Wine

Hosts

HOST YEAR
2020|2021|2022
Mar 25, 2021
Mar 27, 2021
Mar 29, 2021
Apr 1, 2021
Jul 1, 2021
Jul 8, 2021
Jul 17, 2021
Rick Bonitati
CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Rick Bonitati joined the St. Francis team as Chief Executive Officer in early 2018. With over 30 years of experience in the fine wine business and a focus primarily on Sonoma County wines, Rick’s passion for premium Sonoma County wines is a perfect addition to St. Francis’ leadership team. Rick believes it is imperative to “work hard and have fun doing it.” His strategic approach to business is to empower collaborative leadership and establish clear objectives and tactical action plans for constant improvement and growth. His team approach along with his pursuit of consistent development is perfectly aligned with the driving force behind St. Francis’ dedication to excellence.
Jul 24, 2021
Larry & Margie Dino
Proprietors, Cuda Ridge Wines, Livermore, CA
Larry and Margie Dino, the proprietors of Cuda Ridge Wines, have a passion for fine wines which led them to the Livermore Valley – a world-class wine region with wine roots dating back to the mid-1800’s. Over the years, they were inspired to learn more about the craft and traditions of making wine and founded Cuda Ridge in 2007 with a vision for producing premium wines. Small lot, handcrafted, Bordeaux style wines that bring out the wonderful terroir of Livermore Valley are their specialty. Since then each vintage has won many prestigious awards including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Orange County Fair, and Sunset International Wine Competition. Unique old-world style wines welcome you in each glass from Cuda Ridge. Join them to explore and learn about the wines and wine regions of the Enchanting Rhine!
Jul 29, 2021
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!
Aug 5, 2021
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.
Aug 5, 2021
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.
Aug 8, 2021
Aug 12, 2021
Steve Cass
Owner, Cass Winery, Paso Robles, CA

Steve and Alice Cass started in the wine business in 1999 with the acquisition of their property in Paso Robles, California that was to become the vineyard and later, the winery. Recently Cass Winery was named “2015 Winery of the Year” by the Central Coast Wine Competition for the most recognized winery that presented the most exceptional selection of wines. “We are thrilled with how well our wines did and how they were received” says Cass winemaker Sterling Kragten. Established in 2005, the winery currently produces 10,000 cases a year with emphasis on producing wines that express their varietal nature and the vineyard. The wines may be lighter in color and body but more complex in flavors and nuances. This is generally referred to as an ‘old world’ style wine. Join Steve and Alice as they take you on a journey, sampling the many “Tastes of Bordeaux”.
Aug 12, 2021
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.
Aug 19, 2021
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 24, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 2, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 2, 2021
Michael Lewellen
Managing Partner at Lucas & Lewellen Winery, Solvang, CA
Coming Soon!
Nov 4, 2021
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 4, 2021
Peter Marks
Master of Wine, Constellation Brands

Peter Marks is one of only 24 Masters of Wine residing in the U.S. and was the first American to win the Madame Bollinger Foundation Award for having the highest tasting score on the rigorous MW exam. He has served as Director of Wine at the upscale Draeger’s Supermarkets in the San Francisco area, Chief Wine Merchant for online wine retailer Wine.com, and Senior Vice President of Wine at COPIA, the American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts. Peter is also a member of the Society of Wine Educators, sits on the Board of Directors of the Napa Valley Wine Library and judges many international wine competitions.
Nov 4, 2021
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.
Nov 4, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 4, 2021
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, 2021
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 6, 2021
Arthur White
President and Winemaker of Arthur Earl Winery and Santa Ynez Wine Corp.
TBA
Nov 6, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 9, 2021
Steve Chapin
Owner & Winemaker Chapin Family Vineyards Temecula, CA.
Located in the prime winegrowing area of Temecula, California, the Chapin Family Vineyards adventure started with an initial planting of five acres in 2002 with varietals of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot. A few years later, the vineyard was expanded into another six acre parcel with planted varietals of Voignier, Aglianico and Montepulciano. Each and every year since 2004, Steve Chapin, owner and winemaker has made more wine and sold less grapes to other wineries. Since 2012, 100% of the grapes harvested on the property have been utilized for production of Chapin Family Vineyards wines. The journey continues today with eight different wines being sold in the tasting room by knowledgeable sales associates. “I want our winery friends to feel like they had a great time and felt welcomed in the quiet ambiance of the tasting room and patio area, a mini-vacation of sorts.” This is why on every Chapin bottle of wine reads “For the Love of Friendship”.
Nov 9, 2021
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.
Nov 11, 2021
Texas on the Rhone
  • Susan & Ed Auler, Co-Founders, Fall Creek Vineyards
  • Blake & Karen DeBerry, Owners & Winemakers, Torr Na Lochs Winery
  • Seth & Laura Martin, Owners, Perissos Vineyards
  • Mike & Lynn McHenry, Owners, Wedding Oak Winery
Nov 11, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 11, 2021
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 11, 2021
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 11, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 13, 2021
Carol Hoyt
Owner & Winemaker for Hoyt Family Vineyards, Paso Robles CA
When Carol and Stephen Hoyt were just married, a stay at a working vineyard inspired them to have a vineyard of their own. At the time, Carol was a working model and actress, best known for her popular character, the villianous Divatox, in the Power Rangers series. Upon starting a family, Carol took a break from performing, and she and Stephen moved to Malibu. There they planted their first vineyard – in their backyard! Having no idea of what they were getting themselves into, Carol soon discovered they would have a lot of fruit, and quickly learned to make her first wine in their kitchen. Long gone are the days of making wine at home. Carol now makes wine and grows all her grapes in the heart of Paso Robles’ coveted west side. The Hoyt’s boutique winery, not only boasts award winning wines, but also micro-winery of the year.
Nov 13, 2021
Chapel Down Vineyard, UK
Wine Expert
English sparkling wine has won more awards in recent years than any other country and Chapel Down is England’s leading wine producer with a world-class range of both sparkling and still wines. Based in the picturesque market town of Tenterden in Kent, Chapel Down sources fruit across the South East of England and produces traditional method sparkling wines, crisp, aromatic white wines, delicate rosés and elegant light red wines. Freshness and vibrancy are key features which we look for in our wines and English fruit really delivers on this, whether it be unique aromatic white wines, classic fizz, or a twist on a rich Chablis-esque Chardonnay. Balance is at the heart of every good wine and our aim is to continually surprise and delight our customers. A member of the Walpole collection of luxury British brands, an official Cool Brand. A supplier to many prestigious venues across the UK and beyond including Harrods and Selfridges as well as being an official wine supplier to No.10 Downing street.
Nov 16, 2021
Regional Wine Expert
Nov 18, 2021
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!
Experience More Connections
Modern day Serbia is thriving with a revitalized nightlife and café culture, reemerging as one of the most vibrant cultural epicenters of Eastern Europe.
Read more
Travel professional Debbie N. breaks down the merits of group travel – and particularly “girlfriend getaways” – with AmaWaterways.
Read more
See Lake Como, Italy, as part of our full Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps river cruise and land journey.
Read more