SEATTLE, August 11, 2008 â€“ Cruise West, Americaâ€™s leading small-ship cruise line, has enhanced 2008â€™s three-night Culture of the Vine and four-night Vintnerâ€™s Choice cruises to highlight even more of the California wine regionâ€™s outstanding culinary offerings. Each day features added topical onboard lectures and wine tastings led by a wine expert as well as a robust land program with tours at select wineries and delectable meals at renowned local dining establishments.
â€œThe California Wine Country Cruises are designed for both wine novices and connoisseurs who seek a personalized wine country experience,â€ said President & CEO Dietmar R. Wertanzl. â€œThere is romance of being on a small-ship;itâ€™s like your own personal vessel with the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. A romantic couple or friends who just want a fun getaway with a designated â€˜driverâ€™ can enjoy sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset with a glass of sparkling wine in hand, viewing the dazzling evening lights of San Francisco and circumnavigating infamous Alcatraz. The three or four days spent wining and dining onboard and on land are a feast for the senses.â€
The five-day/four-night Vintnerâ€™s Choice itinerary highlights Napa Valley, Sonoma and the charming town of Sausalito. Cruising up the Napa River from San Francisco Bay, guests step ashore in Napa and into the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA). There, guests will be immersed in a wine blending workshop that includes the five Bordeaux grape varietals, will savor a three-course â€œchefâ€™s selectionâ€ lunch paired with wine at renowned Auberge du Soleil and will taste the sparkling wines of Mumm Napa during a tour of the facilities. and gallery.
In Sonoma, guests will have the option to explore Sonomaâ€™s historical district or participate in a choice of optional excursions including: The Cabernet Lovers Limo Tour; an Olive Press tour; or a thrilling hot air balloon ride. That afternoon oenophiles will learn â€œtasting techniquesâ€at award-winning Chateau St. Jean and indulge in a cheese, charcuterie and winetasting at St Francis Winery, known for its outstanding wines and gorgeous setting. This itinerary on the138-guest Spirit of Yorktown round trip San Francisco departs September 15, 22, 29 and October 6 and 13, 2008and begins at $2,049 per person, round trip.
The four-day/three-night Culture of the Vine itinerary, also on the Spirit of Yorktown , round trip San Francisco, departs September 19, 26 and October 3 and 19, 2008 and begins at $1,349 per person. In Napa, guests will taste four wines of note at a private tasting at boutique winery Alpha Omega followed by a tasting at Merryvale Vineyards, the first winery built in the Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition. Revelers will capture the spirit of Bacchus at Clos Pegase Winery, enjoying a three-course lunch in the on-site cave theater, complemented by three of the wineryâ€™s favorite products
Highlights in Sonoma will include a tour and tasting of Reve Blanc de Blancs and Brut Rose at sparkling wine producer Domaine Carneros as well as a private tram tour of the vineyard and cave at Benzinger Family Winery, followed by a lesson in the companyâ€™s biodynamic farming principles.
For more information or to book a California Wine Country cruise, call 1-800-296-8307 or visit www.cruisewest.com/destinations/california_wine_country/ .