Wine

Hosts

HOST YEAR
2020|2021
Taste of BordeauxJul 2, 2020
Dan Panella
Co-Owner, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi, CA

As a third generation American farmer, agriculture has always been a passion for Dan. He got his first start in farming by riding a tractor in the family's cherry and walnut orchards, so it was only a matter of time before he found himself farming grapes. Under the training of a highly regarded winemaker, Dan has been able to grow in the art of winemaking; the fusion of agriculture and art that has allowed him to be creative and allow the grapes to show their strengths.
Taste of BordeauxJul 9, 2020
Scott & Erica Lindstrom-Dake
Owners of Thumbprint Cellars, Healdsburg, CA
Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake, proprietors and winemaker of thumbprint cellars, are always in awe of the beauty and bounty of California’s Sonoma County. They are proud to see thumbprint take its place alongside the many fantastic wine producers of Sonoma County and the world. The unique blends and award winning wines - all featuring the exclusive thumbprint signature - continue to lure both local and international wine enthusiasts. At thumbprint cellars, we source our wine grapes from local growers throughout Sonoma County. Scott enjoys making single vineyard designate wines- think of these wines as a “snapshot” of each vineyard and vintage, telling a story about that special place and time. Scott crafts single vineyard varietals, along with his infamous blends. He makes a wine for everyone! Total case production is less than 5,000 cases and our largest production is 400 cases. You can taste the care and craftsmanship in every bottle. Join Scott and Erica on a marvelous voyage through the waterways of southwest France, cruising the Gironde Estuary and the Dordogne and Garonne rivers. Bordeaux is arguably the world’s epicenter of fine wine production. This elegant holiday is ideal for lovers of fine wines and French cuisine.
Taste of BordeauxJul 16, 2020
Frederick Frank
President, Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Region, NY

Frederick Frank is president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, a position he has held since 1993. After graduating from Cornell University, Fred worked for Banfi Vintners in sales from 1979 to 1982, before attending Geisenheim Reserch Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany in 1982-1983. He was managing director of Old Brookville Vineyard at Banfi from 1984 to 1993. Under Fred’s leadership both the winery’s production and number of honors received has increased greatly, with Dr. Frank’s Riesling poured on numerous occasions in the White House. Wines from Dr. Frank’s winery are now available in over 30 states, making them among the most visible and well-known produced in New York State. Fred, the winery, and its wines have been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and more. Please join Fred Frank on this Taste of Bordeaux wine cruise, exploring this iconic wine region.
Captivating RhineJul 20, 2020
Jeff & Margie Runquist
Owners of Jeff Runquist Winery, Amador County, CA

Since graduating from UC Davis in 1980, Jeff Runquist has been the winemaker at Montevina Wines in Amador County, Napa Valley Cooperative in St Helena, and the J. Lohr Winery in San Jose and Paso Robles. In 1996, Jeff designed and helped construct the McManis Family Vineyards in Ripon then launched his brand in 1997. Jeff’s dream was to move back to Amador County and open his own tasting room and that dream came true in 2008. From the 2012 vintage, Jeff offered twenty-nine different wines from twenty different varietals ranging from Barbera to Touriga. Depending upon the varietal, Jeff teams with twenty-four different growers from throughout California, pairing the particular grape varietal with a specific vineyard site. All but four of his wines carry a vineyard designation and the name of the grower. A close relationship with growers and a respect for their fruit is revealed in every bottle of Runquist wine.
Colors of ProvenceJul 23, 2020
Sherman & Michelle Thacher
Owners, Thacher Winery, Paso Robles, CA
Thacher Winery (est. 2004) currently produces 4,500 cases annually of premium wines, mostly Rhone and Zinfandel varietals. The handmade wines are made with minimal intervention, using native fermentation techniques that show case the fruit from the esteemed vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA. The Thacher wines demonstrate the unique but amazing diversity that the beautiful Central Coast of California have to offer. Sherman and Michelle Thacher invite you to join them on a voyage down the stunning Rhone River, from Lyon to Arles. This is a holiday that combines history, wine and fine dining with scenic transition, from the lush countryside of northern France to the more arid landscape of Provence. Along the way, we will experience together new and old world wines, fabulous French cuisine, the charming cities and towns of France’s Rhone River Valley and a once in a lifetime wine experience.
Rhine & Moselle SplendorsJul 23, 2020
Markus Niggli
Winemaker, Markus Wine Co. Lodi, CA
Early in his career, Swiss-born Markus Niggli parlayed his experience in the travel industry to explore the world and wound up developing a passion for wine. His adventures took him to places like Paarl, South Africa, Alsace, New Zealand and Germany, before taking up a cellar/vineyard job at Edgecombe Brothers in Perth, Australia. After time at Napa’s Atlas Peak, Markus and his growing family set down roots at Borra Vineyards – Lodi, California’s first boutique winery. After nearly a decade as winemaker, he is lending his name to new Markus Wine Co. bottlings, continuing to capture critically-successful, fresh and racy wines.
Enchanting RhineJul 27, 2020
Robin & Lesa Ray
Owners, Cooper Ridge Vineyard, Roseburg, OR
Cooper Ridge is a family-owned vineyard and winery located in the heart of the Umpqua Valley. Owners Robin and Lesa Ray lived in Central Oregon for 20 years operating businesses in real estate development, construction, real estate sales and property management. Moving to Roseburg full time in 2007 the Ray’s established a 12 acre vineyard with the goal of making premium wine from 100% estate grown grapes. The Umpqua Valley’s (Southern Oregon) warm days and cool nights, along with canopy and crop thinning, assists in fruit being picked at optimum ripeness and concentration. During harvest, grapes are carefully hand-picked and processed to produce 3,500 cases of wine annually. Perched 150 feet above the North Umpqua River, the Tasting Room, Guest House and Winery offers extraordinary panoramic vistas. “Come for the Wine, Stay for the View” is what visitors experience while sipping wine underneath the large umbrellas on the outdoor decks. Join Robin and Lesa as they lead you through this Enchanting Rhine Wine cruise!
Colors of ProvenceJul 30, 2020
Roman Roth
Winemaker and Partner, Wolffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaphack NY

A gifted winemaker, Roman Roth can be heard singing in an enviable tenor voice amid the barrels in the winery. But most of all, he gives “voice” to his wines, produced by experience that bridges three continents and stems from the dream of a 16-year-old boy in Rottweil in Germany’s Black Forest. In 1992, Roman became the first winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. He established the estate’s distinctive character — European elegance combined with the typicity of Long Island terroir. Recent honors include having two of our wines make recent “Top 100” lists from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast; being honored as the highest-rated wines in Long Island history; and having our wines served in the White House over the past two decades. Wolffer Estate celebrates it’s 30 Anniversary in 2018 so join us on board as we share a “toast” to the next 30 years!
Medieval TreasuresJul 30, 2020
Dan & Ellen Kessler
Owners & Winemaker, Kessler-Haak Vineyard, Lompoc, CA
Dan Kessler was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated with a BSEE/MSEE degree from MIT in 1981. He spent the early part of his career developing state of the art semiconductor fabrication technologies for Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins, CO. In search of warmer weather, Dan made his move to sunny California where he joined Vitesse, a small high tech startup company. A love for wine started Dan on a journey that took on a life of its own. Drinking wine led to learning about wine; led to learning about winemaking; led to making wine as a home winemaker; led to planting a small 200 vine vineyard in his backyard; led to obtaining a Winemaker’s Certificate from the UC Davis Distance Learning program; led to falling in love with Sta. Rita Hills; led to buying a 40 acre parcel and planting a 30 acre vineyard; led to, well, where he is today. Join Dan and Ellen on this journey through the wine regions of the Rhine and Main rivers.
Treasures of the Main & RhineAug 6, 2020
Susanne Sapier
Owner of Vineyard Grant James
Susanne Sapier has always had a passion for good wine and great fun. In 2008 Susanne purchased a property in the inland San Diego County town of Ramona, CA to start a vineyard. Just three weeks later the first vines were planted. By 2011 sufficient quantities of her estate-grown grapes were ready to make the first year’s production of Vineyard Grant James wines. Named after her son Grant and father James, this family owned winery is rapidly growing by reputation and word-of-mouth. In 2017 Travel + Leisure magazine named Vineyard Grant James the #2 winery in the USA by visitor popularity; high praise indeed!
Taste of BordeauxAug 13, 2020
Regional Wine Expert
Special wine cruise experience
Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of AmaWaterways unique Wine Cruises, which let you add a unique, epicurean dimension to one of our European itineraries. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
Taste of BordeauxAug 20, 2020
Jody Bogle
Co-owner of Bogle Vineyards & Winery, Clarksburg CA
Jody is a 3rd generation winegrower who, along with her brothers, currently manages the day to day operations of Bogle Vineyards & Winery in California. Born and raised on the family farm in Clarksburg, Jody knows all about being a “farmer’s daughter.” She spent many a summer in her youth tying, weeding and pruning vines on the 1500 acres her family farms in the Sacramento River Delta. After earning an English degree and spending some time away as a teacher, Jody returned to the family business in 1997 after the death of her father, Chris Bogle, who along with her grandfather Warren, founded the winery in 1968. Upon returning, Jody began overseeing the newly opened tasting room, where today over 600 guests visit weekly. She has developed several departments at Bogle, including direct-to-consumer marketing, events and hospitality, as well as the extremely popular Bandwagon wine club. Jody also currently manages the international sales of Bogle wines in 40 different countries as well as working in various sales support roles across the domestic U.S.
Europe's Rivers and CastlesAug 20, 2020
Keith & Trudy Kramer
Owners & Winemaker, Kramer Vineyards, Gaston, OR
Truly a family winery, Kramer Vineyards came together from a blending of Trudy’s fascination with winemaking dating back to the early 70’s and Keith’s math and science background, which was part of his earlier career in pharmacy which is also helpful in the wine industry. Trudy became fascinated with winemaking in 1970 after purchasing a winemaking book. In 1978, experimental winemaking took place in a small test vineyard at her previous home in Warren, Oregon. She began making berry wine, rose petal and then, finally, grape wines -- she took her first wine class in 1980. In 1983, Trudy and husband, Keith found a hillside property in Gaston where they would soon begin their mark in Oregon's winemaking history. In 2008, during their 25th year in business, daughter and winemaker, Kim came on board. Join Keith and Trudy on this Europe’s Rivers & Castles wine adventure.
Europe's Rivers and CastlesAug 27, 2020
Regional Wine Expert
Special wine cruise experience
Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of AmaWaterways unique Wine Cruises, which let you add a unique, epicurean dimension to one of our European itineraries. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
Vineyards of the Rhine & MoselleOct 14, 2020
Nicholas & Cindy Palumbo
Owners & Winemaker, Palumbo Family Vineyards, Temecula CA
Nicholas Palumbo, passionate Viticulturist and budding Oenologist, believes in producing only what he grows himself. “I believe there is only two basic ingredients in making fine wines, the fruit itself and the barrels it ages in”. With one foot in modern techniques and the other foot firmly planted in tradition, the wines produced possess a depth and elegance that is becoming harder to find in California wines. The Palumbo’s purchased the property in 1998, opened the tasting room in November of 2002 and have been in operation for 17 years and is also a California Certified Sustainable Winery and Vineyard. Specializing in full-bodied reds, the estate-grown and produced offerings include both single variety bottlings as well as a few special blends, like the very popular Meritage called “Tre Fratelli”. Other blends like the Shiraz/ Cabernet Sauvignon help round out the wine list and showcase the versatility and depth of quality that the Palumbo wines are known for. They have planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese varietals. A block of Viognier and Syrah was planted on neighboring properties to round out the line of wines available. Join Nicholas & Cindy on a wine cruise adventure along the Rhine and Moselle on AmaWaterways’ brand new ship, the AmaSiena!
Rhine & Moselle SplendorsOct 15, 2020
Regional Wine Expert
Special wine cruise experience
Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of AmaWaterways unique Wine Cruises, which let you add a unique, epicurean dimension to one of our European itineraries. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
Colors of ProvenceOct 29, 2020
Amelia Ceja
President, Ceja Vineyards Napa, Ca
Amelia Morán Ceja was born in Las Flores, Jalisco, Mexico and migrated to the United States in 1967 to join her father, a farmworker in the Napa Valley. On her first weekend, Amelia was in the vineyard, harvesting grapes alongside her family where she met her future husband Pedro Ceja. After studying history and literature at UC San Diego, Amelia married Pedro in 1980, and in 1983 Amelia, Pedro plus three family members purchased their first property in Carneros in the Napa Valley. They planted their first vineyard in 1986, and Ceja Vineyards Winery was founded in 1999. The family now owns 115 acres in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Her leadership of Ceja Vineyards is also groundbreaking, as she became the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery in 1999. In 2005, the California Legislature recognized Amelia as “Woman of the Year” for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business.” Join Amelia on this wonderful wine cruise along the Douro!
Paris & NormandyOct 29, 2020
Michael Lewellen
Managing Partner at Lucas & Lewellen Winery, Solvang, CA
Founded by retired Judge Royce Lewellen, and long-time grape grower Louis Lucas in 1996, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards has been producing fine grapes and wine for many years. Royce’s son Mike Lewellen became a minority owner of the company in 1999 and joined the company full-time in 2009 to help manage the operation as it grows into the future. As Managing Partner, Mike carries out business planning and analysis and works with all departments at the winery; Marketing & Sales, Finance, the Tasting Rooms, and of course the Winery. Prior to Lucas and Lewellen, Mike worked for over 16 years in the multi-channel retail business. Working at different times as Marketing Director, Circulation Manager and Inventory Planner, he gained valuable experience that he has applied toward the wine business. Mike was raised in Solvang, California near the vineyards, has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Colorado, a Professional Designation in Business Management from UCLA, and has furthered his wine education through programs at U.C. Davis.
Taste of BordeauxOct 29, 2020
Holly Howell
Journalist & Wine Expert, Finger Lakes, NY

Holly Howell writes a wine column for the Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester and is a well-respected New York-based authority on the wines of the Finger Lakes region, particularly Rieslings. She spent a year in France studying French food and wine, teaches wine and food pairing classes, and has served as a judge for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and also writes a popular blog. Holly is currently pursuing her Wine Spirit Education & Trust diploma.
Captivating RhineOct 29, 2020
Ray & Sue Verrill
Owners & Winemaker for Caudalie Crest Winery, Celina TX
It was 1996 when Ray took a job in Chicago with one of the world’s largest corporations, and moved the family to the US. After only a few years, a new opportunity sent them to Texas, the place that would steal their hearts and inspire their passions. While in McKinney, they lived through one of the most tragic times in American history – the September 11th terrorist attacks. It was then they decided to reevaluate what was truly important to their lives. During a candid conversion, Sue asked Ray, “If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?” Ray responded, “I’d like to make wine.” This was no surprise to Sue. He had been an amateur beer and winemaker since high school. Soon, Ray started attending Viticulture and Enology classes through Grayson County College. From there, Sue and Ray’s dream was born. They established Caudalie Crest Farm & Vineyard in the Cross Timbers region of Texas, north of Dallas. Somewhere in the process of forming Caudalie Crest, Sue was introduced to Dwarf Nigerian dairy goats and was immediately hooked. She now spends time breeding, raising, and selling goats. In fact, there is often a new set of kids to watch while enjoying a glass of wine.
Romantic DanubeNov 1, 2020
Mick, Deanna, Rosie & Gerry Wilson
Owners, Wilson Creek Winery Temecula Valley, CA
Wilson Creek is truly a family winery as nine family members help run the dynamic winery. Wilson Creek is known for its famous Almond Sparkling Wine but it also produces numerous award-winning red and white wines as well. The winery is consistently voted the most popular winery in Southern California Wine Country partially due to the hospitable staff, amazing restaurant, and beautiful winery grounds. On the wine cruises, Rosie and Gerryb Wilson host the cruise while Mick and Deanna Wilson facilitate the onboard wine tastings and wine paired dinners. Mick is a Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators as well as a Certificated Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Flavors of PortugalNov 3, 2020
Tom Eddy
Owner & Winemaker, Tom Eddy Winery, Calistoga, CA
Prior to starting the Tom Eddy label in 1991, Tom, with a degree in enology from UC Davis, was the winemaker for some of the largest and smallest wineries in California. As a recognized industry expert, and noteworthy writer about all things “Wine”, over the past 40 years Tom has left a personal stamp on many winery operations in Napa, Sonoma, Washington, Oregon and around the world. Kerry Eddy is also a UC Davis grad, and became the first female sommelier in Hawaii. Kerry later went to work for Wine Spectator magazine in New York as Director of Education and Information. Upon meeting Tom, she relocated to the Napa Valley and continued working for Wine Spectator in San Francisco. Today Tom Eddy Winery sits on 22 gorgeous acres of Napa County, 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Join Tom and Kerry Eddy on a magical experience: 4 nights in Spain visiting Madrid, Segovia, Penefiel and Salamanca, followed by a 7-night voyage down Portugal’s Douro River Valley. This is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday dedicated to food and fine wine.
Colors of ProvenceNov 5, 2020
Josh & Carrie Bendick
Co-Winemakers for Holly Hill Vineyards, Placerville, CA
Holly and Tom Cooper, owners, fell in love with the varieties of Southern France’s Rhone Valley when they shared a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape on their honeymoon. Years later, when they fulfilled their life long dream of planting a vineyard it was a natural choice to plant these very same grapes. As the vineyard was being planted, their daughter, Carrie learned the art of winemaking and met Josh Bendick, another aspiring winemaker along the way. They not only fell for each other but with the idea of crafting Rhone varietal wines. It’s been a love affair ever since. Together, the family produces wines from their mountainous El Dorado County vineyard. It sits at nearly 3000 feet in elevation and is located half way between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Join Carrie & Josh on this beautiful wine cruise along the Rhone!
Paris & NormandyNov 5, 2020
Thane Hawkins
Proprietor & Winemaker for Hawkins Cellars, Dundee OR
In 2002 Thane Hawkins reached a crossroads in his life. He had forged a very successful career in the animation industry, then took a leave of absence and moved to Oregon. There he fell in love with the slower lifestyle. In the Willamette Valley he discovered Pinot Noir. “I could taste the earth, the dirt, and the must in the wines, and of course the fruit!” Today Thane sources grapes from Yakima Valley and Columbia Gorge vineyards. “Of the places I find most intriguing for adventure and quality grapes, the Columbia Gorge has the greatest pull.” In 2013 he planted a Pinot Noir vineyard on Underwood Mountain property in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a region with a climate similar to Alsace. A winery and tasting room now operate, delivering the wines of Hawkins Cellars to an eager following. Join Thane Hawkins on a wine cruise down the beautiful Seine River, from Paris into Normandy. This is a delightful experience for lovers of fine wine, French cuisine and art history.
Taste of BordeauxNov 5, 2020
Anthony & Suzanne Truchard
Wine Educator & General Manager for Truchard Vineyards
Anthony, whose great-grandfather emigrated from France to the United States in the late 1800s, has always been proud of his French ancestry and is delighted to host this wine cruise through Bordeaux. Ever since he can remember, he has been working either in the vineyards or in the cellar at their Napa Valley vineyards. Whether pruning vines or racking wines, Anthony has experienced every aspect of winemaking from grape to bottle. He has traveled extensively through Bordeaux and the great wine regions of France to learn about French vineyards and winemaking techniques. Anthony pursued a career in law but always kept one foot in the wine business, whether as a consultant for restaurant wine programs or working weekends in a Manhattan wine shop. Anthony returned to Napa in 2005 to head the family’s winery. Join he and his wife Suzanne Marie Besu Truchard, who is Cuban and also of French ancestry, on this journey through Bordeaux.
Enchanting RhineNov 5, 2020
Fred Peterson & daughter Emily Peterson
Owner of Peterson Winery, Healdsburg, CA
Founder Fred Peterson began his winegrowing career 45 years ago with a vineyard apprenticeship in Mendocino County. After graduating UC Davis, and managing other peoples vineyards and wineries, Fred moved to Dry Creek Valley in 1983 to plant his own vineyards. Peterson Winery was established in 1987. Fred’s youngest child, Emily Peterson, comes from a restaurant management background, with a degree from UC Santa Cruz in environmental studies and sustainable agriculture. The passion for agriculture and experience in hospitality are the perfect combination for the sales manager and brand ambassador. Together, with Fred’s son Jamie, the three craft wines to reflect a sense of place and time, otherwise known as “No Soulless Wines”.
Enticing DouroNov 7, 2020
Ryan Levy & Ian Eastveld
Certified Sommeliers, Wine Educators & Le Cordon Bleu Trained Chefs, The Nice Winery, Houston, TX

Foodie superduo Ryan Levy and Ian Eastveld of The Nice Winery are Certified Sommeliers, wine educators, and Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs. Their hand crafted, boutique wines are poured in top restaurants and have won gold medals in internationally recognized wine competitions. Two of their wines have received 94 point and 92 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast Magazine and the Beverage Testing Institute, and were selected as Top 100 Cellar Selections. Ryan and Ian built their epicurean pedigree first while studying in Paris, France, then directing culinary education for Viking Ranges, teaching cuisine to thousands of students at Central Market, and operating their restaurant and catering companies, Republic and Nuance. They craft 14 award winning varietal wines in Texas, Argentina, and California’s Napa Valley and Paso Robles regions.
Gems of Southeast EuropeNov 8, 2020
Mark & Vickianne Vlossak
Founder & Winemaker, St. Innocent Winery, Jefferson, OR
Mark Vlossak is founder, president, and winemaker of St. Innocent Winery in Salem, Oregon. Mark's exposure to wine began at the age of seven when he began tasting wines daily with his father, a wine educator and importer. During his university training, he developed a love for Champagne. He was inspired to make wine after reading an article in 1983 suggesting that Oregon was an ideal place to make sparkling wine. Mark founded St. Innocent, Ltd. in 1988 and has been its winemaker and president since its inception. He was honored by the Wine Advocate in 2002 and again in 2004 as one of their "Wine Personalities of the Year." At St. Innocent, Mark produces 10,000 cases per year, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. However, Mark is best known for an impressive portfolio of single-vineyard Pinot noirs. In 2002, three of these Pinots earned 94-point scores from The Wine Advocate. This recognition was instrumental in helping St. Innocent reach the audience it has today. In addition to his love of wine, Mark is passionate about food and family and travels to France each year to learn both new techniques while versing himself in old world traditions.
Enchanting RhineNov 9, 2020
Steve & Karen Lutz
Owners of Lenne Estate Winery, Yamhill OR
Lenné Estate is the classic Willamette Valley winery: small, family-owned, entirely estate-grown, intensely focused on well-balanced Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that express soils and climate. Proprietor Steve Lutz spent his early 20s in Napa Valley, working and learning in cellars and tasting rooms at Beringer, Franciscan, Inglenook, Vichon and Merryvale. While in Napa, he made his first homemade pinot in 1986 and was immediately hooked on the challenges and rewards of pinot. After returning to Oregon to find a vineyard in 1999, Steve says: “I knew the minute we climbed into that pasture that this was an A+ site. What I didn’t know is how difficult it would be to farm.” After initially losing 1,000s of plants, the vineyard started to reveal why you grow Pinot Noir without any irrigation in difficult soils: delicious wines totally reflective of one specific place. And that unusual name? It’s a tribute to Karen’s father Lenny, who helped Steve and Karen put a down payment on that perfectly terrible hayfield. Over the years Lenné has earned dozens of accolades and 90 - 95 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Pinotfile, and the Prince of Pinot. Steve and Karen are particularly proud of being panel-selected as a Featured Winery at the prestigious IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) recently.
Captivating RhineNov 9, 2020
Katharina Anderson & Kara Krushin in honor of Paul Maroon
Owner & Vintner, Maroon Wines, Napa, CA

Paul Maroon was an extraordinarily gracious host and devoted family man who never met a person that didn’t become a fast friend. From his early agricultural roots working with his father in their produce business to later working with his uncle producing wine in Pennsylvania, his dream of creating his own boutique winery in Napa was realized in Maroon Wines. Paul’s passion for making excellent wine and his warmth in drawing people together were the keys to his success and he will be greatly missed. Join us in celebrating his extraordinary life and passion for wine, on the Captivating Rhine wine cruise onboard the AmaKristina
Enticing DouroNov 10, 2020
Paul and Maggie Bush
Owners of Madrona Vineyards, Camino CA.
From planting vineyards when 6 years old to now being a winemaker, Paul’s interest in wine was always rooted in the vine. His love of growing grapes naturally progressed to finding the purest expression of Madrona’s vineyards in the wine. Given the choice, he claims his office would be a tractor and his time would be spent in the field, as that is where the true quality of wine comes from. His minimalist approach to making wine makes him what he calls a “wine elaborator”; or more simply put, taste the vineyard, not the winemaker. Join Paul and Maggie as they take you on this wonderful wine journey along the Enticing Douro.
Colors of ProvenceNov 12, 2020
John & Jody Wrigley
Owners of J Wrigley Wines
Twelve years ago, a girl from Arizona decided to head to Oregon to sip Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. It was there she met an ambitious wine enthusiast who had a dream to plant his own vineyard and make World Class Wine. It was on that very weekend, John and Jody Wrigley met, fell in love, purchased 200 acres and started on a lifetime adventure. Twelve years later, and a whole lot of passion, these two have built a beautiful life in the heart of Oregon’s wine country. John has amassed numerous wine awards and Jody continues to promote and cheerlead her favorite winemaker. They invite you to join them on their adventure.
Taste of BordeauxNov 12, 2020
Jim Wilford
Winemaker & Co-owner of Fletcher Bay Winery
Jim Wilford began creating wine at his Bainbridge Island home back in 2008, using his garage as the winery and his waterfront cottage, on Fletcher Bay, as the tasting room. His first trip to Bordeaux, was in the Spring of that same year, prior to Fletcher Bay Winery’s first harvest in the Fall. He traveled with his daughter, Tara, to Saint-Emilion, located on the right bank of Bordeaux. Their goal was to taste and find the perfect Saint-Emilion style blend to release as the first red wine blend for Fletcher Bay Winery. Inspired by that journey, Jim began crafting full bodied, unfiltered red wines, as well as some flavorful whites and as Fletcher Bay Winery’s production and popularity increased, they moved the winery to its current location in 2012. Jim is excited to visit Bordeaux again, this time bringing along Fletcher Bay Winery followers and close friends and he is looking forward to meeting new friends on the beautiful AmaDolce.
Romantic DanubeNov 13, 2020
Susan Teppola
Owner & President, Laurel Ridge Winery, Carlton, OR
.Susan founded Laurel Ridge in 1986 with her husband David Teppola. Working as an attorney in Portland, Susan met David in 1980 and was immediately captivated by his life as a maverick vineyard developer and wine investor. Her first years on the farm included many rides on the tractor, wreath making from grape vine cuttings and being the crew boss during the inaugural harvest of 1986 (while 9 months pregnant!) It was only two years later that their youngest daughter Maija came along, turning Laurel Ridge into a true family operation. Susan and the girls made up the sales team in the early years of Laurel Ridge, with tastings across a picnic table on the vineyard. Susan took over the daily operations of Laurel Ridge after losing David in 2006 while continuing to maintain her career. Susan retired as an attorney in 2014 and is looking forward to you joining her on this Romantic Danube Wine Cruise.
Melodies of the DanubeNov 13, 2020
Rick & Bridget Hutchinson
Owners & Winemaker for Amphora Winery, Healdsburg CA
Amphora Winery owner/winemaker (and resident potter) Rick Hutchinson chose the name in honor of the clay wine jars of the ancient world. Rick’s philosophy, “Work year round with knowledge and passion to transform the best grapes into rich, delicious wines that are truly works of art” comes through in every wine he produces. After more than thirty vintages in Dry Creek Valley, his portfolio of small-lot wines includes more than a dozen varietals, embracing the appellation’s exemplary Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, while reimagining Old World rarities from the Rhone, Italy and Spain.
Melodies of the DanubeNov 15, 2020
Austin Hope
Winemaker & President of Hope Family Wines, Paso Robles Ca
Austin Hope grew up working alongside his father, inheriting his love and respect for the region. He led the family’s move into winemaking in 1995, and further exploration of Paso began. In 2000, Austin created the Austin Hope label, making very small productions of Rhône varietals. Today, Austin is showcasing an even greater sweep of the Paso region and expressing a similar richness in his Cabernet Sauvignon and his portfolio of wines including Treana, Liberty School, Troublemaker and Quest wines. In 2019 Hope was awarded “Wine Person of the Year” by the City of Paso Robles. Upon the inaugural release of the Austin Hope Cabernet, the wine was awarded 97 points, the highest rating ever given by Wine Enthusiast to a Paso Robles wine. Most recently, the 2017 Austin Hope Cabernet was chosen by Wine Enthusiast as #10 Top 100 Enthusiast Wines of the World and is the first time a Paso Robles wine has made the Wine Enthusiast Top 10.
Magna On The DanubeNov 15, 2020
Bradley Brown
Winemaker & Owner, Big Basin Vineyards, Boulder Creek, CA
Bradley Brown of Big Basin Vineyards is passionately driven to produce authentic and fascinating wines which represent the best of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine growing region. As a farmer, winemaker and owner, he oversees all aspects of production of his award-winning wines, crafting critically acclaimed bottlings that have captured the attention of major wine critics around the globe. Antonio Galloni writing for the Wine Advocate recently had this to say about Bradley, “Proprietor Bradley Brown crafts some of the most compelling, small-production artisan wines in California’s Central Coast. With each passing year, the wines are more refined and polished, making Big Basin one of the most dynamic up-and-coming wineries in the state.” Join Bradley on the AmaCello as he hosts “Spain and Provence” in April of 2019, imparting his knowledge of Rhone varietals and sharing his passion of all things wine with guests.
Enchanting RhineNov 16, 2020
Regional Wine Expert
Special wine cruise experience
Immerse yourself in the many flavors of Europe on one of AmaWaterways unique Wine Cruises, which let you add a unique, epicurean dimension to one of our European itineraries. Like our standard river cruises, guests have the opportunity to join tours that highlight the famous sights in each port of call. These special itineraries, however, offer guests a perfect blend of wine-related experiences and excursions in grand capitals and charming towns. You’ll taste local cuisine, discover how wine is made and, of course, partake in tastings — all at no additional cost. Whether you have a seasoned appreciation for fine wine, or simply indulge in a sip here and there, this is a wonderful way to uncork the traditions of the local culture and learn about the region you’re visiting.
Captivating RhineNov 16, 2020
Chuck & Sheri Bellante
Owners of Bellante Family Winery, CA
Bellante Family Winery is a boutique winery founded in 2000 by our winemaker and his wife, Chuck and Sheri Bellante. Our award winning wines focus on cool climate, single vineyard, Santa Barbara County fruit; specifically Viogniers, Pinot Noirs, and Rhone Reds. Chuck’s background in Chemical Process Engineering gives him a foundation for extracting all he can from these delicate grapes. The result is delicious, age-worthy wines that belong on any dinner table and in the most discriminating wine cellars. After 20 years in the dental industry as a RDA, Sheri now enjoys creating and producing events within our Mission Viejo, CA Tasting Room and handles the social media marketing. Her events are the talk of the town and usually sell out quickly.
Romantic DanubeNov 20, 2020
Bill Shinkle
Owner & Winemaker for Tranquil Heart Vineyard
Tranquil Heart Vineyards is nestled up against the San Jacinto Mountains. In 2009 Bill Shinkle, a 45-year horticulturist turned winemaker, planted a 15-acre vineyard specializing in Italian varieties, producing 3,000 cases of premium wines per year. Preserving old-world traditions, these amazing estate grown grapes are hand harvested, each vine hand pruned, with even the soil tended by hand. The wines made from these well-tended grapes won international awards in every competition we’ve entered. Tranquil Heart Vineyard is a Certified Craft Winery and a proud member of the Craft Wine Association. The Craft Wine Association is the only organization to certify hand-made limited production wines as Certified Craft Wine. We are dedicated to preserving the art and craft of winemaking. Through a groundbreaking partnership, the Craft Wine Association has joined with AMA Waterways to treat you to these rare and amazing wines onboard your ship. Don’t miss this first of its kind experience.
Melodies of the DanubeNov 20, 2020
Dr. Richard Becker
Owner of Becker Vineyards
Becker Vineyards was founded by Dr. Richard Becker, a physician in San Antonio, and his wife Bunny. Established in 1992, Becker is one of the original four wineries in Fredericksburg and today they are among the best known and highly respected brands in the state of Texas. Becker Vineyards’ wine has been served in the stateliest of settings, including seven times in the White House, the James Beard Foundation in New York, the Texas Governor’s Mansion and many other famous restaurants in Texas and the United States.
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