Wine

Hosts

HOST YEAR
2019|2020
Mar 19, 2020
A.J. Eisiminger
Director of Jessup Cellars, CSW, Certified Sommelier & Level 3 WSET
Director of Jessup Cellars, A.J. Eisiminger, is the son of Roy and Cheri Eisiminger, one of four owner families of the Good Life Wine Collective. A.J. is a Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW), and Level 3 Advanced WSET educator. Born in Royal Oak, Michigan he moved to the Napa Valley at a young age with his parents. Growing up in the Napa Valley and becoming part of Jessup Cellars and Handwritten vintner families inspired A.J. to become deeply involved in the family business. He pursued a formal wine education, enabling him to deliver a more thoughtful experience for guests. A.J. has worked throughout the Good Life Wine Collective, including the cellar, office, and virtually every position in the Jessup Cellars Tasting Galley. Join A.J. and the team from Jessup Cellars and Handwritten on this voyage down France’s Rhone River from Lyon to Arles, a once-in-a-lifetime wine experience. This holiday journey 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, experience new and old world wines, fabulous French cuisine, the charming cities and towns of France’s Rhone River Valley.
Mar 19, 2020
Robin Cooper
Wine expert & Director of Hospitality for Behrens Family Winery, St Helena CA
Robin has been the Director of Hospitality & Customer Relations for Behrens Family Winery since 2006, representing Les Behrens and Lisa Drinkward’s award-winning wines. Robin will speak about Behrens’ hand-crafted wines, gently transferred in their unfiltered state from barrel to bottle. These tiny production red wines produced on Spring Mountain in Napa are sourced from special low yielding vineyard sites from growers throughout the Napa Valley and a few from Sonoma County as well, and has partnered other with vineyards obsessed with producing extremely high-quality fruit. Join Robin on a voyage of discovery down the beautiful Seine River as she compares her own Napa Valley wines versus those of France. This voyage is of special appeal to lovers of art, history and the fantastic Norman cuisine that so inspired Julia Child.
Mar 19, 2020
Dan Paynter
Wine Expert & GM for Zerba Cellars, Walla Walla, WA
Zerba Cellars is a family owned, estate winery located in the heart of the Walla Walla Valley in Washington. The three estate vineyards are in the appellation’s most exciting viticultural areas, including The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. Each vineyard and grape varietal has a unique characteristic and contributes to the quality, complexity and balance of the individual wines. A native of Oregon, Dan Paynter grew up helping his grandparents with their retail nursery business. After graduating with a degree in Production Horticulture he went on to farm outside Portland. A total departure led to a successful career in the hospitality industry. The budding Oregon Wine Industry provided Dan with a pathway to work both with plants and customers. For the past 25 years he has been striving to promote wines from the Pacific Northwest. Over the past decade Dan has focused on building the Zerba brand and is currently their General Manager.
Mar 20, 2020
Rebecca Sciandri Griffin
The Sciandri Family purchased 20 acres of untouched pasture in Napa in 1992. It was not long before they planted our first Cabernet Sauvignon field and started their Napa adventure in wine. Their family winemaking roots can be traced back to the small town of La Quercia, Italy, in Northern Tuscany, where their ancestors have been making wine for generations. As a family they strive to operate their winery with some of those same Old World values. They are proud to farm and source all of their fruit from the Coombsville AVA, (the 16th, and one of Napa Valley’s newest sub appellations). Sciandri Family Vineyards offers an Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville Cuvee, a Rose, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a special 4 barrel production of a wine called “Nello”. The 4+ acre vineyard on the 20 acre estate is allied with the Napa Green Certified Land Program, which includes a certification for Fish Friendly Farming. The family focuses on sustainable practices related to soil, drainage, wildlife and more. The Sciandri Family invites you to join them on this incredible Wine Cruise on the Danube.
Mar 22, 2020
Earl & Hilda Jones
Abacela Vineyards and Winery Roseburg, Oregon
About Earl Jones, Owner and General Manager of Abacela Vineyards and WineryIt started with a chance encounter – a bottle of Pouilley-Fuissé – and resulted in founding the first award winning Spanish varietal winery in America. As a research physician-immunologist, Earl put his research skills to work and after three years landed in the oak savannahs of Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley. The vineyards and winery were established in 1994/1995 and by 1998, self-taught winemaker Earl produced America’s first internationally acclaimed tempranillo wine. Tempranillo’s success led to further trials of old world wine, and Albariño and other novel wines have joined the offering.
About Hilda Jones, Vice President of Abacela Vineyards and Winery While Earl’s dream was to make great wine, Hilda’s was to live on a farm. She left a career in medical technology to help Earl follow the dream that became Abacela Winery. Early years found Hilda working every job in the vineyard and winery, including managing the tasting room. When Hilda and Earl decided to build a new tasting room in 2010, “It was our goal to make each guest’s visit an experiential one.”
Both Earl and Hilda are active in the Southern Oregon Winery Association, the Oregon Wine Board, and other wine trade associations.
Mar 23, 2020
Chris Madrigal
Owner & Winemaker, Madrigal Family Winery, Calistoga CA
Since the late 1930's, three generations of the Madrigal family have farmed some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyards. Today, the company is run by Chris Madrigal, the founder's grandson, and vintner of Madrigal Family Winery. The family history is a constant source of inspiration, and guides him in the winemaking now. The long relationship they’ve had with the land and the people and believing that the combined wisdom of the folks who’ve been there for generations along with a deep appreciation of the vineyards can be tasted in their wine. Join Chris Madrigal as he takes you along this Captivating Rhine Wine Cruise!
Mar 23, 2020
To be announced
Please check back for updates.
Mar 26, 2020
Mike & Melissa Owen
Owners
Mike Owen’s lifelong wine journey has taken him from California to France, from the cellar to the judging table, from a wine aficionado to a wine businessman. Mike and his wife Melissa own and operate Crystal Basin Cellars in the Sierra Foothills of the El Dorado appellation. Working with almost 20 different grapes provides an extensive line-up of award-winning wines. Mike has great success with Rhone varieties planted at high elevations. You can literally taste the difference on these flavorful wines. Who doesn’t want to talk about and sip great Syrah and Mourvedre? Mike’s palate, easygoing informative approach, plus his serious, wine-geeky patter all set him up to be an All-Star host for AmaWaterways. Crystal Basin’s winemaking history extends back nearly 40 years. Mike and Melissa lived on the Cote-d Azur for three years in the 90s. This was their playground – let them share their enthusiasm on an unforgettable trip.
Mar 26, 2020
Rob & Paula Campbell-Taylor
Owners, Graveyard Vineyards, San Miguel, CA

While living in Santa Barbara, Rob and Paula dreamed of owning property in the country to raise their two 2 young sons. After searching the California coast, Rob took Paula for a visit to Paso Robles Wine Country and she was hooked after seeing the beautiful countryside and the downtown square that reminded her of her Midwestern roots. Paula discovered an 81-acre property on the top of a hill past a little country graveyard dating back to 1865. The property had everything on their list of “must haves” including an existing vineyard. The biggest find though came soon after when they discovered their winemaker, Jason Bushong. What started with 184 case bottling in 2006 is now an award-winning winery and tasting room with direct to consumer sales of 5,000 cases per year to a wine club of over 2,000 people.
Mar 26, 2020
Oak Knoll District Of Napa Valley
  • Dallas Brennan, VP Direct Sales, John Anthony Vineyards
  • Brian Cunat, Proprietor, Materra Cunat Family Vineyards
  • Doug Hill, Proprietor, Hill Family Estate
  • Ellen & Gary Luchtel, Vintner & Winemaker, Fortunati Vineyards
Mar 26, 2020
Frank Ostini
Owner, Chef & Winemaker for Hitching Post Winery, Buellton CA
Frank Ostini grew up in and around the Casmalia Hitching Post, his family’s steakhouse in central California, in operation since 1952. With high acclaim from an influential roster of international journalists and devoted fans, Frank has become the regional spokesman for Santa Maria Style BBQ, where meats are grilled over a red oak fire. This type of specialty outdoor cooking is a time-honored ritual in the Santa Ynez Valley. Specializing in this traditional wood-fire barbecue, Frank expanded the family’s original menu to cook most anything over the embers at his hugely popular Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton, California. In 1984, Frank and partner Gray Hartley partnered to produce Hitching Post Wines, with a focus on Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Both the restaurant and the winery received widespread international attention since they were featured in the Academy Award® winning film Sideways in 2004 which impacted both businesses. Today the winery has 1200 barrels and makes about 17,000 cases a year. “When we started to make wine I had one purpose,” says Frank. “To get good wine on my family restaurant’s table – wine that I produced. Doing the food and wine is all I ever wanted to do, and it’s still all I ever really want to do.” Join Frank and his wife Jami Ostini on this special wine cruise along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, visiting Switzerland, French Alsace, Germany and Luxembourg.
Mar 27, 2020
Andre & Allison Crisp
President & CEO of Luna Vineyards, Silverado Trail in Napa, CA
Luna Vineyards’ pioneering roots began at its estate on the Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley over two decades ago. Luna celebrates that same innovative vision today with winery President, Andre Crisp, and award-winning winemaker, Shawna Miller’s dedication to the production of premium wines. Long known and loved as producers of Pinot Grigio, of which Robert Parker has said “There is no better Pinot Grigio being produced in the New World than Luna’s,” the estate collection reflects the diversity in Luna’s winemaking abilities. Since its inception, the winery has focused on quality and innovation, with the utmost respect for the land. Join Andre on this Romantic Danube Wine Cruise
Mar 29, 2020
Mark Jessup, owner of J Gregory Wines, Napa Valley & Chef Bob Hurley, Napa Valley Chef
Owner of J Gregory Wines, Napa CA
Mark Jessup, third generation born and raised in Napa Valley. He started his winemaking career 41 years ago at Inglenook Winery. It was there he decided that winemaking would be his life career. He went on to work with the cellar team at Robert Mondavi and Opus One. In 1996, Mark launched his first winery, Jessup Cellars in Yountville, California. Mark enjoyed this until 2005 when he decided to “slow his soul down” and sold Jessup Cellars to launch J Gregory Cellars. J Gregory, a 2000 case production, is named after Mark’s third son, Jonathan Gregory Jessup.
Mar 30, 2020
Russian River Valley Winegrowers
  • Greg Morthole, Winemaker, David Bynum
  • Greg Stach, Winemaker, Landmark Vineyards
  • Jacqueline Balletto, 3rd Generation Vintner, Balletto Vineyards
  • Carol Kozlowski-Every, Winery Executive Chef, Dutton Estate Winery
  • Giovanni Balistreri, Winemaker, Russian River Vineyards
Mar 30, 2020
Kathy Joseph
Owner and Winemaker for Fiddlehead Cellars
Featured prominently in the iconic movie Sideways, Fiddlehead Cellars’ owner and winemaker Kathy Joseph is recognized as a pioneer among female winemakers. With unbridled passion and enthusiasm, Kathy creates stylistic Sauvignon Blanc and silky, textural Pinot Noir. She produces about 5,000 cases of wine at Fiddlehead annually, infusing her personal touch in each grape cluster, barrel of wine and bottle that finds its way to the table. Her quest is simple: to incorporate European beauty into these New-World varietals by working with grapes grown in the ideal spot and wines managed with great care and respect in the cellar. All varietals, including Grüner Veltliner from Austria, are celebrated for their successful Old-World pedigree; all have the potential to convey sensory elegance and have proven to gratify a broad range of discriminating palates. Join Kathy and her husband Tom as they lead you along the Danube River, exploring this rich wine region.
Mar 31, 2020
Scott Steingraber
Owner & Winemaker, Kriselle Cellars, White City, OR

Scott Steingraber, owner and winemaker of Kriselle Cellars, is passionate about his craft. He began making wine over 20 years ago and through his exploration of wine, discovered the incredible viticulture area of the Rogue Valley Appellation of Southern Oregon. His drive to create exceptional wines of exquisite character and quality followed that discovery and forged a new path for Scott. He transitioned from his career in engineering to the launch of Kriselle Cellars in 2009, and quickly became known for his distinctive, premium hand-crafted wines. Scott’s creations at Kriselle Cellars are enjoying a reputation of excellence, garnering scores and awards from the most prestigious reviewers and competitions both nationally, and internationally. He is joined by his wife Kris, the namesake of the winery, in the formation of their elegant wine tasting facility, just north of Medford Oregon. Scott loves to share his wine, as much as he enjoys making it.
Apr 2, 2020
Adam Lee
Owner & Winemaker for Clarice Wine Company, Windsor CA
Adam Lee is the founder of Clarice Wine Company. His career in wine began in 1989, working at a retail store in Austin, Texas. After promoting wines to local restaurants, he became a wine distributor sales rep, eventually becoming the Wine Buyer at Neiman Marcus in Dallas. There he met Dianna Novy. They married and in 1993 moved to California. They started their own brand Siduri Wines, focusing on Pinot Noir. Siduri Wines quickly became one of California’s premier Pinot Noir producers, growing from 107 cases in 1994 to 25,000 cases in 2015. The Lee family grew as well, with the addition of children Christian, Amber and Truett. In January of 2015, the Lees sold Siduri Wines to Jackson Family Winery. Dianna has gone on to launch her own sparkling wine brand, Flaunt Wine Company, with Adam staying on as winemaker for Siduri. Adam has now introduced Clarice Wine Company as his own small, heartfelt project, and consults for several wineries including Roar Wine Company, Peake Ranch, Bucher Vineyards, and J. Cage Winery. Join Adam Lee on a voyage of discovery down the beautiful Seine River, embarking from Paris through the historic countryside and villages of Normandy.
Apr 2, 2020
Family owned Robert Young Estate Winery, Alexander Valley, CA.
Family owned and operated
Robert Young’s success is built on generosity and connecting with people, whether that be family, friends, employees, colleagues, or guests visiting the ranch. Fred Young and his siblings founded Robert Young Winery in 1997 to continue the family tradition of excellence and hospitality. Today, visitors to our Geyserville winery in Alexander Valley are welcomed as members of the extended family and invited to experience the beauty of the vineyard ranch and the wines inspired by Robert Young. Join members of the family on this magical wine cruise through Bordeaux
Apr 2, 2020
Dan McDonnal & Alix Bosch
Owners of De Tierra Vineyards
Dan and Alix share a love for adventure and travel, both having logged countless miles visiting many countries and learning about local customs and cultures along the way. Alix has lived in both Germany and France and is fluent in both languages. Dan has spent the majority of his life in the agriculture industry. Through their various journeys, they’ve developed a love of wine and especially enjoy finding small boutique wineries and rare or unusual varietals from around the world. Dan enjoys learning about growing and production techniques used in the many wine regions of the world. Alix enjoys experiencing the various styles and varietals found throughout the world. It seems only natural that both would end up settling in Carmel California and own a boutique winery of their own. De Tierra Vineyards reflects Dan and Alix’s passion for small production, premium quality wines that bridge new world techniques and old world style.
Apr 2, 2020
Jeff & Diane Cranor
Owners, Nottingham Cellars, Livermore, CA
Nottingham Cellars is passionate about and dedicated to producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties and blends from the Livermore Valley. Our mission is simple – produce premier wines by partnering with vineyards that have tailored farming regimens that best express their site. Our efforts to achieve excellence have no end in sight.
Apr 6, 2020
Regional Wine Expert
To Be Announced
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.
Apr 6, 2020
Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance
Sonoma County, CA

  • Ana Keller, Estate Director, Keller Estate
  • Evan Pontoriero, Co-Owner, Fogline Vineyards
  • Alexandre Remy, Winemaker, Agnitio Wines
  • Rickey Trombetta Stancliff, CEP & Co-Owner & Erica Stancliff, Winemaker, Trombetta Family Wines
  • Apr 7, 2020
    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.
    Apr 9, 2020
    Rob Griffin

    When Rob Griffin arrived in Washington in 1977 the state’s wine industry consisted of less than 10 producers. Nearly 40 years later, that number approaches 800 wineries. Washington state is now second only to California in the USA wine and grape production. Rob has more years of production experience in country than any other Washington winemaker and, along with his wife Deborah Barnard, has guided Barnard Griffin Winery to be one of the largest and most respected family-owned producers in the state.
    Apr 9, 2020
    Paul Wagner
    Wine Educator, Lecturer, Author

    Paul Wagner has been a college instructor in Napa Valley for the past seventeen years, is a regular columnist for wine publications, and serves as the president of Balzac Communications and Marketing. He is also a highly regarded guest lecturer at universities throughout the world on wine and wine-related business, communications and marketing. He co-authored Wine Marketing & Sales: Success Strategies for a Saturated Market and was honored in 2009 with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino in Spain.
    Apr 30, 2020
    Mark Hoover
    Winemaker
    What does sincerity and truth have to do with wine? — It’s this: We carefully source all the ingredients from our wines. We make our wines in small batches. We care about hand-crafting. And we do all of this because of you. Carefully sourcing all the ingredients for our wines means better wine that’s better for you. Hand-crafted small batches means we have more control over quality and we can make a wine just for you. We got into this business because we noticed that even though wineries told us they cared, they still put their name on wines that weren’t tasty and reliable, year over year. We knew we could do better. Integrity is not just about the wine itself. It’s about everyone who helped create this wine experience. It’s complete when we add you. That’s integrity. Join Mark on a luxurious wine cruise along the Rhine and Moselle rivers.
    Jul 2, 2020
    Dan Panella
    Owner/Winemaker, 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.
    Jul 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 Sonoma County has to offer. 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.
    Jul 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. Join Jeff and Margie as they explore the Enticing Douro in 2018.
    Jul 23, 2020
    Sherman & Michelle Thacher
    Owners
    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.
    Jul 23, 2020
    Markus Niggli
    Winemaker, Borra Vineyards, Lodi, CA

    Swiss-born Markus Niggli joined Borra Vineyards in 2006 and quickly ascended from cellar master to winemaker. Markus blends old-world winemaking techniques with progressive viticultural practices, a unique and natural approach to winemaking that has created critically-acclaimed whites which distinctly showcase the Lodi wine appellation.
    Jul 27, 2020
    Robin & Lesa Ray
    Owners
    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!
    Jul 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!
    Jul 30, 2020
    Dan & Ellen Kessler
    Owner and winemaker
    vDan 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.
    Aug 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!
    Aug 13, 2020
    Aug 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.
    Aug 20, 2020
    Keith & Trudy Kramer
    Owners and winemaker
    TBA
    Aug 27, 2020
    To be announced.
    Oct 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!
    Oct 15, 2020
    To be announced
    Please check back for updates.
    Oct 29, 2020
    Amelia Ceja
    President, Ceja Vineyards Napa, Ca
    In 1967, Amelia Morán Ceja emigrated to the U.S. to join her father, a farmworker, who toiled for years in California’s vineyards. Today she’s crossing another border, turning wine consumers into wine aficionados with her subtle blend of viticulture, down-home cuisine and a Web-based marketing campaign. Ceja Vineyards was founded by Amelia and her partners in Napa Valley in 1999; she became the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery. The California legislature recognized Amelia as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business.” Amelia’s commitment to marketing ethics and corporate responsibility has been acknowledged. She received the coveted 2013 Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketer Award. She has been successful in the growth of the Ceja Vineyards brand, using marketing innovation and creativity. In February 2016, Amelia received the 2016 Dolores Huerta Farmworker Justice Award for her and her company’s commitment to promoting the value and fair treatment of farmworkers.
    Oct 29, 2020
    Michael Lewellen
    Managing Partner at Lucas & Lewellen Winery, Solvang, CA
    Coming Soon!
    Oct 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.
    Oct 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.
    Nov 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.
    Nov 3, 2020
    Tom Eddy
    Owner & Winemaker, Tom Eddy Winery, Calistoga, CA
    A lifelong Californian, Tom Eddy completed his enology degree at the University of California Davis in 1974, part of a group of talented 1970’s grads credited for the meteoric rise in the quality of California wines. Prior to starting the Tom Eddy label in 1991, Tom 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 Specator in San Francisco. Nowadays, Kerry can often be found in the tasting room or teaching art at the local elementary school. Kerry’s artwork adorns the premises. True to his passion of artistic winemaking, Tom and his wife Kerry constructed a classically designed, efficient, yet small winery, along with a beautiful cave dug deep into the mountain. Today Tom Eddy Winery sits on 22 gorgeous acres of Napa County, 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The Cabernet Sauvignon produced from these vineyards is rich, flavorful and elegant, with intense fruit flavor and a rich complex structure. 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.
    Nov 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!
    Nov 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.
    Nov 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 in their Napa Valley vineyards. Whether pruning vines or racking wines, Anthony has experienced every aspect of winemaking from grape to bottle. Anthony has traveled extensively through Bordeaux and the great wine regions of France to learn about French vineyards and winemaking techniques. He 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.
    Nov 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”.
    Nov 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.
    Nov 8, 2020
    Mark & Vickianne Vlossak
    Founder & Winemaker
    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.
    Nov 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.
    Nov 9, 2020
    To be announced.
    Nov 10, 2020
    Paul and Maggie Bush
    Owners of Madrona Vineyards, Camino CA.

    ABOUT PAUL BUSH
    Having planted vineyards when I was 6 years old and now being a winemaker, some might assume a classic Hollywood-like progression. However, I am not the “poster boy” for the wine industry. In fact, having grown up in the family’s vineyards and winery, I couldn’t wait to do something, or anything, different. I did indeed graduate from UC Davis in 1989, but my degree is in Macro Economics. So then, how does one succeed “escaping” the wine industry and then find himself some 25 years later owning vineyards and two wineries? Personal evolution (yep, that sounds good!). My interest in wine is rooted in vine. I love growing grapes and then finding the purest expression of our vineyards in the wine. This expression of our terroir is only found if we do the best job in the vineyards and take a minimalist approach in the winery. This means that I am less a winemaker and more a “wine elaborator.” Or more simply put, taste the vineyard, not the winemaker! Personally, one cannot ask for a more fulfilling quality of life than owning a winery. I get to work every day with my wife Maggie (whose background is finances). She runs the wineries and I make the wines. Add to this that we work with wonderful people, live in a beautiful region, and get to enjoy the fruits of our labors in a glass, and I suppose we do live the dream. And that has been the personal evolution.
    Nov 12, 2020
    John & Jody Wrigley
    Owners
    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 12, 2020
    Jim Wilford
    Winemaker & Co-owner
    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.
    Nov 13, 2020
    Nov 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.
    Nov 15, 2020
    To be announced.
    Nov 16, 2020
    To be announced.
    Nov 16, 2020
    To be announced.
    Nov 20, 2020
    To be announced.
    Nov 20, 2020
    To be announced.
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