Colors of ProvenceNov 14, 2019
Erich and Joanne Russell
owners of Rabbit Ridge Winery, Paso Robles, CA
California winemaker Erich Russell founded Rabbit Ridge Winery and Vineyards in 1981 in Healdsburg CA, building a substantial operation. In 1996 he married the lovely Joanne James-Russell, a native of St. Petersburg FL. In 2001 they relocated Rabbit Ridge to the fast growing central California area of Paso Robles. That area’s calcareous soil conditions are very similar to France’s Rhone Valley, a part of Europe that Erich Russell knows intimately. He has visited and studied Rhone winemaking for decades. Implementing design ideas from Tuscany and France, Erich and Joanne have built a stunning winery that is both regal in look and Old World in feeling. Rabbit Ridge Vineyards today farms over 200 acres of premium grapes, producing 10,000 cases of delicious Rhone-style wines sold nationwide. The next generation is prepping to take the reins. Daughter Sarah and husband Brice Garrett manage the Rabbit Ridge tasting room and produce their own wine label called Serrano. Join the Russell family on a remarkable voyage and wine extravaganza down the beautiful Rhone River, France’s nautical highway since the time of Julius Caesar.
Taste of BordeauxNov 14, 2019
Wente Vineyards
WENTE VINEYARDS is the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery, founded in 1883. Today, the winery maintains its leadership role in California winegrowing under ownership and management by the fourth and fifth generations of the Wente family. Blending traditional and innovative winemaking practices, the winery draws from nearly 3,000 acres of sustainably farmed estate vineyards to create an outstanding portfolio of fine wines. Located just East of San Francisco in the historic Livermore Valley, Wente Vineyards is recognized as one of California’s premier wine country destinations, featuring wine tasting, dining, concert performances and championship golf.
Europe's Rivers & CastlesNov 14, 2019
Liz Barrett
CSW, Certified Specialist of Wine for AmaWaterways
Join Liz Barrett, AmaWaterways’ own Certified Specialist of Wine, as she takes you on a journey through some of Europe’s most iconic wine regions along the Moselle, Main and Rhine rivers. Steeped in rich history and beauty, these regions will unfold even more as you enjoy the culinary, wine and even local smoked beer while enjoying your luxurious floating boutique hotel, your AmaWaterways ship and crew. A combination of wine tastings and interaction on board with the added flare of regional personalities makes this a wine cruise to remember.
Romantic DanubeNov 15, 2019
Matthew Meyer
Vice President and Winemaker, The Williamsburg Winery – Williamsburg, VA

Born in Great Britain, Matthew learned to appreciate wine from his Father. Together they collected and enjoyed wines from around the world. It was this early passion for wine that took Matthew to the University of California at Davis and after earning his degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matthew worked for Grgich Hills Wine Cellars in Napa Valley California. In 1998 Matthew was hired by Heitz Wine Cellars, and later as Cellar Master/Assistant Winemaker he took over the Cellar Select Chardonnay program. In 2002 Matthew moved to Williamsburg Virginia where he took the position of winemaker, and soon became Executive Vice President. In addition to making wine for The Williamsburg Winery Matthew also makes wine in Mendoza, Argentina every year and along with his wife Elena have their own wine brand called “M”. Join them as they share the wines and wonders of the Danube.
Melodies of the DanubeNov 15, 2019
Scott & Jana Harvey
Owner & Winemaker Scott Harvey Wines
Scott being both born in Germany and having gone to Winemaking School there has developed a keen interest and expertise in European wines. He has brought this European style of wine making to California’s Napa Valley and Amador County having now produced world class wines for over 45 years. He created the California wine Ménage a Trois based on his knowledge of west bank Rhine wines from both Alsace and the Palatinate of Germany. This is Winemaker Scott Harvey’s third cruise with AMA Waterways. As you travel along the beautiful Danube, Scott and Jana will be giving lectures and doing wine tastings to teach you about the Wine Regions, Vineyards and Wines of Hungary, Austria and Germany. Throughout the trip and excursions, Scott will be available to answer questions and translate if need be.
Enchanting RhineNov 17, 2019
Steve & Lori Johnson
Owners of Lester Estate Wines
Considered by many winemakers and enthusiasts to be one of the great vineyards in the region, Deer Park Ranch started with the dream of the late Dan Lester, a real estate developer born and raised in Watsonville, to have a ranch. In 1988, he and his wife Patricia found this 200-acre parcel on Pleasant Valley Road in Corralitos and named it Deer Park Ranch. In 1998 Dan implement his vision of having a vineyard. He put in the 14-acre Lester Family Vineyard in two blocks which flank the entrance to the ranch. The lower block, a dying orchard, was planted in 1998 and the upper block planted in 2001, was an abandoned Christmas tree farm. The varietals currently grown are Chardonnay, Syrah and 7 clones of Pinot noir. Over time, the clonal mix has changed, and will continue to evolve as the site matures. Since 2001, the Lester’s have been selling the premium fruit to local wineries and accomplished winemakers who over the years have won various awards and accolades with the Lester fruit. After Dan’s death in 2014, Patty, along with the help of her daughter Lori and Lori’s husband Steve Johnson, decided the time had come to make their own estate wine from the vineyard to showcase the unique character of the vineyards, thus Lester Estate Wines was formed. They carefully selected winemakers to hand-craft wines that express the distinct qualities of terroir and vines found growing in Lester Family Vineyards at Deer Park Ranch. They now have a stable of wine made by these winemakers to share with you.
Enchanting RhineNov 18, 2019
Nello & Danica Olivo
Owners of Nello Olivo Winery, Placerville, CA
In 2001 the Olivos purchased 21 acres in El Dorado County, California, with the intention of growing grapes for Nello’s winemaking hobby. With the help of UCDavis, Nello established a showcase vineyard and sold the surplus to local winemakers. When they began winning gold medals with his grapes Nello decided he would “go commercial” and began winning gold medals of his own. Danica’s background is in the movie industry but her grandmother was from a German wine-merchant family. Danica sits on the Board of the El Dorado Winemakers Association. Like most El Dorado AVA wineries they are small and family owned but have won such awards as Best Sangiovese in California and Best of Class at the prestigious Orange County Fair. Specializing in Italian varietals, Nello and Danica look forward to sharing their award-winning wines on this wonderful cruise and exploring the contrast with the celebrated wines of the region.
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