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Exclusive Wine Cruise


Hosted by Thane Hawkins, Proprietor & Winemaker for Hawkins Cellars, Dundee OR

In 2002 Thane Hawkins reached a crossroads in his life. He had forged a very successful career in the animation industry, then took a leave of absence and moved to Oregon. There he fell in love with the slower lifestyle. In the Willamette Valley he discovered Pinot Noir. “I could taste the earth, the dirt, and the must in the wines, and of course the fruit!” Today Thane sources grapes from Yakima Valley and Columbia Gorge vineyards. “Of the places I find most intriguing for adventure and quality grapes, the Columbia Gorge has the greatest pull.” In 2013 he planted a Pinot Noir vineyard on Underwood Mountain property in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a region with a climate similar to Alsace. A winery and tasting room now operate, delivering the wines of Hawkins Cellars to an eager following. Join Thane Hawkins on a wine cruise down the beautiful Seine River, from Paris into Normandy. This is a delightful experience for lovers of fine wine, French cuisine and art history.


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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