Exclusive Wine Cruise


Hosted by Richard Sanford, Founder of Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards

Richard Sanford is a true pioneer of quality winegrowing in California. Drafted into the Vietnam War, Richard chose agriculture as a way to be in nature upon his return. Winegrowing became an antidote to the war and tumultuous homecoming. With a degree in Geography from U.C. Berkeley, he was inspired to research the west coast for the perfect place to plant Pinot Noir grapevines. Recognizing the east-west Transverse Mountain Range of California, and cool maritime coastal climate of Santa Barbara County, with thermometer in hand he selected a site in the Santa Ynez Valley just a dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean. He is the first winemaker to prove the potential for Pinot Noir in the cool Santa Rita Hills, founding Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in 1971. He and his wife Thekla founded the Sanford Winery in 1981 and spent the next 25 years making some of the best-regarded Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the region. The first certified organic winegrowers of the County, the Sanford’s left their namesake winery in 2005 and established Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards to continue their commitment to agriculture in harmony with nature. Richard was inducted into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He is fully engaged with Alma Rosa Winery and is enjoying his 47th consecutive year as a winegrower.


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 Lower Danube

From the grand architecture of Budapest to the mystical “Iron Gates” to the spirit of Dracula, the lower Danube is filled with intrigue. Our Gems of Southeast Europe itinerary journeys through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, where you can taste the diversity of five countries’ age-old winemaking traditions. Southeast of the Riesling-rich Wachau Valley, the lower Danube wine regions offer a rich variety. The Szekszárd wine region is one of the oldest red wine growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago. Known for producing Kadarka grapes, most notably used in the blend known as Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), the region also produces many full-bodied and spicy reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Kékfrankos and Merlot. In Serbia, a fruity plum brandy known as Šlivovitz is the drink of choice, a fitting addition to warm cocktails, while in Croatia, the town of Ilok has a winegrowing history dating back to Roman times, where cellars mature such varietals as Traminac, Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay.


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