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.

Taste of BordeauxJun 20, 2024
Caryn Arrowood
Proprietor & Winemaker, Montemar, Lompoc, CA

Steve and Caryn Arrowood, owners and winemakers of Montemar, started making wine in their garage in 1991, sourcing fruit from Santa Barbara County to Napa and making upwards of 14 barrels a year. As Garagistes, the activity was a friends and family experience. After Steve retired from a career in aerospace, his continued passion for winemaking led to creating a bonded winery in 2009. In 2012, production was increased to sufficient volume for a tasting room. The tasting room opened in 2013 and the Montemar winery was built in time to harvest the 2015 fruit. Both the tasting room and winery are located in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. Montemar currently produces 1,400 cases/year, averaging less than 100 cases per lot with many small-lot bottlings available exclusively to wine club members. Sadly, Steve passed away in early 2020 but not without passing on his winemaking passion to their son, Kyle. Caryn and Kyle are dedicated to carrying on Steve’s vision for the winery and his trademark high-quality, small-lot production.

Captivating RhineJul 4, 2024
Brad Beard
Winemaker, Mercury Wine, Geyserville, CA

Brad Beard is the charismatic but down-to-earth force that drives Mercury Wine. A self-taught winemaker, Beard learned the wine trade in Arizona, starting in high end restaurants, then made the leap to wine sales and distribution. He then moved to California to fulfill his winemaking dream.

Mercury Wine was founded in 2008 in the sleepy little town of Geyserville, located in the northern reaches of Sonoma County, nestled in the heart of Alexander Valley. The downtown district on Geyserville Avenue runs a mere 2 blocks, but boasts three world class restaurants along with Mercury’s tasting room.

Brad’s winemaking philosophy is to bring the style and elegance of European wines, blended with the world’s best grapes; occasionally shredding all the rules to put his personal and unique touch on his unruly American winemaking.

Brad lives in Geyserville with his husband Danny & winery dog Freddie.

Flavors of BurgundyJul 4, 2024
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.

Enticing DouroJul 6, 2024
Jody Bogle
Director of Public Relations: 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.

Colors of ProvenceJul 11, 2024
Karl & Carole Dinger
Owners of Terra Vina Wines, Wilsonville, OR
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 Colors of Provence Wine Cruise.
Rhine & Moselle DelightsJul 14, 2024
Kimberly Zacharias
Winery Promotions and Education, Black Star Farms Winery, Suttons Bay, MI

Northwest Michigan is fast becoming recognized for its excellent opportunities for growing grapes. The “lake effect” climate enables the growth of classic vinifera grape varieties, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and more. Since 1998, Black Star Farms has been producing wines from local vineyards that are consciously crafted from vine to bottle. Grapes are sourced from their proprietor’s vineyards and local grower partners on the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas AVAs. Because of Black Star Farms’ commitment to preservation, 130 of their 170 acres of vineyards have been protected from development.

In their 20th year, they were honored with the most prestigious award at the 19th Annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge – Best Wine of the Challenge! The 2017 Arcturos Dry Riesling scored 98 points and was awarded “Best in Show,” in addition to taking home Best Dry Riesling and Best American Riesling. All six Rieslings they submitted received medals, showing a consistent quality across vintages and styles.

Kimberly is a Certified Specialist in Wine with over 16 years in the Michigan wine industry. She travels the state promoting Michigan wine at restaurants, trade tastings, festivals, and other wine-themed events. At Black Star Farms, she hosts wine tours and other curated wine and food experiences. She believes every bottle tells a story, and she loves sharing her passion and knowledge of the Black Star Farms story with enthusiasts and novices alike.

Enticing DouroJul 20, 2024
Mike Embly
Winemaker for Hungry Hawk Vineyards, Escondido, CA
Mike Embly is the winemaker and manager of vineyard operations for Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery: a family-run boutique winery in the northern San Diego County town of Escondido, California. Mike earned his degree in Business from California State University San Marcos in 2003. After working for over a decade in the corporate world, Mike took advantage of a family opportunity. He made the career leap to grow grapes and make wine; an occupation that satisfies his creative nature and love for working with the land. Today Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery grows 15 varietals on their 10-acre Estate. This boutique, award-winning winery relies heavily on a cohesive team, from vineyard to tasting patio, garnering numerous accolades along the way. Each year, Mike and his team create up to 30 vineyard and vintage expressive wines ranging from Méthode Champenoise Bubbly to Port Style wines, each artfully crafted to accentuate the soul and experience of the vintage, from vine to bottle.
Rhine Castles & Swiss AlpsJul 22, 2024
Mike & Gale Reynvaan
Owners, Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Walla Walla, WA

Reynvaan Family Vineyards is a small family winery that was formed in 2005. Beginning with their two estate vineyards in the Walla Walla AVA, "In the Rocks" (2005, 26 acres) and "Foothills in the Sun" (2008, 14 acres), Reynvaan Family Vineyards produces distinct and authentic wines grounded in very traditional techniques. Almost everything they do is by hand, carefully farming organically, planting each vine in the vineyards, trellising, pruning, dropping fruit then picking and sorting the berries at harvest. Each vintage, the wines evolve in the winery with as little interference as possible, fermenting solely with native yeast, aged exclusively in French oak, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Each of their wines are highly acclaimed small vineyard, small lot bottlings from a unique, world-class terroir that combine a sense of place, power and elegance.

Melodies of the DanubeJul 24, 2024
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.
Vineyards of the Rine & MoselleJul 24, 2024
Mary Joli
SE Regional Sales Manager, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Turner, OR

Mary Joli is the SE Regional Sales Manager with Willamette Valley Vineyards in Oregon’s verdant Willamette Valley. Mary brings with her a wealth of wine knowledge and experience from 20 years in the Oregon wine industry, starting in wine shops specializing in Oregon Pinots, and later with several small production Oregon wineries. Mary has managed tasting rooms and hosted special events and vineyard weddings. The last 14 years Mary has worked for Willamette Valley Vineyards on the National Sales Team managing Distributor relations in 8 states across the south US and travels throughout Europe hosting riverboat cruises for Ama Waterways.

As a TWA international flight attendant Mary traveled extensively throughout Europe where she first discovered the joy of drinking elegant old world wines. Over a four year period Mary tasted her way across Europe and developed a palate and passion for wine. After settling down and raising a family Mary returned to the workforce to pursue her passion for wines, of traveling and meeting new people, working with Willamette Valley Vineyards has enabled her to live her dreams.

At home in Oregon Mary enjoys hiking, organic gardening and kayaking on the Willamette River. She actively enjoys Oregon’s endless forests, snowy mountains, rugged coastline and, of course, its elegant wines!

Colors of ProvenceJul 25, 2024
Billy Dim
Owner and Winemaker of Summer Somewhere Wines, Malibu, CA

When founders Billy and Stacey Dim got married, they merged their passions, winemaking, wine drinking and all things Summer, to create Summer Somewhere Wines, a natural, organic, and sustainable wine company.

Billy has over 16 years' experience in the wine industry acting as a principal in winemaking, production, operations, management, and sales. He is an accomplished Winemaker & Sommelier, which led him to develop his innovative wine platform, Blendtique in 2012. Dim has managed reputable wine and restaurant programs and is currently CEO and Winemaker of both Blendtique Wine Company and Summer Somewhere Wines.

Summer Somewhere hand-selects fruit from some of the most coveted Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainably farmed Vineyard sites throughout Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast. These exceptional sites advocate natural growing practices and factor in soil, topography, and climate to elevate the quality of fruit.

As a result, the Winemaking methodology is to be as natural as possible. All fruit for the Summer Somewhere program is grown and picked true to be the best expression of variety, style, or blend.

Dim and his team are thoughtfully minimalist when it comes to production, advocating for high quality, small batch selections which means sustainable sourcing, zero additives, organic grapes and keeping the wines as clean as possible for you.

Flavors of BurgundyAug 1, 2024
David & Lana Mounts
Owners, Mounts Family Winery, Healdsburg, CA

David Mounts spent his life growing up in the vineyards under the watchful eye of his father Richard. He knew the farming life well. After graduating in 1998 from Fresno State University with a degree in Viticulture, David went on to work in the vineyard industry. He spent his first six years with Sonoma-Cutrer Winery and Vineyards developing his vineyard skills and learning quality through sacrifice, such as cropping a vine for quality not quantity. David then moved on to manage multiple vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley. This is where he refined his vineyard practice to grow the highest level of quality fruit as well as gain exposure to winemaking at its finest. With a developing palate for high quality wines, David wanted to apply what he’d learned over the years to his own family’s vineyard. The outside experience gave David the confidence and desire to showcase the grapes and vineyards he knew so well, through the expression of wine.

Magna on the DanubeAug 4, 2024
Greg Freeman
Chalone Vineyard & Foley Family Wines, Soledad, CA

Perched in the remote Gavilan Mountain range, 1,800 feet above California’s Salinas Valley, this rugged vineyard sits at the base of an extinct volcano bordering the Pinnacles National Park. Chalone Vineyard is one of the few wineries in the U.S. growing grapes in limestone-based soils, the same as in Burgundy. The spare, well-drained ground, limited rainfall, and low crop levels attracted Dick Graff, who wanted to make top-flight Burgundian-styled Chardonnay. Graff made his first vintage under the Chalone Vineyard label in 1966, producing what became a benchmark for California Chardonnay. Current winemaker, Greg Freeman’s expansive background combines long-standing interests in art and science with twenty years of Monterey County winemaking. Freeman’s official wine career began in the lab at Hahn Winery in 2003. Greg quickly progressed to Winemaker and was involved with multiple brands, working closely with Nicholas Hahn and Paul Clifton, Director of Winemaking at Hahn. Since 2017, Greg has held positions as Winemaker for Georis/Cowgirl Winery in Carmel Valley, California and Messina Hof Winery in Bryan, Texas. He joined Chalone Vineyard in2021, bringing two decades of Monterey winemaking to bear as he writes the latest chapter in the winery’s storied history.

Europe's River's & CastlesAug 7, 2024
Roxanne Langer
Sommelier, Career Wine Educator

Sommelier, wine writer and international wine judge, Roxanne Langer has tipped her glass around the world looking for the best wines, Champagnes, Cognacs, and Whiskeys. She has held executive management positions for Napa Valley wineries, international winery associations and even a cult winery located in the tawny hills of Bel Air, Los Angeles. Frequently a guest wine speaker for wine festivals (including EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival) to cruise ships, Langer has co-authored, “Churchill, A Drinking Life: Champagne, Cognac and Cocktails” (Skyhorse Publishing NYC). Langer has also penned several articles for the Somm Journal, The Tasting Panel, Wine Geographic and numerous newspapers and wine blogs. In addition, as a wine expert she has been quoted in more than 10 national books.

As the co-founder of LadySomm, a wine edutainment and experience company located in Carmel-By-The-Sea, Langer provides wine programs to corporations, associations, universities and C-suite executives in the US and Europe. A two-time graduate of the University of the Pacific (B.A & M.A.) Langer wrote her master’s thesis on wine. She attended the University of California at Davis Community Education Program in Viticulture and Enology and has studied under WSET in the UK, US Somm and is a somm-certification adjunct professor. Langer has traveled extensively through 40 countries focusing mainly on wine regions.

In addition, Langer serves as Vice Enchansson for the Los Angeles Chapter of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, is a board member for Les Dames d'Escoffier International- Monterey Chapter, is a member of Women of the Vine & Spirits, Women for WineSense (past Sacramento president), CMO Club (Chief Marketing Officers), American Institute of Food and Wine, and Women in Wine, Monterey, CA.

Enticing DouroAug 10, 2024
Andres Basso & Rodrigo Gonzalez
Owners & Winemakers, Lynfred Wines, Roselle, IL

Lynfred wines are created by Chilean-born winemakers Andres Basso and Rodrigo Gonzalez. As an urban winery, our winemakers source the best fruit from vineyards in Washington, California, Illinois, Michigan, and Chile. Lynfred believes in gentle processing and minimal handling and procedures. Ultimately, the best fruit, cared for under the best conditions in the cellar transforms into a supreme delight when processed, aged, and blended in their signature style and is unique to the Midwest. No other winery in the region can boast the variety of wines made in-house that Lynfred offers under Andres’ and Rodrigo’s tutelage.

Rhine & Moselle SplendorsAug 14, 2024
Gina Adams & Carolina "Cat" Warwick
Winemakers, WIT Cellars, Prosser, WA

Following their dreams, three friends came together, Gina, Cat and Flint; full of talent, ideas, and the passion to create exceptional wines. At Wit Cellars, we are committed to artfully crafting outstanding wines, which respect the elegance of each region, and the talents of each wine grower. Our experienced, knowledgeable, and committed winemakers, Flint Nelson and Cat Warwick, along with the WIT team create exceptional wines for those whom we have touched, and those whom we have yet to touch. We accomplish this by blending our individual strengths and talents. In doing so, we foster a fun, positive atmosphere that supports our principles and culminates in a healthy, happy life style. WIT speaks to thoughtful, meaningful interactions with friends, a lightness of mood, and certain elegance of style–which is the spirit of WIT Cellars.

Captivating RhineAug 15, 2024
Lorraine Hems
Senior Lecturer, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Rochester, NY

Even before Lorraine traveled to Germany and Alsace, she was passionate about their wines. This cruise will be a great opportunity for her to share her love of their wines as well as wines from her home base, the internationally acclaimed Finger Lakes, NY wine region. After specializing in wine for years in both the wholesale and retail markets, Lorraine began teaching beverage courses at RIT. She hopes that each student that takes her classes finds wine less mysterious and gets “bit by the bug” like she experienced.

Lorraine is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Through the Society of Wine Educators, she became a Certified Wine Educator and Certified Specialist of Spirits. She was elected again to their Board of Directors in 2022. As an American Wine Society Certified Wine Judge, she teaches and assists on their education programs. Lorraine judges at and has chaired domestic and international amateur and commercial wine and spirits competitions. She has the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 and teaches their courses. She also helped start the local chapter of Women for Winesense and received the WWS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Essence of Burgundy & ProvenceAug 15, 2024
Bill Redelmeier
Owner, Southbrook Organic Vineyards, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Bill Redelmeier is the driving force behind Southbrook Vineyards, Canada's largest organic winery. With a deep passion for both wine and the environment, Bill has revolutionized the wine industry in Canada by prioritizing sustainability and organic practices. Bill's journey began with a simple dream: to produce exceptional wines that are not only rich in flavor but also gentle on the earth. Recognizing the importance of organic farming and its positive impact on both the quality of wine and the environment, Bill made a bold decision to focus on organic viticulture from the very beginning. Today, the winery spans impressive vineyards, capturing the essence of Ontario's fertile land, and showcases an extensive range of wines, all of which are certified organic. By prioritizing organic practices, Bill has become a trailblazer in Canada's wine industry. He has shown that it is possible to create exceptional wines while being environmentally conscious, without compromising on taste or quality. In doing so, Bill has set the standard for sustainability in wine-making throughout the country.

Taste of BordeauxAug 15, 2024
Eric & Robin Replogle
Owners, Fenestra Winery, Livermore, CA

Eric Replogle is the son of Lanny and Fran Replogle, who started Fenestra Winery in 1976. Fenestra is located in a historic building which was built in 1889. Fenestra is one of the oldest wineries in Livermore, and one of a few that is still family run.

Eric grew up in the winery business and has been an integral part of Fenestra for the past 47 years. In addition to working at the winery, he holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry and is an attorney. Most importantly, he is the keeper of the stories about the early days of the Livermore Valley Wine Region and Fenestra!

Robin, his wife, has been involved in the winery since before they were married in 1999. She currently holds the position of Event Coordinator and Board Member of Fenestra. Robin’s mother was from France and her love of all things French runs deep in her veins. She and Eric have a great love of history, wine and food, and exploration.

In addition, Eric and Robin are passionate about wine and food pairings and often prepare menus for private wine events at the winery.

Flavors of BurgundyAug 22, 2024
Stephen Reustle
Owner Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards, Roseburg, OR

Before the vineyard and winery, Stephen and Gloria Reustle owned a successful marketing company that taught them the value of providing “world-class” product to a loyal customer base. Upon arriving in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon, Stephen carefully mapped out 40 acres of vineyards to be planted. Each variety, clone, and rootstock was carefully selected to match the diverse hillside soil and unique micro-climates. Using only fruit grown from the estate’s Prayer Rock and Romancing Rock Vineyards, winemaking is kept to small lots preserving the distinctiveness of each varietal and clone. Stephen became the award-winning pioneer of U.S. Gruner Veltliner, and since 2009, Reustle-Prayer Rock Vineyards has garnered 18 “Best of Class,” 7 “Double Platinum,” 17 “Platinum,” 38 “Double Gold,” and 99 “Gold” Medals across 10 different varietals. And yes, there really is a “Prayer Rock” at the vineyard -- at the top of the south-facing slope is a large rock that was the meeting place for Stephen and his son in the mornings to pray to God for blessing over their vineyard. Not only did this family practice establish the name of the vineyard, but it has kept the Reustle’s very busy. Since then, they have bottled 5,000 - 8,000 cases of wine annually, selling out every year.

Taste of BordeauxAug 22, 2024
Jason Long
Owner, Long Cellars, Woodinville, WA

Long Cellars is a boutique winery in Woodinville, Washington that has been evolving for over 16 years. Jason became involved in the wine industry in 2008 when he began assisting several Woodinville wineries. Working with them taught Jason how to appreciate, make, and sell wine while simultaneously incorporating fun and laughter. In 2009, Jason produced his first vintage of wine and has never looked back. The primary mission at Long Cellars is to produce fine wines using Bordeaux varietals from some of the most reputable vineyards in Washington. There is also an underlying mission – incorporating a fun and comfortable social setting, which is why the slogan “connecting good people with fine wine” is part of the winery.

Currently, Jason is sourcing fruit from two of the most notable A.V.A.s in the state: Red Mountain and Yakima Valley. Over the years, Jason has focused on producing single varietal and blended wines using all 6 red Bordeaux varietals. Between the Washington state terroir and Jason’s careful and unique winemaking style, Long Cellars wine exudes a classic and powerful New World style. This journey has led to 25 wines receiving a score of 90 or more points.

Medieval TreasuresOct 30, 2024
Les & Sharon Heinsen
Owners, Element 79 Vineyards, El Dorado County, CA

Both born and raised in North Dakota with rich farming backgrounds, Les and Sharon have long had a dream of getting back to their roots and owning a vineyard in beautiful El Dorado County and the Fair Play AVA.

Upon retiring from a 38-year career in the insurance industry, Les has made his vineyard owning dreams a reality and takes his many years of experience in nurturing people to now nurturing grape vines. As they say, "you can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy".

With a hospitality background and a caring and nurturing personality, Sharon is the perfect host and representative for our brand and wines made from the heart.

Together, Les and Sharon are creating exclusive wines with extraordinary winemaking practices seldom employed by wineries in the Sierra Foothills, and even in California.

Paris & NormandyOct 31, 2024
Robert Young Family
Family-owned Robert Young Estate Winery, Geyserville, CA

For over 165 years, the Young family have lived on and farmed their ranch in Sonoma County, becoming one of the largest family-owned growers of premium wines in Alexander Valley. Since 1997, the family have offered small lot Estate wines under the Robert Young name – big, lush Chardonnays, sublime Bordeaux Blends and powerful 100% Cabernet Sauvignons. Today, visitors to the 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 us as we explore the beauty of the Seine River from Paris to Normandy on this magical cruise beginning October 31, 2024.

Gems of Southeast EuropeNov 4, 2024
Jerold O’Brien
Owner, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Santa Cruz, CA

He was twenty years in the Air Force, flying a dozen different aircraft, advancing to flight examiner and maintenance test pilot, along with combat experience. These adventures instilled in Jerold O’Brien the values of hard work, determination, and attention to detail that have guided him in crafting wines acclaimed for their complexity and excellence. For the past 45 years, Jerold and his team have created delectable Chardonnays, award-winning Pinot Noirs, and Bordeaux blends that are tantamount to French wines. Eight miles from the ocean and 2100 feet elevation in the Santa Cruz Mountains the vineyards bask in sunshine during the day and the cool of the evening. In tune with Mother Earth, Silver Mountain is a sustainable wine-making endeavor that boasts the largest solar array in the mountains, a water catchment system to supply the winery and vineyards, an artificial cave atmosphere for the barrels, and a gravity-fed procedure allowing for the gentle movement of the wine. Following his first vintage of 1979, his vines were certified organic in 1980. Long before “organic” became a movement. Jerold O’Brien’s knowledge and understanding of viticulture, enology, history, and the impact the Old World has had on California wine-making practices make him a fascinating wine host to learn from, to listen to, to engage in conversation. And with whom to enjoy some memorable vino.

Romantic DanubeNov 6, 2024
Jamie Peterson
Winemaker, Peterson Winery, Healdsburg, CA

Although officially the winemaker at Peterson only since 2006, the joke is Jamie has 43 years of experience in the winemaking life. Jamie was born at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1981, where father Fred was winemaker from 1979 to 1983, and was raised in the cellar and vineyards there. After the family moved to Dry Creek Valley outside of the town of Healdsburg in 1983, Peterson Winery grew out of the vineyards that his father managed and took him to visit in his youth.

Prior to joining the family winery as assistant in 2002, he worked harvests abroad in both Australia and New Zealand. As Peterson’s winemaker, he follows the same winemaking philosophy and commitment to wines with an honest sense of place that his father has always practiced, while updating a few of the finer points in the process. When not in the winery or vineyards, Jamie can be found hiking, spending time with his two children, playing or watching baseball, trying new recipes, or working in his garden.

Taste of BordeauxNov 7, 2024
Jill Osur
CEO, founder of Teneral Cellars, Escondido, CA

Teneral Cellars, founded in Northern California, is a women-owned and operated producer of sustainable, phenomenal wines, harnessing the power of business for good. Exceptional wine is the catalyst for connection, crucial conversations, and investments toward an equitable future for all women.

Jill Osur, is CEO and founder of Teneral Cellars, and previous co-founder and director of California-based winery group GL Enterprises. Teneral Cellars is driven by Jill’s belief that wine can be a conduit for change, a force for gender equity and social justice within the wine industry and our culture at large. Jill is a captivating public speaker who has been described as a “firecracker in the room” with her energizing, moving presence.

As veterans of the wine industry, Jill, along with Teneral Cellars, is the first to disrupt it by creating a business that intentionally reflects the wine industry’s largest consumer: women.

Captivating RhineNov 7, 2024
Michelle Myrenne & Scott Willoughby
Owners, Seebass Vineyards, Boonville, CA

Named for Michelle’s Grandparents, the Seebass family purchased 96 acre in Mendocino County between the Russian River and the Mayacama mountain range in 1988. Her family emigrated from Germany and the family wine palate is distinctly European – clean, subtle, food-friendly and approachable with premier, estate-grown California fruit. This vineyard has been the focus of Michelle’s family for most of her life, and over the last decade they’ve been immersed in crafting their world-class family wines to a larger audience.

Although technology and legal careers in San Francisco took her to the big City, Michelle’s heart was in the family business and gave her an excellent basis to transition running the winery day-to-day operations. For over ten years, Michelle has personally overseen operations and welcomed guests to their beautiful Tasting Room in Boonville, California, in the heart of Anderson Valley, where Seebass wines made countless new friends with their hospitality and quality of their award-winning wines. Together with her husband Scott, who also transitioned from a technology marketing career in San Francisco, they’ve spent the last 25 years creating a family winemaking business that now looks to broaden to securing imports from tiny producers like themselves from around the world. Fluent in German and Spanish, Michelle and Scott spend weeks throughout Europe, South America and beyond meeting other small family wineries to bring small-lots vintages that match their palate for the Wine Club members.

We look forward to sharing our history and family stories and winemaking adventures with Ama Waterways guests in November 2024 on the glorious Rhein! Prost!

Essence of Burgundy & ProvenceNov 7, 2024
Hillary Cole
Director of Sales, Bell Wine Cellars, Napa, CA
Hillary started out as a military linguist and counter-terrorism analyst in the Washington, DC area, during which time she also had the opportunity to visit vineyards in Italy. The serenity and romance of the vineyards were a stark contrast to her Intelligence career and she felt at home every time she stepped foot on one. After leaving the Intelligence she gravitated instead to the wine industry via restaurant management as the General Manager and Sommelier for three Sacramento-area restaurant groups after finishing her MBA studies and Intro Sommelier exam. Her final position on the restaurant side of wine was running the wine program at Ella Dining Room and Bar in Sacramento. Hillary has completed several wine certification programs, her favorites among which include French Wine Scholar, Champagne Master Level, Napa Valley Wine Expert, and The Business of Wine. Hillary is an on-going student of the French language and is currently a Bordeaux Master candidate. She has loved having the opportunity to maximize her backgrounds in business, wine, and leadership via her position as Director of Sales at Bell Wine Cellars.
Melodies of the DanubeNov 11, 2024
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 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 first bottling in 2006 was only 184 cases and now is an award-winning winery with tasting rooms in California and Texas with direct-to-consumer sales of 4,000 cases per year.
Rhine Castles & Swiss AlpsNov 11, 2024
David Lauer & Krista Lauer
Bryn Mawr Vineyards, Salem, OR

Bryn Mawr Vineyards David Lauer, VP of Sales & Marketing, has been a part of the family business since 2014. After working his summers in the vineyard and the then-basement cellar alongside his dad and their winemaker, Rachel, he joined the winery full-time upon graduating college. He’s engaged in nearly every aspect of operations at Bryn Mawr during its meteoric growth, filling in any gaps that have arisen as they’ve developed into a premier operation. Through wearing many hats from forklift driver to DTC Sales Manager to VP of Sales & Marketing, he’s developed a comprehensive understanding of the wine industry from grape to glass. He utilizes his years of experience in the wine industry to communicate Bryn Mawr’s efforts to make terroir-drive wines using regenerative farming practices with an undeniably infectious passion.

Krista Lauer, VP of Hospitality, rejoined the family business in 2022. After spending summers in the Tasting Room while at Willamette University, she ventured to Denver to get her M.A. in Art History. After spending 6 years at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, working her way through the Visitor Services and Exhibitions departments, she found herself wanting to be part of something greater: her family’s legacy. Upon her return to Bryn Mawr, she’s focused on the Tasting Room and events, streamlining procedures, improving lines of communication, and brainstorming new opportunities for engagement. With a unique perspective, a flair for the dramatic, and clear vision, she is excited to build upon the legacy of superb Hospitality that gives us pride.

Melodies of the DanubeNov 13, 2024
Christine Vrooman
Owner, Ankida Ridge Vineyards, Amherst, VA

Christine has a story to tell. She and her husband, Dennis, purchased 100 acres high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in 1999 that was to one day be their retirement retreat after they sold their veterinary practice in Virginia Beach. But before they had a chance to even consider retirement, serendipity stepped in, and soon, up at 1800 ft elevation where the air is cool and the earth, rocky and steep, they were planting a small family vineyard of Pinot Noir, a grape that was determined impossible to grow successfully in the humid, hot Mid-Atlantic climate. This unexpected journey brought their son, Nathan, back to Virginia from Denver to learn winemaking and he would soon produce one of the finest pinot noirs on the East Coast. Their Pinot Noir has been recognized as a “Top Ten Hot Brand 2017” by Wine Business Monthly, and Ankida Ridge was the only East Coast producer invited to Oregon’s prestigious International Pinot Noir Celebration 2016. They are listed in Food & Wine as one of Virginia’s Top 10 Vineyards and have received numerous high ratings from James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast.

Christine loves to share her passion for high-elevation viticulture, the importance of matching grape variety to place and for maintaining respect for the environment. Their panoramic vineyard and sheep farm sits high above the valleys and distant cities and has been cited as having one of the most beautiful vineyard views on the East Coast. “Ankida” is an ancient Sumerian word meaning “Where heaven and earth join.” Christine embraces the connection between people, good food and wine and the conviviality that goes with it all. She hopes you will join her on this cruise so she can share with you their serendipitous story and learn about grape-growing in various regions of the world. She invites attendees to journey to beautiful Virginia wine country and experience for yourself the beauty, tranquility and fine wines of Ankida Ridge. And there is now no retirement in their future!

Europe's Rivers & CastlesNov 13, 2024
Kathy Gilstrap
Owner, Texas Hills Vineyard, Johnson City, TX

Prior to starting the journey into the world of grape growing and wine making, Kathy and her late husband Gary owned and operated a community pharmacy for over 20 years. In 1995, they relocated to Johnson City, Texas and bought land for the vineyard and winery. Always a lover of wine, Kathy's background in pharmacy involved studies in organic and biochemistry which made for a natural progression into being a part of the art and chemistry of wine making. As one of the first wineries in the Texas Hill Country, Texas Hills Vineyard matched the climate to the grape varietals by planting Pinot Grigio, Syrah and Sangiovee in the vineyard. Receiving recognition for their Pinot Grigio in 1997 and followed with many more accolades including winning a Gold medal for his Kick Butt Cab at an International Double Blind wine tasting competition. The Texas Hills Vineyard philosophy for making wine is: “Make wine that tastes good, not just follow what others are doing, follow your own sense of quality and good taste”. This philosophy is reflected in their motto: “Wine to Share With Friends”. Kathy looks forward to sharing their award-winning Texas Hill Country wines and making new friends on this cruise.

Enchanting RhineNov 14, 2024
Sara & Brice Garrett
Owners, Serrano Wine, Hye, TX

Sarah and Brice Garrett are the owners and husband/wife winemaking team of Serrano Wine, a small, luxury wine brand located in Hye, Texas. They started from the ground up, with no formal education in viticulture or enology. For the next few years, they completely immersed themselves in the wine world. They traveled to France and Italy and met with winemakers across those regions, they read hundreds of books, they watched documentaries, they tasted every wine that they came in contact with to expand their palate and refine their own winemaking style. They hustled and started to really see growth! Their brand began with a strong social media presence and eventually a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles. They knew they had so much more of their story to write, but Paso Robles was pretty well established, and they wanted to be in an up-and-coming wine region where they could be part of the growth, a place where they could contribute and have some sort of positive impact. Texas was the first wine region they looked at outside of California, and after visiting, they decided they didn’t need to look anywhere else. This is where they wanted to be! The region was full of warm hospitality, a booming, yet still growing, wine scene, and a strong sense of community. This was where they wanted to expand Serrano.

Colors of ProvenceNov 14, 2024
Frederick Frank
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, Hammondsport, NY

Frederick Frank is president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, a position he has held since 1993. After graduating from Cornell University, Fred worked for Banfi Vintners in sales from 1979 to 1982, before attending Geisenheim Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany in 1982-1983. He was managing director of Old Brookville Vineyard at Banfi from 1984 to 1993.

Under Fred’s leadership the winery’s production and number of honors received has increased greatly, with Dr. Frank’s Riesling poured on numerous occasions in the White House. Wines from Dr. Frank’s winery are now available in over 30 states, making them among the most visible and well-known produced in New York State. The winery draws 70,000 visitors each year, providing a considerable boost for the local economy.

Fred, the winery, and its wines have been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and more. Daughter Meaghan Frank is the winery’s General Manager. Fred enjoys his time working together with Meaghan to continue the winery’s vision and consistent delivery of excellence.

Romantic DanubeNov 18, 2024
Sean O’Keefe
Mari Vineyards, Traverse City, MI

Sean O’Keefe was raised in a winemaking family on Old Mission Peninsula. His father, and founder of Chateau Grand Traverse, Ed O’Keefe, planted his first vineyards in 1974. Sean studied German Literature at University of Michigan, before going to Germany to study wine making. Afterwards, he did an apprenticeship and went to Geisenheim in Rheingau. Featuring one of the main oenology schools, great professors, and even more importantly great people, Geisenheim was an inspiration to Sean, immersing him in generational wine history. He often jokingly refers to it as the Hogwarts of Riesling.

He then returned home to launch an innovative small-batch series at his family’s winery and make himself an international emissary for Northwest Michigan’s wine community. Sean began consulting for Mari Vineyards in 2009. As Sean began deciding what types of future wine he was interested in creating, he realized Marty Lagina’s vision aligned with his in many ways, and he decided to come on as Mari’s Winemaker in 2015.

While Sean specializes in many of the varieties he grew up with — Riesling, Gamay Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Grüner Veltliner, he also works with Italian varieties the Lagina’s have planted, such as Malvasia Bianca, Nebbiolo, and Schioppettino. Curious about textural qualities in wine and always experimenting, Sean also makes skin-contact whites inspired by Georgian techniques and more recently began creating wine ciders. Mari’s portfolio is a reflection of both the Lagina family legacy and Sean’s winemaking journey.

Colors of ProvenceNov 21, 2024
Sebastian & Colleen Hardy
Founders, Living Roots Wine, Finger Lakes, NY

Sebastian and Colleen Hardy are the founders of Living Roots, a winery in the regions surrounding both of their hometowns: the Finger Lakes of New York and the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

Though it was founded in 2016, the Living Roots story can be traced to Thomas Hardy, Sebastian’s great-great-great grandfather, who immigrated from England in 1850 and planted some of the first vines in South Australia. Seb grew up around his dad’s vineyards in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills, and went on to pursue winemaking himself. He’s worked vintages in Australia, Austria, France, Italy and the US, and has a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from The University of Adelaide, with a six-month exchange at UC Davis during his studies.

Colleen grew up in Rochester, New York and has a degree in marketing from Michigan State University. Three years into a marketing career in Chicago, she was keen to get into the wine industry and pivoted. Colleen landed a position as a cellar hand for the 2014 vintage at Hardy’s Tintara Winery in South Australia before working for a small boutique winery in a hybrid marketing and cellarhand role.

Seb and Colleen started Living Roots in 2016 and split their time between South Australia and New York, doing two harvests each year and experimenting with a wide range of styles that highlight the natural strengths of each region. With sustainability at the forefront, Living Roots makes wines with varietal and regional expression, minimal inputs and maximum quality.

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