Africa. But, its popularity and fanfare should not undermine the fears about its safety. We know from our daily experience that even driving through roads at a speed that is infinitely slower than that in the auto racing arenas can be dangerous.

Despite the technologically advanced safety measures, the inherent danger of high-speed auto racing refuses to be conquered. There are a large number of accessories for auto racing safety. But, there is no better method to avoid accidents than driving with concentration and focus.

Formula One racing is undoubtedly the most famous auto racing event in the planet. Ayrton Senna is the immortal star in the Formula One history. He died on the track in 1994 following an accident while racing. That incident prompted the governing bodies of the sport to bring in new technologies to avoid accidents and to reduce the risks when accidents inevitably happen. The vehicles, be it racing cars or motor cycles, are designed in such a way as to keep the driver away from impact even if a crash happens. The vehicles absorb maximum impact on its body. But there is a limit to such measures. If the crash is too powerful, the body cannot resist the force. As a result, other accessories for auto racing safety have been introduced.

Auto racers wear special kind of dress that will provide both comfort and safety during the high-pressure environment of motor racing. Usually it will be tightly fit dresses, with some kind of padding at the leg and chest parts. The biggest problem for the auto racers is the extreme heat generated due to high speeds of vehicles. Exposure to the heat can cause dehydration. So the dressing accessories for auto racing safety should be able to prevent heat from entering the body of the driver.

The most useful accessory for auto racing safety is helmets. There are a number of brands of special lightweight, yet strong, helmets particularly manufactured for auto racing. The helmet provides a kind of insurance cover against head injuries.

In spite of all these accessories for auto racing safety, the actual safety is in driving within the limits of both the racing rule and ones own ability. Auto racing is perhaps one sporting event where winning at any cost is not recommended. It is a sport where the clich a matter of life and death is a stark reality.

Are you thinking to apply for the Vanuatu citizenship? Then this site http://vrp-mena.com/lang/index.php is a must-visit for you. Here you will discover how to get the Vanuatu citizenship in a couple of easy steps.

A few decades ago, a car was considered a luxury only the rich could afford. But as the Automobile companies prospered and expanded their production and reach, the Cars became cheaper and easier to acquire. Many Auto Companies, Banks, and private companies too came forward to provide Car Loans to people who still could not afford to buy Cars with a full payment for the purchase price. Auto financing was also useful in enticing people working on a fixed salary, or those who were hesitant in investing a big sum in purchasing an Automobile. People also bought cars to maintain/enhance their status in society, even if it meant opting for a Car Loan to buy a Car. In the last decade or two, a car or even two or more cars for a family has become more of a necessity, rather than a status symbol.

In this case opting for a Car Loan is not a bad idea if you really need the Car to make life easier for you and your family and it is really useful in solving day-to-day problems of traveling. You can either decide to buy a new or second hand car depending on your requirement and financial status. When you do decide to buy a car with Auto financing, just do not rush off and select the first option that presents itself. Analyze the Car Loans market and the different offers made by the Auto Company, Banks, and Private companies for Auto Loans, and decide on the best option according to your paying capacity and finances. Auto Financing is beneficial for the buyer (You), the seller (the Auto Company), and the financier (Auto Company, Bank, private finance company). But as in any business deal. everybody wants the best deal and the most benefit for themselves. Therefore, when you do opt for an Auto Loan, weigh the Pros and Cons, the advantages, disadvantages, savings, interest charged, down payment required, terms of financing, the period of loan, etc.

You should also calculate how much you will have to pay on a monthly/quarterly/yearly basis for financing the Car and whether you will be able to manage the payments comfortably. If you have already bought a car on Auto Finance and your Credit rating with the financing company is good, getting a Car Loan for a second car becomes easier. But if you have defaulted on your Auto Loans, your Car Finance Company may reject your loan application for another Car. This is called Bad Credit in the industry. But you do not have to be dejected and think that you will never be able to get another Car Loan. There are Private Car Finance and Auto Loan Companies that do provide a Second chance at Auto Loans, in spite of a Bad Credit rating. Whether you need First time Auto Financing or a second chance at a Car Loan in spite of Bad Credit, you should investigate all the options and avenues available and opt for the best in the market, while also looking at your financial abilities to pay back the loan.

A certain school of thought claims that interior decorators are born, not made. However, as long as you have a basic artistic streak and a yearning to be creative, you can be groomed to any level of expertise in interior decoration. Giving a property buyer the benefit of one’s creative streak in this way is one of the most lucrative and creative careers today.

Beyond any doubt, interior decoration is a satisfying profession for those who ‘have it’ these days. There is an unprecedented amount of up-market residential and commercial property being sold on the real estate market today. Moreover, the present generation buyers of properties can afford to have their new acquisitions packaged attractively. Engaging the services of an interior decorator was once considered a lavish luxury, but not anymore. With the increased spending power of the IT generation, a home is defined by its aesthetic appeal — and a growing number of people are ready to pay for that.

The trend for professionally decorated interiors has percolated down from film stars to almost every upper stratum of society. Nor is the demand for interior decoration any longer confined to residences — witness the offices of most successful doctors, lawyers and advertising agencies, as well as bookstores, music shops, shopping malls, restaurants, hotel lobbies… yes, the scope for interior decoration is virtually endless.

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES

Apart from being an inherently glamorous profession, interior decoration has a career has a number of other appeals to offer:

PEOPLE — You meet a lot of them, and from a fascinating cross-section – from movie icons to business magnates; from well-known restaurant owners to fast-track lawyers; from neurosurgeons to the idle rich.

MONEY — You earn a lot of it. Everyone has respect for artistic flair, and your efforts are supposed to reflect the property owner’s own taste. This makes it an ego issue, and people pay a lot to support their ego.

CONTACTS — A career in interior decoration is self-propagating. One successfully completed contract almost immediately leads to another, till you can actually pick and choose. Also, the people you come across can come in useful in many other respects later on.

NO SPECIAL TRAINING REQUIRED — of course, a basic degree in the Arts can’t hurt, but a period of internship under an established interior decorator will serve just as well.

EXTENSIVE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR OTHERS — You will not be operating on your own. A large enough contract will require the services of a carpenter, electrician, painter and a graphic computer designer. A lot of people will benefit from your profession – and that is significant.

LIMITLESS JOB SATISFACTION — Expressing oneself artistically is one of the most satisfying experiences that a human being can have; being paid to do it is nothing but a bonus. It is no secret that one works best at what one enjoys doing – it is equally true that one of the biggest problems in today’s professional world is lack of creative outlets.

Most people have an ‘inbuilt’ creative streak in some form or the other. Professional interior decorators who were polled recently firmly denied that theirs is a ‘born’ breed — almost anyone can develop a flair, liking and proficiency in this field.

WHAT IT TAKES

As already pointed out, you don’t require any special qualifications to become a successful interior decorator (as opposed to interior designing, which has far more demanding parameters). Basically, you should have an ability to judge spaces (including the potential for hidden storage space), lighting requirements, color schemes and contrasts, furniture styles, etc. and a ‘feel’ for upholstery and curtain fabrics. Finally, you will need to bring these out to maximum advantage within the framework of a given budget.

There are a number of books and journals available to the subject of interior decoration, though not so many on the Indian market. For the seriously interested, however, this will not present a problem. Any specialty bookstore can offer you a selection of imported publications. A subscription to Indian magazines like ‘Inside Outside’ would be helpful by offering information on styles and combinations currently favored in the country.

One of the most helpful things you can do is to visit properties that have been professionally designed, study the work done there, and even ask the owners in what respects they are or aren’t satisfied with the end results. The places to zero in on are newly bought flats and offices that have engaged the services of an interior decorator. The point is not to judge the quality of the job done, but to get a feel of what kind of interior designing is popular on the real estate market, and therefore sells.

This costs you nothing, and people are always ready to talk on such subjects (after all, what is the point in splurging on interior decoration if you can’t gloat about the results later on?) In this manner, you can build up a useful mental catalog of successful and unsuccessful approaches.

Getting an eventual interior decoration team together is another important factor. You should also try to establish a personal network of carpenters and painters who will be able to spend time on unscheduled projects. This way, you will be able to obtain their services as and when you need them. Sharing your design discoveries with them occasionally is a good idea, too. In that way, you will have some concrete prototypes to refer to when you actually get to work on a project.

PROGRESSING TO INTERIOR DESIGNING

This is a far more demanding — and rewarding — career field, and you will need a lot of experience in interior decoration before you can think of entering it. There are certified institutions that offer courses in interior designing, and you may want to consider such a move at a later stage.

Till then, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t make lucrative waves as an interior decorator. As a famous philosopher once stated, the only limitations we face are those we make for ourselves.

Coffee! The eye opening elixir. Coffee! Black, drinkable, the energizing drink that livens our lives. Coffee! A long history from an exotic unknown berry to a massive commodity production, back to exotic again. And what a past this bitter black beverage has had. The dancing goats, to high volume commodity sales, to the near extinction of the finest of quality coffee beans, the art of growing and handling coffee berries has never died. It has only been altered though out time.

Coffee! The eye opening elixir. Coffee! Black, drinkable, the energizing drink that livens our lives. Coffee! A long history from an exotic unknown berry to a massive commodity production, back to exotic again. One must hand it to that little coffee shop from Seattle that now encompasses the globe. They sure did take the world by storm. In one fell swoop that little coffee company took a commodity beverage and cast it back into the exotic drinkable realm where it was born from as well as distorting the beauty of specialty gourmet coffee for future generations. What is now perceived as a quality coffee bean has traveled back to the art of commodity coffee. The competition on the street corner for a drinkable cup of coffee has become fierce. Each brewer says that their brew is the “perfect cup of coffee”. However they all grab from the same commodity level stocks. Of course without these commodity grown stocks coffee would be in greatly diminished supplies. Yes, coffee is in diminished supply. That is the supply of good quality coffee beans had almost vanished over the last couple of decades as corner boutiques converted to the ravishing corner coffee shop.

There is a change! Finally there is a change in the air. The very small boutique coffee shop and coffee roaster is finally allowed the glory of finding high quality coffee beans once again. Small farm and niche green coffee beans are now becoming available to the fair trade coffee market. Quality organic coffee is being selectively grown just for the small independent coffee roasting operations.

Finally we have coffee drinkers who care more and more about the people of the Earth and the planet that we live on. We now have coffee drinkers who care about the survival of coffee farmers and the lands on which the coffee bean is grown. There are specialty coffee drinkers who cherish the survival and health of our mother earth.

Sustainable Organic Fair Trade Coffee is finally becoming a household request. Fair trade is good for the people. Organic coffee is healthier for you as well as giving health back to our planet.

Fair trade coffee provides a fair platform for the whole supply chain of this wonderful drink. Fair trade coffee beans mean fair prices for those who drink it. It may not be the cheapest coffee to buy however for the quality and sustainability the prices are equitable. It also provides better wages and living conditions for those who grow and produce the sought after bean. Fair trade is an agreement between farmers, workers, shippers, and consumers to care about each other and everyone involved. After all that is what community and health is all about.

Foresight by coffee growers proved beneficial. The few that saw a future for renewed exotic demand set course with new direction. Armed with a brighter knowledge these coffee plantations moved away from the distorted massive commodity market left to flounder by that little coffee shop from Seattle. These foresight seers set their sights on a smaller specialty marketplace. This knowledge was that there would be a need for finely grown and carefully cared for coffee beans. They knew that the land was important, that their community was important, and the survival of quality coffee was important. There would be a need for carefully grown, hand selected, artistically roasted, and rushed to the discerning consumers waiting coffee grinder and brewing system coffee. Out of the fair trade coffee supply grew the expertise to market the perfect cup of coffee. Quality fair trade organic coffee beans are available. Still a consumer can find the organic coffee they seek for their cup of coffee at the corner commodity brewer. Astute coffee drinkers find it a poor substitute for the real experience of fine coffee.

Those coffee drinkers with the discerning desire for the perfect bitter tinged elixir must still seek the out of the way roasters to fulfill their needs. They must discover the hidden gems in the coffee roasting world. And, yes, there are those little gems and merchants, imports, roasters, and sellers. And yes there are many who like yourself desire their cup of coffee to stand out as the pure enjoyment of a cup of coffee should be. After all tingling taste buds and allowing your senses to dance around the flavors of coffee is what life is all about. Allowing your mouth to wrap around the delicate chocolate or nutty earth flavors of the coffee bean and the smoky power of a fine roast is what we seek as a coffee drinker.

If, and when, you find that little quality niche coffee shop hold onto it tight allowing it to grow and become sustainable. Seek out the online coffee merchant that has done the leg work of finding the best roasters and fastest service. Get that cup of coffee. Get your organic blend. Get the roast you desire. Get the fair trade coffee beans you deserve. Don’t let go.

Yes, people drink coffee to stimulate their minds for the long stress filled hour of the day. Stimulating the senses is more important as well. Awakening the olfactory system with quality flavor from specialty hand selected coffee puts the shear aspect of the lowly commodity coffee production into a totally insignificant perspective. Hum drum becomes the everyday ordinary cup of coffee sold at all of the corner coffee shops. Taste bud boredom is a crime of depriving the human senses of ecstasy that we all crave and deserve. Alive taste buds cause the human being to be alive, excited, and adventurous in our every day activities. Start your day with an eye opening sense grabbing cup of coffee and know that your day will be brighter more enjoyable and full of experience. And further know that when you purchase great organic fair trade coffee that you are caring for the planet that gives us our daily life.

Organic foods are pure and natural foods. These are prepared by natural means and no harmful chemicals are used in their farming or agricultural process. Most of these organic foods are good for health as they are rich in vitamins and minerals. The best thing about organic foods is that no fertilizers, medicines or chemicals are used in their production and thus they are free from any harmful products.

Organic foods are not just good for health but they are also good for nature. It is often seen that in the agricultural process of most of the foods and vegetables, we use fertilizers so as to get better results. These chemicals and fertilizers used today are harming the soil and nature. Organic foods are just perfect for nature and human health. In the production of these foods, there is no harm to the soil, water or farms.

Production of organic foods is much easier and affordable. They require less energy and also the consumption of fuel is much low as compared to the production of other foods and vegetables. Today you get to see more and more industrialization of organic products. This is so because they are getting more popular these days. People working in this field are looking forward for new methods and technologies that should be used so as to get better results. They want that there should be more researches done. More methods should be found so as make these healthy organic foods popular among people.

Although, these foods are good for health as well as nature, you will be surprised to know that they only fulfill 1 to 2% of our food requirements. It is so because they are not yet popular among common man. A research in the recent past had made it clear that organic foods can take the place of other foods and fulfill the food requirements of a common man. Not only this, there is no need of any extra agricultural land or resources.

There are many of the ideal methods that can help you in getting ideal physique and to get size zero figures like a celebrity. You should try out these methods that can really help you in getting best celebrity smile which you always dreams of.

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Owning and running your own small business is a great thing to do, but it is not always easy. If you want to have success with your small business, there are some ways to do it, though. Here are some small business tips to maximize your profits and minimize your headache, even early on with the business.

The first of the small business tips that you need to remember is that in the early time of the business, you want to keep your profits as high as possible. This is not always an easy thing to do because often, especially when your business has first opened, your customers are pretty low, and therefore your money is pretty low. In order to make this happen, keep your spending as low as you can. Avoid buying anything that is unnecessary in order to keep all the money that you can.

Another of the great small business tips that you can use is about advertising. If you want to get customers, which are necessary for the success of many businesses, you will have to advertise in order to get them. Advertising is something that you should always make room for in your budget. Of course, finding the most affordable methods of advertising early on will make quite a bit of difference. It may take more work, though.

If you want to start your own small business, the market for a business is something you should consider. If there is no market for your business, you will not have any success with it. So, make sure that the people in your area will want to purchase the products or services that you will offer them. This is a very important part of having any sort of success with a business – possibly the most important in some cases, because it can often determine the success or failure of a business.

Another of the great business tips that you can use is to always take advantage of the Internet. Even if your business is not one that would benefit in any way from a website, it is a great idea to advertise on the Internet. This can greatly expand your ability to get customers. And what’s even better – Internet advertising is far more affordable than many local newspapers. This is advantageous for additional advertising at a great price, which is especially great for young businesses that don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising.

If you have a successful small business, then you will experience all of the great advantages of it. But, you have to have a successful small business in order for that to happen. These small business tips will help you make your business more successful so that you will actually make money. Keep all of these in mind when you buy a business or when you start one of your own. They will be helpful in both cases to get your business established and help you actually make money.

We live in an information overloaded society, yet we actually know so little. While I was reading this book I took a straw poll of some people I know, and 100% of them had no idea who the Colwell brothers, or Herb Allen are. So much information, yet so little knowledge is a real problem in today’s world. The three cowboy brothers and Herb, probably did more for world peace, or at least peaceful co-existence than any President, or any government organization has ever done. Frank McGee has produced a great book that chronicles the story of these eclectic individuals. Even better the book is peppered with photographs of the actual people and events.

The story starts right after WWII, the Colwell’s are in their teens, and have a true skill in the entertainment world, initially self taught, they make their mark on the radio landscape, appearing in the Tex Williams weekly show. Invited to ‘tour’ overseas for one month the young brothers can not resist, and against their parents better judgment they set off on their adventure. It was almost a decade before they returned to the US. As part of MRA (Moral Re-Armament) and later Up With People they joined in the youthful mission to try and make the planet a better place. As the saying goes, ‘They boldly went where no man has gone before’. If there was conflict, you can guarantee that the Colwell brothers were not far away, acting as ambassadors of peace.

A Song For The World is a great and heartfelt work, Frank McGee has certainly done his homework, he follows the Colwell’s and Allen across the planet. From India, Africa, China, Russia, and just about every other country you can think of, we vicariously watch these kids grow into men, and subsequently fathers. Very late in the book McGee talks about how they became married men, and I have to admit it is a pretty strange tale. As nomadic minstrels they had little opportunity to go through the conventional courtship rituals. Instead they married first and dated later! While this sounds bizarre, the formula obviously worked for them.

There are very few musicians that have the bragging rights that these guys have, they have played for Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses, they have entertained millions of people, and yet never had a top 10 hit! This is a fascinating read and reveals a side of humanity that today is sadly in short supply, happiness, caring, and above all giving. We can learn much from the selfless actions of the Colwell brothers and Herb Allen.

When you start up or re-brand a pet or animal related business one of your first requirements will be getting a great logo design in order to create a brand that you can build upon and develop.

Many new businesses are springing up today that are related to pets and animals. It is no longer just your traditional veterinary clinics and pet stores but a whole host of other service businesses relating to pet care, grooming and other niche areas like pet photography and pet boutiques and pet retreats.

The pet industry can be divided into two area really. Firstly you have pet stores and vets who target the general population and secondly you have luxury pet supplies, gourmet pet food and services that only the upper middle class and the wealthy can afford.

Some people treat their pets like members of the family and want only the highest standards for them in terms of the products that they buy and the services that they require. So the message that you want to convey in your logo is that your company values animals and is basically in the business of pampering them, giving them the best of care and the products that they need to be happy and healthy. If you cater to the upper end of the market you want your logo to hint at the elite services that you offer and create a brand ‘club’ that wealthy pet owners want to be a part of.

Popular images that are used in animal and pet care logos include pets themselves, sometimes in cartoon form and sometimes in other graphic forms and animal paw prints. Animals are cute, eye catching and very brandable and a business in this industry would be crazy to not feature an image of a pet into the logo somehow. Paws alone can work and others have gotten away with simple animal related items such as a dog kennel or a lead but images of pets themselves are almost essential in logos in this niche.

Designers will usually go with pet related color tones such as white, browns, tan and black. Bright colors are often used in some of the more ‘light hearted’ business models while veterinary services and animal hospitals are often more inclined to go for more dull colors for a more serious look.

It is important that you brief your designer well before they commence your project and brief them on all aspects of your business. Let them know who your target market is so that they can understand what will appeal to your clients.

Once you become established with your branding on signage and stationary it can be a real hassle to change. You will also lose some of the brand value and customer recognition that you have built up if you decide that a change is necessary. For these reasons it is important to make sure that you start your pet or animal related business off right with a great logo design.

With property management firms charging as much as 45% of a rental property’s income, more and more vacation home owners are turning to the Internet to book their rental properties themselves in order to keep more of their rental income.

While websites such as HomeAway have given vacation home owners a new venue to advertise their rental properties, most vacation home owners are finding that these sites alone do not produce enough rentals to keep their properties fully booked. Even worse, vacation home owners are finding that the mundane tasks of replying to inquiries, manually sending out invoices and rental agreements, updating their properties’ availability calendars, and all the other tasks associated with replacing a property management firm all add up to a full-time job.

There are online software management tools for vacation rental properties, though, that can greatly reduce the amount of time you have to spend managing these types of activities.

To help vacation home owners find, book and manage online rentals for their rental properties, here are the top 3 time-saving vacation rental management tools that no vacation property owner should be without.

1. Online Booking and Reservations Management System

If there’s one thing that online consumers have learned to expect, it’s instant gratification. If a potential renter can’t instantly book and reserve your vacation property online, then you are lowering your chances of getting their business.

Websites like HomeAway urge their vacation home owners to “respond quickly! Data shows that owners who respond to inquiries within 3 hours close 57% more bookings than owners that respond within 24 hours.” Just imagine what eliminating response time altogether can do to improve your bookings, then.

With today’s integrated online booking, credit card processing, and reservations management systems, there’s no reason to make your potential renters wait. These best of these services provide renters an instant rate quote, including taxes, and allows them to sign-up and book your vacation rental property instantly using any major credit card.

Some vacation rental management software solution providers offer this service – including setting up the merchant credit card processing on your behalf – with no up-front costs. You just pay a small portion of your reservation amount when a renter uses the online system. If you have multiple websites, make sure to find a provider who allows for their software to be integrated into your other sites, too, so you can centrally manage online bookings for all of your websites through one main interface.

2. Self-Updating Availability Calendars

If you’re like most vacation home owners, in order to find enough renters to book your property as often as you’d like, you have listings on all the large vacation listing sites. You might supplement those efforts with manual postings on Craigslist and even your own personal website that you maintain. Whenever you book a rental you have to log in to each website/ listing and update your vacation property’s availability calendar. That can take a lot of time.

A better way to manage your vacation home property’s availability calendars is to use a centralized, self-updating calendar that’s tied to a booking and reservations system. Whenever you accept a booking through the reservations system, the availability calendar automatically marks the dates booked as unavailable. Once you point all of your websites and listings to your centralized calendar (as easy as inserting a link into the webpage), then all of your listings are updated with the latest availability information automatically – requiring no manual intervention on your part.

3. Electronic Rental Agreements

A big time-saver for the do-it-yourself vacation home owner is electronic rental terms and agreements. If done correctly, an electronic agreement is a legally valid, signed contract. Many vacation rental software providers offer vacation home owners the ability to customize the rental terms and agreements and include agreeing to these contracts an integrated part of the reservations/ booking process – ensuring that your renters have signed and agreed to your terms before they are able to reserve your vacation home.

Looking to online software management tools for the vacation home rental owner can save you time and present a more professional appearance to your online renting activities. Look for a vacation rental software management company that makes installing their management software tools into your existing sites easy. Some providers even offer you the ability to create a website using their service for the most highly integrated looking website possible.

Be sure to do your research, though, as pricing, functionality and set-up activities vary widely among these vacation rental management software firms. In the end, though, using online software management tools for vacation rental property websites like the ones listed above can help increase your bookings through their increased functionality. Plus, they’ll save you time since they’re designed to put your online vacation rental website efforts on “auto-pilot”.

Though vineyards exist in almost every U.S. state, California outranks all of the others by a great deal and its production can even be ranked on a global scale. In fact, California ranks # 4 in the world in volume production among wine producers with a total of 2 billion liters per year, following only Italy, France, and Spain. It also ranks as one of the most diverse wine regions in the world due to its ability to produce almost 100 separate high-quality grape varietals. Some of the most popular wines include:

* Merlot

* Pinot Noir

* Cabernet Sauvignon

* Shiraz

* Zinfandel

* Chardonnay

* Sauvignon Blanc

Within the state, there are approximate 4,500 wine grape growers; a testament to the size and importance of the wine industry in California. In 2006, the California wine industry had a $51.8 billion dollar economic impact on its own state and a $125.3 billion dollar impact on the entire United States. The wine industry in California is easily the most profitable of any other area in the Unites States and its wine’s are among the top in quality around the world.

Due to different growing conditions within the state, the California wine producing areas are separated into five major regions: North Coast, Sierra Foothills, Central Coast, Central Valley, and Southern California. Each of these regions can be divided even further into sub-regions called appellations (which are often counties) that many people who are not even familiar with wine will easily recognize by name such as Napa, Sonoma, and San Joaquin Valley. When a wine label contains a specific appellation, it means that at least 75 percent of the grapes used within the wine were grown within that specific region. Wine labels can also contain two or three appellations to classify the different grapes used within the wine if the percentages are specifically noted as well.

The climate range in California varies from region to region which allows for superb production of many different types of perfectly grown grapes which results in many different varietals. Elements of the weather, such as the cool offshore breezes that cool the Sonoma County vineyards, are extremely important in the distinct growing condition needs for specific wine grapes.

The most important varietals produced in the California wine region are chardonnay and cabernet, though many other varietals from the region are massively popular such a pinot noir. The California wine region has a reputation for producing a high-quality wine to be enjoyed in a relaxed setting among friends, just the way its biggest fans would want it.

Merlot

Merlot is a popular thin-skinned red wine grape that is believed to be descended from the Cabernet Franc grape and was first recorded in Italy in 1832. It is used for both the purposes of blending inspired by the Bordeaux wine region of France and also for the production of straight varietal wine. In the 1990’s particularly, Merlot experienced a huge surge in popularity and became the new trendy wine but its popularity has proved to possess staying power. In 2003 there were over 50,000 acres in California devoted to the Merlot grape alone.

Some of the highest quality Merlots comes from Bordeaux, France, Napa Valley, Sonoma, Chile, and Washington State. These areas have elevated the historical planting of Merlot into better quality soils which have resulted in a Merlot that is less-suited for blending and perfect for its own varietal. The taste of a Merlot is dependent on the type of soil in which it was grown. For instance, Merlot from flatter and more clay-like soil results in a smoother, more velvety wine. Merlot grown in more mountainous regions tends to taste more similar to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Many Merlots tend to have a taste reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon, but they has less acidity due to a thinner skin in the grapes and earlier ripening time. It also frequently possesses a wide variety of flavors such as: currant, plum, black cherry, caramel, clove, bay leaf, bell pepper, olive, and violet. It is low in tannins and many wine drinkers believe that it is smooth and an easy-to-drink red varietal.

When blended, Merlot is often combined with Cabernet Sauvignon to balance the taste strengths and flavors of each separate varietal resulting in a blend with the best of both worlds. Another benefit to Merlot and the Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blends is that the cost is often substantially less than the fuller-bodied Cabert Sauvignon varietal itself.

Although many wine drinkers think that red wines should only be served right at room temperature, Merlot should actually be served a few degrees below room temperature as it can sometimes develop less pleasant tastes at approximately 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Chilling it for simply a couple minutes will ensure that the wine is slightly cooler and result in the best possible flavors.

Because Merlot is not quite as rich as some other red wine varietals, it is still fairly flexible in its easy pairings with many popular dinner choices. Because it is a medium-bodied wine, it will pair well with veal, meatloaf, sausages, and hearty pasta dishes.

Pinot Noir

Thanks to the recent movie Sideways, Pinot Noir has become much more widely acclaimed by the general wine-drinking population in recent years and multiplied quite drastically in popularity. It originated in the Burgundy wine region of France but today, has spread around the world to vastly differing wine regions which encompass almost all wine growing areas. Despite its worldwide popularity, Pinot Noir remains among the most difficult varietal grapes to cultivate efficiently as it is delicate and difficult to control in terms of preventing mutations of the grapes or any other unwanted variations which result in undesirable changes in the flavors or other characteristics present in the grapes.

Pinot Noir reaches its peak in flavor development when grown in cooler wine regions and has never reproduced the level of accuracy and perfection in development that it has achieved in its home in the Burgundy wine region. However, all Pinot Noir wines are typically a light hue of red which range from cherry to plum. They also possess a fragrant aroma encompassing notes of cherries, violets, berries, and spices. Like most other wines, Pinot Noir wines develop a greater complexity of flavors when aged. The aging process can contribute flavors reminiscent of leather and mushroom to the flavor dimensions of the wine.

Pinot Noir wines are usually considered light or medium-bodied as they are quite a delicate varietal which often also encompass fine silky tannins.

The Pinot Noir grapes, while notoriously difficult to grow efficiently, also become difficult to maintain consistency in the winemaking process. Winemakers struggle to modify the winemaking process for Pinot Noirs in order to find the optimal process to highlight the delicate flavor and structural aspects of this varietal. For example, winemakers must take great care in the aging of Pinot Noirs with oak barrels because the woody flavors can easily overtake the natural fragility of the flavors balanced within the Pinot Noir. Batches of Pinot Noir wine grapes can also be blended together in a way that masks the imperfections due to changes in the winemaking process or weakness inherent in the grapes themselves.

When pairing Pinot Noir wines with foods, remember to go easy on the spices, otherwise the delicate flavors of the Pinot Noir will be masked. Salmon is one of the best pairings for Pinot Noir wines, as the flavors are both fairly light but with a complexity that compliments the opposite quite nicely.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet is a term which encompasses a few different varietals: most notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon is a particularly popular varietal which arose from a grape developed by crossing the Cabernet Franc grape with the Sauvignon Blanc grape. In fact, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely grown red grape in most wine regions of the world and particularly the Boudreaux wine region in France. In other parts of the world Cabernet Sauvignon is also referred to as Petit Cabernet, Sauvignon Rouge, and Vidure so it is important to keep those phrases in mind while abroad.

Additionally, since the 1960’s, Cabernet Sauvignon has been the most common varietal term for red wines due to it’s wide appeal and critical acclaim. Because it is so widely in demand in many wine circles, Cabernet Sauvignon becomes easily subjected to inflation-related cost increases as demand from wealthy wine-lovers drives prices upward. On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon’s parent grape Cabernet Franc is less popular because it is a less desirable grape than its grape offspring. However, it is quite often used as a blending element in mixed varietal wines, particularly with Merlot. A general tip for most novice wine consumers is that most bottled wines labeled Cabernet belong to the Cabernet Sauvignon family of grapes, rather than the Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes thrive best in regions with long growing seasons due to a warm climate and reaches maturity quite late in the season. It also grows well in slightly arid areas with well-drained soil. These elements will allow the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to mature with a fruity taste, rather than the more herbal flavor that arises from the grape’s exposure to increased moisture and excessive soil-based nutrients during the growing process. The grapes themselves are comparatively small with a tough outer skin that protects the grapes from many elements. They are considerably resistant to disease and can be viewed as a fairly hardy grape varietal.

Cabernet Sauvignon is also one of the best aged wines. It is traditionally aged in small oak barrels for up to eighteen months before bottling. This aging period allows the wine to develop a greater complexity and depth of the flavors it encompasses. Some of the flavors which are most often attributed to Cabernet Sauvignon are: dark cherry, black currant, olive, pepper, cedar, and tobacco. Cabernet Sauvignon’s can also sometimes have spicy or earthy taste profiles as well.

Sirah – Shiraz

Shiraz currently accounts for one-fifth of all wine grape production in Australia and is one of the most widely harvested grapes in the country. Though the intense popularity of the rival red Cabernet Sauvignon has accounted for the secondary status of Shiraz in the minds of wine consumers in recent years, many vintners are beginning to revitalizing their Shiraz with new styles and methods of aging.

The Shiraz wine grape has an interesting history and place in the contemporary wine world as well. Generally described as “New World” wines, these wines are generally thought to be more fruity in their predominate flavors in opposition to the “Old World” wines which are often labeled Syrah. Because both variations of wine are derived from the same grape genetically, the differences between them are minimal to say the least. Some wine purveyors even maintain that the distinction between Shiraz and Syrah is in relation to style preferences only.

However, South Africa, Canada, and Australia are three of primary growing regions which refer to this varietal of wine as Shiraz rather than Syrah. These regions keep with the trend of identifying their exports with the New World wine classification of Shiraz which identifies it as a lighter and more aggressively fruity style of wine.

The Shiraz grape is commonly used in the production of red table wines which characteristically age well. Shiraz often reaches its prime complexity of flavor after approximately ten to fifteen years of aging; however it can easily be consumed much earlier in its aging process without sacrificing its excellent taste. It is also commonly used as a blending wine, although this occurs primarily in Spanish regions.

Shiraz wines are characteristically quite full-bodied and flavors vary easily depending on the physical characteristics of the wine region of its production. Some of the flavors most commonly attributed to Shiraz wines are: blackberry, chocolate, black pepper, plums, and spices. Shiraz also has soft tannins and varying degrees of oak flavors. They flourish especially in the wine regions of Australia with cooler, dry climates which allow for the berry finishes. Other Shiraz wine grapes grown in warmer climates tend to encompass the more mellow plum flavors.

Despite its frequent New World wine associations, Shiraz is one of the oldest known wine grape varietals. In fact, it is named for the city of the same name in Iran where wine-making may have originated many thousands of years ago.

Zinfandel

Zinfandel often gets a less-than-stellar reputation among the most pretentious of wine drinkers as it has recently held the reputation of being a “starter wine,” especially for women, due to its popular sweet taste in the 1980’s and 90’s. However, in the past several years, winemakers have responded to this prejudice against Zinfandels by improving the complexity and balance of flavors within their wines to make them a more palatable choice to the savvy wine consumer’s sophisticated sense of flavors.

What makes a wine more appealing to wine lovers? Complexity and fullness of the flavors are a few of the key aspects of a well-crafted wine. In Zinfanfels, a few of the most popularly described characteristics of the flavors are blackberry, raspberry, cherry, cloves, black pepper, and anise. However, depending on the complexity of the Zinfandel, many other levels of flavors may emerge, especially through a tasting in which you carefully give your attention to the subtleties released within the entire experience of the wine. Another interesting characteristic of Zinfandels is that they are also often mixed with others such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Syrah.

Because Zinfandels range from lighter-bodied whites to quite robust reds, they are no steadfast rules for which foods to pair with them. Some zinfandels do possess enough body and presence of flavors to drink even with a hearty steak or rich chocolate dessert. The lighter zinfandels can be a great pairing for Latin American and tropically-inspired foods.

Zinfandel originates from a distinctly American red-skinned Zinfandel wine grape that is used to make both red and white Zinfandels. Formally named in 1832, Zinfandels are traditionally defined as an American varietal and can occasionally be quite difficult to locate in overseas markets. It was recently discovered that Zinfandel grape is genetically identical to the Primotivo grape native to Italy. This discovery begins explains the previously unknown heritage of the Zinfandel grape’s development.

Californian vineries have come to embraced Zinfandels as their own characteristic varietal, leading the reputation of Zinfandel to become a representation and branding image for California wine. Some of the most popular regions for the production of Zinfandels are: Napa Valley, Sonoma, Mendocino-Lake, Central Valley, Bay area, Sierra Foothills, and Southern California. However, Zinfandel’s aren’t exclusive to California and can be produced in American regions as distant as North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as overseas locations to which the Zinfandel grape has been exported.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay has become the most popular white wine in America in the past few decades. The reasons for this development are varied. The first is that Chardonnays possess a widely appealing taste often consisting of fruity and full-bodied buttery notes. Due to the wine’s versatility, it can possess many distinguishable variations of flavors and vintners can even mix Chardonnay with other varietals as a way to experience new flavors with blended wines. One of the other most important reasons for its popularity is that it’s widely available and can be quite inexpensive due to the small, hardy Chardonnay grapes resistance to many diseases and thus easier to grow in many conditions. Thus, the demand for Chardonnay becomes easily to fill, despite the fact that Chardonnay grapes are more delicate in the wine-making phase of development.

Some of the key distinguishing characteristics of this well-loved wine white are that it is dry and often quite full-bodied with the most popularly distinguished flavors and aromas mentioned in descriptions of Chardonnay are apple, melon, pears, lemon, and pineapple, as well as buttery, nutty, creamy, vanilla, oak, and citrus. Particularly when Chardonnay is aged in an oak barrel, it develops a toasty or buttery quality along with a vanilla or coconut flavor which adds to the depth of the richness in the tasting experience. Many cheaper types of Chardonnay that try to achieve the oak-aged taste, use steel barrels with oak chips to lessen production costs while still obtaining similar flavors and textures within their wines.

Chardonnays are one of the most popular varietals grown in the California wine region but also flourish in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. In 2000, Chardonnay grapes accounted for 40 percent of the total white wine grapes planted in California wine regions and can thrive in many regions with quite distinguishably different weather patterns. French Chardonnays are also reputed to be of extremely high-quality and in fact, in the Chablis wine region of France, Chardonnay grapes are the only grape varietals allowed.

Today’s Chardonnays are less-heavily subjected to oak fermentation as public preference has shifted to lighter and crisper versions of this varietal. The reason for this preference can be viewed as a return from the past several decades in which all chardonnays were so heavily processed with malo-lactic fermentation and other aging techniques that even the most distinctive Chardonnays began to lose their distinctive flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a currently very popular white wine varietal. Californian Sauvignon Blanc is also occasionally referred to as Fume Blanc. The growth of Sauvignon Blanc grapes encompasses nearly 14,000 acres in California alone. Sauvignon Blanc is also grown in regions such as South Africa, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, France, Australia and can even be grown in surprising regions such as Canada and Long Island, New York.

Sauvignon Blanc is often viewed as the best white wine for many food combinations as its tangy, aggressive flavor pairs well with foods. It is especially well-matched with foods containing components such as peppers, garlic, cilantro smoked cheeses, and tomatoes which are foods that would ordinarily completely overpower even the strongest-flavored Chardonnays in addition to most other dry white wines.

Sauvignon Blanc possesses a unique aroma which makes it easily identifiable compared to other white wines. Its flavors tend to be classified as herbaceous such as those of lemongrass, gooseberry, and freshly mown grass. However, it also possesses some other more traditional flavors such as green melon, grapefruit, passion fruit, and bell pepper. Overall, Sauvignon Blanc is a strong, tangy, and flavorful varietal that outweighs many other white wines in intensity and sharpness of flavors.

Unlike many other wine varietals, Sauvignon Blanc is not frequently aged in oak barrels because it often departs an unfavorable taste combination. However, Sauvignon Blancs are frequently blended which is a technique that calms their occasionally abrasive tastes. Blending Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon (another wine varietal grown primarily in France) is a popular practice, especially in France’s legendary Boudreaux wine region, as the Semillon adds a fig flavor and softens the overall taste profile of the Sauvignon Blanc. The ratio of Semillon blended with the Sauvignon Blanc ranges on the region and occurs primarily in France. However, some versions are comprised of 70 percent Semillon and 30 percent Sauvignon Blanc and other varieties are comprised of the nearly inverse ratio of 75 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 15 percent Semillon. These blends are a perfect option for the wine consumers who enjoy some of the flavors of Sauvignon Blanc but find it a little too aggressive for their palates.

Because Sauvignon Blanc is still not as popular with many wine drinking consumers as its more popular cousin varietal Chardonnay, many quality Sauvignon Blanc are very economically priced. Combined with its perfection in matching many difficult to pair food combinations, Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice for a dinner party varietal.