Exclusive Wine Cruise


Hosted by Friends and Colleagues of the Late Christopher Silva, Former President & CEO, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Santa Rosa, CA

In loving memory of Christopher Silva, Former President and CEO of St. Francis Winery


Join St. Francis Winery & Vineyards and J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines for a special Wine Cruise celebrating the life of Christopher Silva, one of AmaWaterway’s dearest friends and treasured Wine Hosts.

If you had the honor of taking a Wine Cruise hosted by Christopher Silva, then you experienced passion at its finest. The late President and CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards was an ambitious and beloved vintner, described by all who knew him as “larger than life”. When Christopher passed over a year ago, he left priceless memories in the hearts of our AmaWaterways family. Although his wit, charm and unforgettable wine-themed sailings cannot be replaced, Christopher’s spirit lives on through his many friends and colleagues, both at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards and throughout the California wine industry.

Rick Bonitati of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards along with Lawrence Lohr, fellow wine educator of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, will be on hand as your co-hosts to share stories and knowledge of the wines and the Sonoma County wine region Christopher loved so well, while guiding you through some of the exclusive wine regions of France.

As a lasting tribute, a donation to the Christopher Silva endowment at the Santa Rosa Junior College will be made by AmaWaterways and the Karst Family for each guest in this select group.

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating and toasting a life well lived. Cheers to our friend Christopher!


Hosted by Rick Bonitati, President & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

Rick Bonitati joined the St. Francis team as President and CEO 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 Winery and Vineyards. Rick believes it is imperative to “work hard and have fun doing it.” His knowledge and experience in winemaking, viticulture, and winery management, along with his collaborative approach to the pursuit of consistent development is perfectly aligned with the driving force behind St. Francis’ dedication to excellence.


Hosted by Lawrence Lohr, Co-Owner of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and other Special Guests

Lawrence Lohr works day-to-day with his father Jerry in all aspects of the company’s estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County and St. Helena while also helping to provide strategic direction as a member of the winery’s executive team. Drawing upon J. Lohr’s extensive history in its chosen appellations and a deep appreciation for family and place, Lawrence holds strong relationships with industry partners, regional trade associations, and subject-matter experts and works regionally and nationally in support of the winery’s sales and marketing programs. Lawrence serves on the board of directors for Wine Institute and the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association.


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.

About the Wine Region – The Seine River

The curvy nature of the Seine River can be disorienting when you’re in Paris. Not to worry, just remember to face downstream, so you can tell the Left Bank from the Right. Our Paris & Normandy cruise itinerary is about as romantic as it gets, beginning with views of the art-inspiring “City of Light” that morphs into lush countryside and the historic Normandy Beaches. France’s second largest waterway allows us to sample some of the country’s most renowned champagne, ciders and Calvados.

The wine variety that instantly characterizes northern France comes from the Champagne region, about 90 miles east of Paris. These sparkling varieties produce a sweet effervescence and unparalleled quality that merit exclusive classification as the one-and-only wine known as Champagne. Another specialty drink found closer to the English Channel is Calvados, which comes from Normandy’s fruit-filled orchards. Made from over 170 apple (and pear) varieties, this rustic spirit is distilled twice and barrel-aged for at least two years before bottling. The result is a liqueur bursting with mainly complex flavors.


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