Exclusive Wine Cruise

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Hosted by 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.

Expertly Curated WINE EXPERIENCES

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 Rhône

Besides providing captivating views of medieval towns and colorful landscapes, the Rhône River connects the dots between thousands of vineyards from Lyon to Avignon. Our Colors of Provence itinerary takes you through this prized wine-producing region in southeastern France, known across the globe as the Rhône Valley. You’ll also get to savor some delightful wines from the Beaujolais region just to the north, where the Rhône meets the Saône. The valley traces the path of the river for almost 150 miles, hypnotizing travelers with grape-covered vines gripping its steep sides. Since it’s so large, the climate varies greatly from north to south as does the soil and wine quality. Thus, the Rhône is divided at the town of Valence into two worlds of wine: the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône.

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