2018 Wine River Cruises

 

 
 
Melodies of the Danube Oct 26, 2018
 
Rick Patton
Director of Private Clients, Alpha Omega Winery, St. Helena, CA
 
Rick Patton is the Director of Private Clients for Alpha Omega, a boutique winery in the Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley. He recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at the 11-year-old winery whose top buyers rely on Rick for his expertise and personalized attention. The New Jersey native had an epiphany in 1982 when he discovered Napa Valley while on a business trip to the west coast. Two years later, the savvy software salesman transferred from the New York area to his company’s Silicon Valley headquarters to be near California’s world famous wine region. In 2004, Rick and his wife moved to Napa Valley. He expanded his wine knowledge while working at Franciscan and Miner before Alpha Omega owner Robin Baggett lured him to his new winery. Within six months, Rick was Alpha Omega’s tasting room manager. An integral part of Alpha Omega’s success, Rick prides himself on continually increasing his wine wisdom as he enjoys fine wines from around the world.
 
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Colors of Provence Nov 1, 2018
 
Jordan Kivelstadt
Owner & Winemaker, Kivelstadt Cellars, Glen Ellen, CA
 
Jordan is a passionate wine lover, grower and winemaker. He began his career working for Copain Wines of California, a premier producer of Pinot Noir and Syrah. After that he headed to Australia, working on some of the world’s best Syrah and Cabernet. He then returned to Sonoma, working for the Donum Estate, producing multiple top scoring pinots for the Russian River. Jordan’s true passion has always been restrained Rhone wines. In 2012 he launched Kivelstadt Cellars, a boutique California winery focusing on Rhone Varietals from his family’s organic vineyard, and then sourcing from the best of the North Coast of California. Today, Jordan produces about 5,000 cases a year, including Syrah, Carignane, Grenache, Rousanne, Marsanne, and in honor of his California roots – a Charbono and Zinfandel. His wines are balanced, low in alcohol, and pay homage to the classic old-world style.
 
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Melodies of the Danube Nov 2, 2018
 
Shirley Brooks
VP Sales & Wine Ambassador, Elk Cove Vineyards, Gaston, OR
 
Located in the Willamette Valley’s western Coast Range foothills, Elk Cove Vineyards is one of Oregon’s premier producers of pinot noir and North American Rieslings. Founded in 1974, Elk Cove remains one of the oldest wineries still producing in Oregon. Today the winery is one of the USA’s premier vintners of pinot noir, Riesling, pinot gris and pinot blanc. Shirley Brooks has been working at Elk Cove since March of 2000, traveling the globe as brand ambassador developing markets new and old. She pulls on her harvest boots each year and joins the crew in crush. For Shirley connection to place is the essence of great wine. It’s also her way of honoring her grandfather, who back during Prohibition was a bootlegger. Shirley has served as a Board member for Oregon Pinot Camp and currently sits on the Oregon Wine Board Export Committee. Join Shirley on this marvelous voyage on the Blue Danube, sailing from Budapest to Vilshofen in Bavaria.
 
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Romantic Danube Nov 2, 2018
 
John Bookwalter
President, J. Bookwalter Wines, Richland, WA
 
John Bookwalter is currently the president of Bookwalter Winery. Founded in 1983, Bookwalter Winery has successfully transitioned from the first generation into one of the most dynamic mid-sized wineries in Washington State with production reaching 30,000 cases and retail locations in Eastern and Western Washington along with a full service restaurant located at the Winery in Richland, Fiction@ J. Bookwalter. John joined the family Winery in 1997 following a 10 year career in sales and marketing in the beverage industry and continues to be responsible for overseeing all operations as it relates to winemaking activities, vineyard management, sales and marketing initiatives and strategic planning for the company.
Today, J. Bookwalter has grown from one of Washington’s oldest wineries into one of Pacific Northwest’s most recognized boutique wine brands, relying on exceptional vineyard sources and meticulous winemaking to produce some of the world’s finest wines. Join him to explore wines along the Danube and taste some Bookwalter wines alongside some of the local wines from the Wachau wine region.
 
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Melodies of the Danube Nov 4, 2018
 
Amelia Ceja
President, Ceja Vineyards Napa, Ca
In 1967, Amelia Morán Ceja emigrated to the U.S. to join her father, a farmworker, who toiled for years in California’s vineyards. Today she’s crossing another border, turning wine consumers into wine aficionados with her subtle blend of viticulture, down-home cuisine and a Web-based marketing campaign. Ceja Vineyards was founded by Amelia and her partners in Napa Valley in 1999; she became the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery. The California legislature recognized Amelia as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business.” Amelia’s commitment to marketing ethics and corporate responsibility has been acknowledged. She received the coveted 2013 Academy of Marketing Science Distinguished Marketer Award. She has been successful in the growth of the Ceja Vineyards brand, using marketing innovation and creativity. In February 2016, Amelia received the 2016 Dolores Huerta Farmworker Justice Award for her and her company’s commitment to promoting the value and fair treatment of farmworkers.
 
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Captivating Rhine Nov 5, 2018
 
Matthieu Finot
Winemaker, King Family Vineyards, Crozet, VA
 
Please check back for updates.Matthieu was born in Crozes Hermitage in the Rhone Valley of France. Coming from a family of viticulturists and wine lovers, Matthieu was predisposed to continue his family’s pursuit of making and enjoying wine. He first studied viticulture and oenology at Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy. After graduating in 1995, Matthieu worked in many different wine regions around France including Rhone Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, and Jura. He then worked in Italy and South Africa to gain experience around the world before settling in Virginia. Since arriving in 2003, Matthieu has worked with wineries throughout the state. He enjoys working in the Monticello Appellation most because he likes the excitement of the region’s growth and being close to Charlottesville.
 
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Enchanting Rhine Nov 5, 2018
 
Rob & Paula Campbell-Taylor
Owners, Graveyard Vineyards, San Miguel, CA

Don’t let the name Graveyard Vineyards fool you. This highly acclaimed California winery began from a dream that owners, Rob and Paula had of owning property in the country to raise their two 2 young sons. After searching the California coast, they discovered an 81-acre property on the top of a hill past a little country graveyard dating back to 1865. The property had everything on their list of “must haves” including an existing vineyard. The biggest find though came soon after when they discovered and hired their winemaker, Jason Bushong. What started with 184 case bottling in 2006 is now an award-winning winery and tasting room with direct to consumer sales of 5,000 cases per year to a wine club of over 2,000 people. Join them as they lead you along the wonderful Wachau Valley.
 
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Enticing Douro Nov 6, 2018
 
Jeff & Margie Runquist
Owners of Jeff Runquist Winery, Amador County, CA
 
Since graduating from UC Davis in 1980, Jeff Runquist has been the winemaker at Montevina Wines in Amador County, Napa Valley Cooperative in St Helena, and the J. Lohr Winery in San Jose and Paso Robles. In 1996, Jeff designed and helped construct the McManis Family Vineyards in Ripon then launched his brand in 1997. Jeff’s dream was to move back to Amador County and open his own tasting room and that dream came true in 2008. From the 2012 vintage, Jeff offered twenty-nine different wines from twenty different varietals ranging from Barbera to Touriga. Depending upon the varietal, Jeff teams with twenty-four different growers from throughout California, pairing the particular grape varietal with a specific vineyard site. All but four of his wines carry a vineyard designation and the name of the grower. A close relationship with growers and a respect for their fruit is revealed in every bottle of Runquist wine. Join Jeff and Margie as they explore the Enticing Douro in 2018.
 
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Colors of Provence Nov 8, 2018
 
Passport to Dry Creek Valley®
Healdsburg, CA
 
  • Michael & Vicky Farrow, Owners, Amista Vineyards
  • Kelly Ferris, Owner & Chris Russi, Winemaker, Comstock Wines
  • Dan Gustafson, Owner, Gustafson Family Vineyards
  • Bill & Yvonne Kreck, Owners, Mill Creek Vineyards
  • Ed & Julie Pedroncelli St. John, Owners, Pedroncelli Winery
  • Tim & Mary Louise Bucher, Trattore Farms

 

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Paris & Normandy Nov 8, 2018
 
Curt Pipes
Sales Manager, Las Positas Vineyards, Livermore, CA
Please join Curt Pipes of Las Positas Vineyards as he hosts AmaWaterways’ November 8, 2018 sailing of the AmaLyra round trip from Paris, to the Normandy landing beaches. You’ll feast on mouth-watering cuisine and delight in experiencing regional wines from France, while Curt shares over 20 years of wine and culinary expertise during our 7-night voyage. Compare and contrast Old World Wines with Las Positas Vineyards’ New World award-winning selections, while you expand your palate on our exclusive “In Celebration of Wine” sailing. With extensive knowledge of the art of food and wine pairing, Curt will conduct three seminars on the Seine and lead passengers through a magnificent wine-paired dinner featuring Las Positas Vineyards wine.
 
 
 
 
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Rhine & Moselle SplendorsNov 8, 2018
 
Mark Clarin
Winemaker for McGrail Vineyards, Livermore CA
Please join winemaker Mark Clarin of McGrail Vineyards as he hosts AmaWaterways' November 8, 2018 sailing of the AmaDante on a spectacular wine cruise along the Rhine & Moselle rivers. You'll feast on mouth-watering cuisine and delight in experiencing regional wines, while Mark shares over 30 years of award-winning winemaking expertise during our 7-night voyage. Compare and contrast Old World Wines with McGrail Vineyards' New World award-winning selections, while you expand your palate. Mark will share his expertise during three lecture/tastings and lead passengers through a magnificent wine-paired dinner featuring McGrail Vineyards wine. As Mark is also an avid musician, we may also get to hear him perform on the ship after our days filled with touring, wine tasting, fine cuisine and local entertainment…what a treat! Please join us this Fall!
 
 
 
 
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Taste of BordeauxNov 8, 2018
 
Dave Moulton
Winemaker, Burrell School Vineyards, Santa Cruz, CA
Proprietor and winemaker Dave Moulton established Burrell School Vineyards in 1993, and has been producing award-winning hand crafted estate wines from his Santa Cruz Mountains location ever since. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre grow on the 20 acre estate, which houses a historic on room country schoolhouse, restored lovingly by Dave and his wife to the original 1890 configuration. That same commitment to detail, paired with over 50 years of winemaking expertise and traditional methods lead Dave to produce wines of incredible consistency and quality. Join us on our journey through Bordeaux as Dave leads us in the exploration of the region’s wines and traditions, peppered with his unique perspective and experience, as we all repeat the Burrell School Vineyards mantra: “I Promise to Sip my Wine!”
 
 
 
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Romantic Danube Nov 9, 2018
 
Michael Muscardini
Owner and Winemaker, Muscardini Cellars, Kenwood, CA
 
Michael graduated from college with a fine arts degree. After 27 years building a successful construction company he entered the world of winemaking. In 1999 he bought land in Sonoma, planting Sangiovese vines. Within 5 years Michael’s hand-crafted vintages won Best in Class gold medals at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition and a double gold at the California State Fair. His 2008 Pauli Ranch Sangiovese garnered 98 points and Muscardini Cellars was lauded as Best Micro Winery in California. No small achievements for this winemaker! Join Michael on a special voyage down the Danube, visiting some of the most historic and charming villages along Wachau Valley. On board Michael will explain the nuances of winemaking in contrast with his own New World approach.
 
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Romantic Danube Nov 11, 2018
 
Frederick Frank
President, Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Region, NY
 
Frederick Frank is president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, a position he has held since 1993. After graduating from Cornell University, Fred worked for Banfi Vintners in sales from 1979 to 1982, before attending Geisenheim Reserch Institute for Viticulture and Enology in West Germany in 1982-1983. He was managing director of Old Brookville Vineyard at Banfi from 1984 to 1993. Under Fred’s leadership both the winery’s production and number of honors received has increased greatly, with Dr. Frank’s Riesling poured on numerous occasions in the White House. Wines from Dr. Frank’s winery are now available in over 30 states, making them among the most visible and well-known produced in New York State. Fred, the winery, and its wines have been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Wine & Spirits Magazine, New York Times, The Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast and more. Please join Fred Frank on this voyage down the Blue Danube visiting Prague, Vilshofen, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and some of the most beautiful villages in Austria.
 
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Enchanting Rhine Nov 12, 2018
Janet Myers

Director of Winemaking, Franciscan Estate Winery, Napa Valley, CA
Traveling a wine road wasn’t Janet’s original path. In what now seems like another life, she gave up her pursuit of a doctorate in Biological Anthropology to move to London, where she worked in the restaurant industry. Living above a wine shop, she enjoyed sampling the wares of her downstairs neighbor and decided to learn about wine production. “When I realized that this was an industry that combined science and agriculture—which is my family’s background—I enrolled at UC Davis and haven’t looked back.” After graduating from UC Davis with a Master’s in Enology, she pursued harvest abroad to enrich her experience. Wanting to connect to her roots by spending time in Italy, her mother’s ancestral home country, Janet turned to the Antinori winemaker in Italy, who offered her a harvest internship at the Santa Cristina Estate in Chianti. Before coming to Franciscan Estate in August of 2003 as Associate Winemaker, Janet enjoyed stints in Australia’s Margaret River region and at big Cabernet producers Beaulieu Vineyard, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Louis Martini Winery. Janet was promoted to Director of Winemaking of Franciscan Estate and Mt Veeder in August 2005. Join Janet as you journey along the Enchanting Rhine on the beautiful AmaStella.
 
 
 
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Taste of Bordeaux Nov 15, 2018
 
Paul and Maggie Bush
Owners of Madrona Vineyards, Camino CA.
 
Having planted vineyards when I was 6 years old and now being a winemaker, some might assume a classic Hollywood-like progression. However, I am not the “poster boy” for the wine industry. In fact having grown up in the family’s vineyards and winery, I couldn’t wait to do something, or anything, different. I did indeed graduate from UC Davis in 1989, but my degree is in Macro Economics.

So then, how does one succeed “escaping” the wine industry and then find himself some 25 years later owning vineyards and two wineries? Personal evolution (yep, that sounds good!). In all honesty, my interest in wine is rooted in vine. I love growing grapes and then finding the purest expression of our vineyards in the wine. Given the choice, my office would be a tractor and my time spent purely in the field, as that is from where the true quality of wine comes.

This purest expression of our terroir is only found if we do the best job in the vineyards and take a minimalist approach in the winery. This means that I am less a winemaker and more a “wine elaborator.” Or more simply put, taste the vineyard, not the winemaker! Personally, one cannot ask for a more fulfilling quality of life than owning a winery. I get to work every day with my wife Maggie (whose background is finances). She runs the wineries and I make the wines. Add to this that we work with wonderful people, live in a beautiful region, and get to enjoy the fruits of our labors in a glass, and I suppose we do live the dream. And that has been the personal evolution.

 
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Captivating Rhine Nov 17, 2018
 
Matt Wengel
Winemaker for Lemelson Vineyards, Carlton OR
 
Graduating with honors from the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program was just the start for Matt. After completing several harvests in Sonoma County, he journeyed to South Africa, where he swam with Great White sharks off the coast while making wine in Stellenbosch at Warwick Estate. Later he learned Spanish in the Bio-Bio Valley in Chile, while getting to know Chilean winemakers and the wonderful local culture. Matt next came home to the U.S. to work in upstate New York and Hunt County, aspiring to almost freeze to death making ice wine and delicious, crisp dry Rieslings. He then returned to California to a position at Stags Leap Winery in Napa Valley. Before moving to Oregon, he most recently worked at Clos Pegase for a few more years as associate winemaker, and made various other Sonoma County brands on the side. Matt has always wanted to come to Oregon, and is loving making beautiful wines at Lemelson Vineyards. Lemelson’s commitment to terrior driven, minimalist intervention winemaking from organically farmed estate vineyards is his dream-come- true job. When not at the winery, you’ll find Matt hiking or running in the deep green woods and verdant fields of Western Oregon, trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Hood in the distance.
 
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Enchanting Rhine Nov 19, 2018
 


 

 
Tony Stewart
CEO & Proprietor, Quails’ Gate Winery, Okanagan Valley, BC
As CEO of Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, Tony directs much of his energy in creating an environment that enables Quails’ Gate to succeed as one of the world’s best wine houses. He’s passionate about ensuring that Quails’ Gate visitors receive exceptional product and service. Tony and the rest of his team are confident and excited about leading the way in winery culinary tourism. He also devotes significant time to several local, industry, provincial and national associations. As one of Canada’s foremost family-owned estate wineries, we’ve shaped the development of the wine industry for over six decades, focusing on making the Okanagan Valley a true culinary destination. Quails’ Gate Winery has built its reputation on three pillars: providing consistent high-quality wines, delivering an exceptional visitor experience, and ensuring excellence in customer service.
 
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