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.

Essence of Burgundy & ProvenceMar 14, 2024
Mike & Melissa Owen
Owners, Crystal Basin Cellars, Camino, CA

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.

Gems of Southeast EuropeMar 25, 2024
Paul Toussaint
Owner, Toussaint Cellars

Toussaint Cellars is a micro boutique winery established in 2016 by Paul and Gina Toussaint in the Santa Barbara County wine region of California.

Paul is the winemaker and has lived in the Santa Barbara area for 40 years. He learned to love the unique vineyard characteristics and many varietals grown in the Santa Barbara wine region and developed a great appreciation for the local winemakers. He started making his own wines 15 years ago.

Wines are handcrafted in limited quantity to fully express the unique varietal and vineyard characteristics of Santa Barbara County AVA’s. Most grapes are sourced from smaller vineyards to offer a unique expression of Santa Barbara varietals.

Captivating RhineMar 28, 2024
Janet Thomas
Caymus Vineyards, Conundrum, Mer Soleil, Emmolo, Sea-Sun, Bonanza and Caymus-Suisun
While Janet Thomas hails from a background in International Relations, she discovered her real passion for wine when she began working for Caymus Vineyards and the Wagner Family of Wine in Napa Valley, California in 2010. Janet wears many hats, but none so important as having the opportunity to share the Wagner family’s beautiful array of wines with the world in her role as an Export Director. Caymus Vineyards began in 1972 and is still family owned and operated with additional brands now in the portfolio — Conundrum, Mer Soleil, Emmolo, Sea-Sun, Bonanza and Caymus-Suisun. In March 2024, join Janet on the beautiful AmaSiena for a memorable wine cruise down the Rhine River and experience all that the region, and the Wagner Family of Wine, have to offer.
Captivating RhineJul 4, 2024
Brad Beard
Winemaker, Mercury Wine

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.

Rhine Castles & Swiss AlpsJul 22, 2024
Mike & Gale Reynvaan
Owners, Reynvaan Family Vineyards

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.

Romantic DanubeNov 6, 2024
Jamie Peterson
Winemaker, Peterson Winery

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

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.

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