Food Wine Trails has announced their 2011 travel schedule featuring a series of small-group, cruise departures designed to to cater to sincere wine lovers. The company has launched 10 wine cruises for the 2011 season, each hosted by a nationally known winemaker and each with their own set of unique experiences and bragging rights.
Here are three examples, beginning with the rarest:
Napa's Chateau Montelena Winery is onboard the June 29 sailing of the Regent Navigator from Anchorage to Vancouver and is offering a twenty five-year retrospective of their acclaimed Cabernets and a 10-year retrospective of their Chardonnays. Their chardonnay is the wine that helped secure the winery's place in history, at the famed Paris Tasting of 1976 where it was picked as the best wine in the world, but its cabernet sauvignon that has driven the winery's reputation forward. This will be a truly unique wine experience as it is unlikely that these tastings will again be repeated due to the scarcity of the wines.
On a May 7, on an Athens to Barcelona cruise aboard Oceania Cruises' 650 passenger cruise-ship Insignia, fans of seven California wineries (Firestone, Foley, Lincourt, Sebastiani, Kuleto, Merus and Three Rivers) will offer multiple unique wine experiences. Leading the list is a private five-course lunch at tasting at Italy's Ornellaia winery, one of the few wineries in the world to receive a perfect 100 score from Wine Spectator. On the cruise, Kuleto winemaker Dave Lattin of Napa Valley will offer two unique tasting opportunities: a six-barrel tasting of cabernet from the acclaimed 2005 and 2006 vintage and a tasting-tour of the Santa Rita Hills appellation, made for Foley Winery by the highly acclaimed, former Seasmoke winemaker Kris Curran.
ZAP is a Zinfandel enthusiast group that will be on Oceania Cruises Lines new ship the Marina, sailing from Rome to Venice on April 26. ZAP is offering an extensive program of unusual wine experiences both on and off the ship. These will include a reserve wine tasting from some of the most notable Zinfandel vineyards in California, a tasting tour of the Paso Robles wine appellation, a heritage Zinfandel tasting of the Plavic Mali varietal with Croatian winemakers in the medieval city of Dubrovnik, and a tasting of Super Tuscan wines in the Bolgheri wine region of Italy.
These Food Wine Trails cruises begin at $4,049 per person double occupancy, and include free airfare from 20 US cities, prepaid gratuities, and a $100 shipboard credit.
Food Wine Trails offers food and wine-lovers opportunities on land as well as on the water. In 2011 this will include the world's first wine-safari to India on February 11th led by a Sonoma County and India winemaker Kerry Damskey. Also offered are a series of small group tours to Italy, including a Walking, Eating and Drinking tour of the Cinque Terra. This 6-day tour will be led by American born, Italian cookbook authoress Pamela Shelton on April 11th and then again on September 11th.