Next year wine lovers can enjoy the ultimate Rhone wine experience while cruising the river of the same name with the person dubbed by Wine Spectator magazine as “The Rhone Ranger.”
The cruise will be hosted by Randall Grahm, owner of Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineryard aboard Uniworld’s newest luxury ship the S.S. Catherine.
This will be a unique opportunity to enjoy a small ship cruise through five of France’s most acclaimed wine regions with the person many consider to be America’s foremost expert on Rhone wines. Randall received the Wine & Spirits “Professional of the Year” award by the James Beard Foundation in 1994, then the University of California Press published his award-winning book, “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology” in 2009 and a year later the Culinary Institute of America inducted him into the Vintners Hall of Fame.
The cruise departs on July 17, 2016 from Avignon to Lyon through the Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Cote Rotie, Hermitage and Burgundy wine regions. Prices begin at $4,274 per person, double share for a week that includes meals and accommodation, onboard gratuities, daily excursions, alcohol at lunch and dinner and the private wine program with Randall. Onboard Randall will “Rap-about-Rhones” while pouring an array of his award winning wines and an assortment of favorite French selections. He’ll also oversee a wine paired dinner and is connecting with his French “winemaking tribe” to arrange optional tastings and lunches at top-rated regional wineries not normally open to the public.
One such excursion is a tasting at Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s acclaimed wine estate Chateau de Beaucastel followed by a lunch prepared by the estate’s one-star Michelin restaurant chef Laurent Deconinck. Other private-to-the-group wine adventures are planned as well.
The cruise is organized by Santa Rosa, CA based wine travel specialists Food & Wine Trails. Customers that book by November 30th will receive an extra $50 per person ship credit.
About Uniworld: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is the world’s only authentic boutique cruise line, recognized among the “World’s Best River Cruises” by Travel + Leisure. Uniworld was voted “#1 River Cruise Line in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards, and named to Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List and their Platinum Circle for having the made the list consistently for the past five years.
About the S.S. Catherine: The S.S. Catherine was launched last year and pampers 159 guests with the industry’s highest staff-to-guest ratio. She is an elegantly appointed vessel full of original commissioned and antique artwork. Its two-deck-high lobby features an elaborate Murano chandelier as well as a glass elevator adjacent to a cascading waterfall. The ship also boasts a signature Bar du Leopard, complete with cinema facilities, which references the Leopard Lounges found in some Red Carnation Hotels. Other highlights include an indoor swimming pool in a room decorated with floor-to-ceiling mosaics.
About Food & Wine Trails: The mission of Food & Wine Trails is to provide authenticity, value and access to the world’s best food and wine travel experiences. Each program is led or organized by a recognized local culinary expert to provide the guest with insight, access and a behind-the-kitchen (or cellar) door experience. Food & Wine Trails is the tour division of the HMS Travel Group, a 30-year-old company that is based in Santa Rosa, California. The company designs educational travel programs for individual enthusiasts, culinary organizations, wineries and many of America’s top food and wine publications. Larry Martin, the president of Food & Wine Trails, is the past Northern California Regional Governor for Slow Food, an international food advocacy organization and was named by the editors of Conde Nast Traveler as the “World’s Top Wine Travel Specialist” for three consecutive years.