Wine Hosts


Your Wine Expert

One of the most wonderful aspects of our Celebration of Wine River Cruises is the opportunity to sail with an experienced wine expert. Their refined palates will allow your clients to swirl their glass and discover the unique notes of each varietal they sip, gain pairing recommendations and get answers to their questions about viticulture and more. Our Wine Hosts proudly bring bottles from either their winery or their favorite winery to conduct tastings and stimulate discussions on board. Most often sailing with members of their wine club, these hosts focus on highlighting the growing conditions and production techniques that create the unique characteristics of their wines as well as the differences between their bottles and those of the Old-World regions we sail through.

Oct 5, 2023
John & Carolyn Aver
Owners, Aver Family Vineyards

Under his grandmother’s influence, John Aver developed a passion for wine at an early age. John ventured into planting vineyards and making wine which evolved into a professional venture for both John and Carolyn. The highly-rated wines from Aver Family Vineyards feature Rhône varietals crafted from grapes that John grew on their estate using holistic farming practices. The Rhône region, especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape, produces his favorite wines.

Oct 22, 2023
Jean-Noel Fourmeaux & Matthew Regan
Proprietor and Managing Director, VGS Chateau Potelle

Jean-Noel Fourmeaux, Proprietor, VGS Chateau Potelle

Sent to the Napa Valley by the French government “to spy” for six months, Jean-Noel Fourmeaux reported back home “Looks good, I stay”. This son of Bordeaux created VGS Chateau Potelle 39 years ago on Mount Veeder in Napa Valley. Originally seduced by the exuberance and generosity of the Napa Valley fruit, Jean-Noel makes wines that have dimension, subtlety and definitive character. A true French-American blend, he travels the world sharing the culture of wine with his customers and friends, from Bordeaux where he is from, to South Africa, Europe, and beyond.

Matthew Regan, Managing Director, VGS Chateau Potelle

With 22 years experience at Chateau Potelle, Matthew has become the right hand to Jean-Noel’s left. Born and raised in New England, educated at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York, seasoned at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and maturing (at least trying) in the Napa Valley with his amazing wife Lindsay and twin daughters, Aubrey James & Madison Anne Marie. When not working at or drinking VGS, Matthew can be found in the hot tub or sleeping!

Oct 30, 2023
Elizabeth Filippi & Liz Barrett
Certified Specialists of Wine, Society of Wine Educators

Join Liz Barrett and Elizabeth Filippi, Certified Specialists of Wine awarded through the Society of Wine Educators, on an insider’s journey through the rich history and culture of wine, beer and cuisine of 5 countries along the beautiful Rhine river.

For more than 7 years Liz managed AmaWaterways’ Wine Cruises and helped build it to the award-winning level and experience it offers today. Elizabeth holds the degrees of Advanced Certified Sommelier with the International Sommelier Guild, French Wine Scholar with the Wine Scholar Guild, and is also pursuing her Italian Wine Scholar advanced certification.

They will be your co-hosts on the ship to combine their incredible passion and expertise for shining a light into the world of European wine culture with their fellow adventurers on board the elegant AmaSerena. This unique sailing is sure to dazzle all the senses and create extraordinary travel memories that will last a lifetime.

Nov 2, 2023
Jody Elsom
Co-owner & Winemaker for Elsom Cellars, Washington
Jody’s a travelling spirit. If you ask her what inspires her, you get a million glimpses of the world she’s seen. This old world teaches us a lot, if we slow down and let it. And, if we sit across a table from a stranger with a couple glasses of great wine, before long, it’s surprising how much we all share. Wine gathers its taste from everything it encounters. The earth. The air. Everything leaves a mark. So do people. Jody’s passion for wine began in the Napa Valley and further explored through numerous experiences in the vineyards and wineries throughout Italy and France. Formally educated as one of the first graduates from WSU’s extension studies of Enology. Jody has a passion for developing wines that best represent the possibilities for Washington Wines.
Nov 2, 2023
Chris Brundrett
CEO, William Chris Wine Company
Chris Brundrett has established himself in the Texas wine industry as one of the state's fastest-rising young winemakers. While earning a horticulture degree from Texas A&M University, Chris spent time in the Hill Country, acquiring experience in the winery and the vineyard. He then quickly proceeded to take on head winemaking responsibilities for several wine labels, managing vineyard properties in both the Hill Country and the High Plains of Texas before deciding to start William Chris with partner Bill Blackmon in 2008. Ten years later in 2018, Wine Enthusiast Magazine tapped him as a winemaker that is changing the face of American wine, and in 2020 Chris was selected as one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40, an honor that highlights individuals who are shaping the future of the beverage and hospitality industry. Today, Chris is the Chief Executive Officer for William Chris Wine Company, which he co-founded with fellow winemaker and business partner Andrew Sides in October 2020.
Nov 2, 2023
Jeff & Sonya Branco
Owners, Branco Cellars

Jeff Branco is the third American to graduate from the University of Bordeaux’s prestigious Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology program since its founding by Louis Pasteur over 140 years ago. He translated the university’s Handbook of Enology, a worldwide winemaker’s reference.

Jeff has helped shape quality grape growing and winemaking in Paso Robles. He is the first winemaker in the Paso Robles region to make the Wine Spectator Top 10 list out of over 15,000 wines and the only Justin winemaker to have every received a 95 Robert Parker score. He has garnered over thirty scores in the 90’s in the Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast. Jeff fuses his French training with his Californian winemaking experience to create Bordeaux style wines with a California twist.

Nov 2, 2023
Marty & Mimi Moseley
Owners, Mosely Family Cellars
With encouragement from friends and family, our dream to establish Moseley Family Cellars was born. We eagerly established ourselves in the Redding business community and shared our love of fine handcrafted wines. The result was a great wine experience. We chose to search out the best grapes from top quality vineyards throughout California (Napa, Sonoma, Lake County) and Southern Oregon to create our sought-after wines. Purchasing grapes, as opposed to growing them ourselves, granted us the flexibility to craft our wines exactly the way we wanted. In our Moseley Family winery, we take top-quality grapes from the harvest to the crush, through fermentation, all the way through aging to bottling.
Nov 4, 2023
Karl & Carole Dinger
Owners of Terra Vina Wines, Wilsonville, Oregon
In their early 20’s, Karl & Carole moved to California’s Bay Area, enjoying the region’s big red wines. A trip to Italy in the early 80’s inspired them to become home winemakers as their grandfathers once did. Relocating to Oregon in 1996, they found the local Pinot Noirs dissatisfying, so they planted a small vineyard to produce wine for their own consumption. Soon, as fermenting wine carboys took over the house, they transitioned to a custom crush facility nearby. For the last 16 years this boutique winery has produced award winning reds year after year. The first to plant Cabernet Franc in the valley, their signature wine is produced from their Estate vineyard as well as vineyards in Washington. Current offerings include Estate Grown Pinot Noir Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Dolcetto, and Eastern Washington sourced Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. Join them on this Captivating Rhine Wine Cruise.
Nov 4, 2023
Nov 4, 2023
Gregory Barnett
Owner & Winemaker, NABU Wines
NABU Wines has been an amazing adventure for Greg Barnett. After taking a 3-year break from making wine in Paso Robles, in 2012 Greg was fortunate to be able to pick from local vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains within the Malibu Coast AVA and later harvest in the Napa Valley to begin his new venture. If you haven’t figured it out already that is why the winery is called NABU. Since his first harvest, Greg’s main focus in Malibu has been producing Red Blends, due to the small yields of varietals harvested from the surrounding vineyards from the ocean to the highest ridges in the mountains. In Napa, NABU is based in St. Helena and produces wine up and down the Valley and now in Mendocino County and will return to producing wine from Paso Robles in harvest 2023. NABU has been voted Best Winery and Wine Tasting in 2022 by The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and The Ventura County Star.
Nov 5, 2023
Marc & Marta Chase
Co-Owners, Barons Creek Vineyards, Fredericksburg, TX
Barons Creek Vineyards was started back in 2016 as an extended family venture of the Chase Family. In 2018, Marc and Marta Chase took over full ownership and management of Barons Creek with the help of Texas Wine Maker Russell Smith, Certified Sommelier Anthony Makoujy and a team of over 50 employees that operate four separate locations throughout Texas. Certified Sommelier Anthony Makoujy relocated from Napa Valley, CA to join the BCV team back in 2016 and will officially represent Barons Creek throughout all educational components of the cruise along with several other members of the Barons Creek Vineyards team. Club members tell us that Anthony has a very entertaining & engaging way of making wine much more approachable and fun for wine lovers across the board
Nov 6, 2023
Nov 7, 2023
Paul & Merrill Bonarrigo
Owners, Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Bryan, TX

Messina Hof is the most awarded and renowned Texas wine in national and international competitions. In a community steeped in tradition, Messina Hof Winery & Resort holds its own with a 200-year history of award-winning wines. Although the winery itself was officially established when with the first vintage release in 1983, the rich wine heritage of Winemaker Paul Bonarrigo dates back six generations to Messina, Sicily. Merrill Bonarrigo’s family originates from Hof, Germany. Together they have pioneered the Texas wine industry in creating premium wines of distinction and a landmark wine country destination.
Nov 9, 2023
Mark A. Newman
CEO of Accolade Brands Inc. & SteakHouse Vineyards
Mark A. Newman is CEO of Accolade Brands Inc. & SteakHouse Vineyards. In addition to producing wine in California, Mark also has produced wine in the Loire Valley in France called Perle de Mer Muscadet. Additionally, Mark has recently judged with Gambero Rosso for the prestigious Tre Bicchieri awards in Rome, Italy.

In his over 40 years in the wine industry, he has owned the largest wine & spirits retail chain in Arizona, held key California winery positions as well as senior level executive positions in the wine distributing business. He received his education at the University of Southern California and is a member of several wine industry trade groups. Mark was inducted into the prestigious Commanderie de Bontemps du Medoc et Graves recognizing his years of dedication to the Bordeaux wine industry, and is Maitre-Conseil of Gastronomy, an honor bestowed by the French Minister of Agriculture, a member of the Society of Wine Educators. Mark has judged the Los Angeles International Wine Competition for 26 consecutive years, and he also judges the California State Fair, the San Diego International Wine Competition, and the San Diego Toast of the Coast Competition.
Nov 9, 2023
Theodora Lee
Owner, Theopolis Vineyards, Yorkville, CA
Ms. Theodora Lee, known in the wine world as Theopatra, Queen of the Vineyards is the founder and owner of Theopolis Vineyards. In 2001 she bought land in Anderson Valley, California and planted her first grapes in 2003. In an ode to her Greek sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, she named her vineyard, Theopolis Vineyards. Her first harvest received 94-96 points from Wine Critic Robert Parker. Ms. Lee decided to bottle her own wines in 2014. In addition to bottling Petite Sirah, Theopolis Vineyards strikes a lighter note by bottling a Symphony, a white wine grape, which is a crossing of Muscat and Grenache Gris. Ms. Lee also bottles the unique Rosé of Petite Sirah, a Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir, a Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, a Cuvee Blanc and a Cuvee Cerise. The 2018 Estate Grown Theopolis Vineyards Petite Sirah has received 96 Points from Wine Enthusiast, and Cellar Selection, ranking it No. 16 in the Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2021.
Nov 9, 2023
Anna Marie Dos Remedios
Co-Owner and Winemaker, Idle Hour Winery, Oakhurst CA

Anna Marie dos Remedios began making wine in 2007, focusing on small lot, single-vineyard designated wines from some of California’s best wine grape growing regions. She studied at the prestigious UC Davis winemaking program to better understand the chemistry of wine and winemaking. Anna Marie and partner Deb Payne started Idle Hour Winery focusing on traditional methods, native yeast fermentation, gravity flow racking and use of neutral French Oak barrels. The result is an elegance and freshness which are the hallmarks of the smooth and subtle Idle Hour vintages. The winery is located in Oakhurst, just outside the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. The site is home to both the Idle Hour Winery and Queen’s Inn by the River, an 8 room boutique hotel with wine bar and beer garden. Idle Hour Winery opened a tasting room in Carmel Valley in the heart of Monterey County last year to promote their Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs as well.
Nov 11, 2023
Tim Mosher
Winemaker, School House Vineyard, St Helena, CA
School House Vineyard is a Napa Valley treasure, an historic, boutique winery that has produced vintages every year since the 1950’s, with a specialty in fine Pinot Noir. Native Iowan Tim Mosher came to Napa in 1981 to learn about wine, working the harvest and crush at the historic Beringer Brothers Winery. That experience turned into a remarkable career. Since 2016 Tim has overseen winemaking and production at School House Vineyard, high on Spring Mountain in St. Helena.
Nov 12, 2023
Guy Davis
Owner & Winemaker
Nov 12, 2023
Chris Zazo
Hailstone Vineyards
Chris Zazo grew up on a farm and has long understood the inextricable link between the earth, elements, and what it provides. In fact, it was weather that helped his Dallas-based company Aspemark Roofing & Solar experience tremendous growth over the past 15 years. Chris has always wanted to pay homage to what helped him achieve personal and professional success, with weather the driving force. Hailstone Vineyards is the realization of that dream. Hailstone Vineyards is a boutique winery with a line of vintages that seamlessly transition from a sunset boat cruise to fine dining. Since its start in 2012, Hailstone's unique vintages are a direct result of producing small lots of premium wine from varying regions of the valley. From a Napa-style sauvignon blanc to their unique take on a classic Napa Valley cabernet, Hailstone boasts professional nods from TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
Nov 14, 2023
John & Jody Wrigley
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.
Nov 16, 2023
Byron Dooley
Co-Owner, Seven of Hearts Vineyard
Byron and Dana Dooley transitioned from high tech in 2001 to follow their passions in wine and chocolate. He studied enology and viticulture at Napa Valley College, interned for a respected Pinot noir producer in Sonoma, planted a small vineyard on Howell Mountain in Napa, and produced wine from that vineyard. After Byron earned his winemaking degree, he and Dana were drawn to Oregon’s Willamette Valley for its beauty, climate, and remarkable Pinot noir. In 2004, they purchased and planted the 12-acre Luminous Hills Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, a property once owned by Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple Computers.
Byron works with many growers and sources Pinot noir from distinctive vineyards within the sub-AVAs of the Willamette Valley, producing single vineyard Pinot noirs, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling with site focus as well as blends that capture the broader expression of each vintage in the Willamette Valley. Byron also makes wines from the Columbia Valley (both Oregon and Washington) from sources that are ideal for the warm weather varietals he also loves, including Bordeaux varietals, Rhone varietals, and many others. The winemaking philosophy and approach for each wine to reflect the place and vintage where it was grown, modeled after traditional old-world wines. What this means in terms of practice is natural methods such as native yeast fermentation, whole cluster fermentation where appropriate, minimal intervention and no additives.
Nov 16, 2023
Randy Fitzpatrick
Owner & Sommelier, Petit Bill’s Bistro
Randy, an AC Business and Hospitality Management Program graduate, has opened dozens of various restaurants and food service operations including O’Toole’s, Olive Garden, Famous Players Theatres, Dave & Buster’s, and many independent operations throughout Ontario and the United States before, In 2007, opening Petit Bill’s Bistro with his brother Terry. Petit Bill’s has been recognized numerous times for their wine list, especially for supporting local (Ontario) VQA wines. In addition to teaching the advanced Sommelier program since 2009, Randy has helped develop the Sommelier program from a Community College Certificate program to a provincially-recognized Ontario College Certificate program. He currently teaches the Sommelier Advanced course.
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