Experience The Essence of Europe in the Heart of Healdsburg

Experience The Essence of Europe in the Heart of Healdsburg

Experience Europe Right in the Heart of Healdsburg

With international travel restrictions still in flux for many countries, travelers are looking for destinations to “experience Europe” without leaving the US. Healdsburg, CA offers a charming and sophisticated way for travelers to enjoy European-inspired experiences – from a French bistro lunch to an Italian heritage wine flight – in the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country.

Take a brief tour of some of these special getaways, Inns, wineries, and dining establishments in the charming hamlet of Healdsburg.  You will find travel experiences much like you indulge in on your European sojourns.  You can actually satisfy your European craving not too far from home. No Airports to deal with, no long lines, no customs, no jet lag, just a relaxing drive through the rolling hills of Northern California will deliver you to a wine country vacation in this small but mighty town

Living in the Bay Area, there are so many options to visit so much of what we miss while we were busy traveling across the pond to visit France, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain.

Little did many people not realize that the flavor and ambiance of the charming small European towns are actually nestled practically in our own back yard a few hours’ drive away, in Healdsburg, California.

Healdsburg is a city located in Sonoma County, in California‘s Wine Country. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 11,254. Due to its three most important wine-producing regions (the Russian RiverDry Creek, and Alexander Valley AVAs), Healdsburg has been continuously awarded one of the top 10 small towns in America and is home to three of the top wineries in the United States.

Nestled along the Russian River in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, Healdsburg combines small-town charm, stunning vistas, and award-winning vintages with an eclectic mix centered around a charming town plaza lined with shops, restaurants, tasting rooms, galleries, and bars. And while travel looks different right now, there are still many ways to eat, sip, shop, and explore your way through Healdsburg.

 

France Inspired Healdsburg

 

If you’re in the market for the perfect substitute for a French vacation, Hotel Les Mars brings Parisian-style charm to Northern California with its traditional 17th and 18th-century antiques throughout the property and grounds that reflect the landscape of a historic French Maison. The stunning 16-room hotel features European-style service, complimentary French breakfasts, and daily wine and cheese receptions in the grand library.

 

For a taste of traditional French cuisine, Costeaux French Bakery has you covered. The family-owned bakery has been renowned for its legendary artisan bread, fresh pastries, French café classics like signature quiche, tortes, tartes, and macarons since 1923. Favorites include the Costeaux Omelette with bacon, spinach, sun-dried tomato, brie, and potatoes, and the croissant breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon, avocado, and cheddar cheese served on a butter croissant.

 

When in Wine Country, enjoy a Parisian bistro lunch with Jordan Vineyard and Winery‘s new Paris on the Terraceexperience including a four-course outdoor lunch and wine pairing served near the winery’s bright-yellow, ivy-covered French-style château. French music drifts in the air while guests dine on classic Parisian bistro fare with a California twist, like freshly baked bread with a drizzle of 2019 Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, paired with wines like the Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble.

Italy Inspired Healdsburg

Experience an Italian sanctuary at Bella Villa Messina, an eclectic Bed & Breakfast Inn featuring five European-inspired rooms filled with art and antiques, each with Jacuzzis, king & queen bed, and fireplaces. Guests enjoy daily complimentary wine and cheese tastings, an outdoor pool, and a terrace overlooking 400,000 acres of picturesque wine country.

 

Campo Fina is a local eatery that captures the laid-back summertime in Italy with al fresco dining, wood-fired pizzas, an outdoor bocce court, and a wine list composed of local and Italian wines. Red leather banquets pair with original 100-year-old brick walls to bring an intimate feeling of community dining.

 

Take your vacation to the next level with a visit to Seghesio Family Vineyards. Since planting their first vines in 1895 after immigrating from Italy, the Seghesio family name has become synonymous with the highest quality Italian varietal wines from Sonoma County. At the Seghesio tasting room in Healdsburg, guests enjoy a flight of award-winning Italian heritage wines while hearing stories of the Seghesio wines, family, and friendship.

Spain Inspired Healdsburg

Bringing traditional Spanish and modern tapas-style dining to Healdsburg, Bravas Bar de Tapas offers favorites including sangria, patatas bravas, paella, and more. James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists Mark and Terri Stark introduced the restaurant in 2012 and it has been a local favorite since.

 

Just outside of Healdsburg, Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery was founded by Marimar Torres who emigrated from Barcelona and has been blending new and old-world traditions since her first vintage in 1989. Marimar oversees their winery and two sustainable vineyards, Don Miguel (named after her late father) and Doña Margarita (named after her late mother). Guests can enjoy Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Albariño, and Tempranillo wines paired with Spanish tapas and even grab a copy of Marimar’s cookbooks to try these authentic recipes that capture the flavors of her homeland.

Great Britain Inspired Healdsburg

A member of the Sonoma County Landmarks Registry, the historic Calderwood Inn was built in 1902 and set in peaceful, English country-style gardens with a koi pond, fountain, and ancient trees. The Queen Anne-style bed and breakfast features ten formal, yet welcoming rooms that are inspired by William Morris, a British textile designer of the mid-to-late 1800s and feature a gourmet breakfast each morning and welcome wine reception upon arrival.

For a traditional English high tea experience, Hotel Healdsburg, in collaboration with Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, is offering a holiday tea on weekends this December. Afternoon tea will feature a variety of common high tea fare such as custom blend teas, dainty finger sandwiches, house-made pastries, and classic cocktails.

 

 

Small Ship Cruise Lines are Now Relaunching their Fleets to the Seas, Rivers and Canals

Small Ship Cruise Lines are Now Relaunching their Fleets to the Seas, Rivers and Canals

Viking Douro River Cruise Portugal – Photo Courtesy of Viking

Small Ship Cruise Lines are Now Relaunching their Fleets to the Seas, Rivers, and Canals

Crossing the Loire River with Barge Lady Cruises – Photos Courtesy of Barge Lady Cruises

Featuring:

AmaWaterways

Barge Lady Cruises

UnCruise Adventures

Viking

Windstar Cruises

Welcome back small ship cruising! We have missed you! Many small fleets of boutique sea and river passenger cruise lines have been happily released to sail the waters again. Finally, after over a year and a half of being docked dormant at their respective harbors and inland ports around the world, these luxury sea and river-worthy vessels are finally waking from a long and quiet hibernation at shore.

Though many of the “Mega Cruise Ships” are still moored currently void of passengers, a majority of these smaller vessels have been set free to cruise the blue open waters and tranquil flowing rivers. Passenger bookings are exploding for 2021, 2022, and 2023 as eager travelers are elated to finally embark on setting sail again to their dream destinations and enticing ports of call. There are many “welcome back” packages and travel incentives future passengers are taking advantage of right now.

Frequent travelers and adventure seekers have been sequestered over these longs months reluctantly but safely sticking to home being “armchair travelers”. The only travel options were resorting to reading travel guidebooks, surfing the web, or watching videos and dreaming of getting away again to travel, fly, cruise, and explore. As am I, so many are absolutely thrilled that their reins have been released and they can soar again on their favorite journeys and journeys unknown.

Though the protocols of travel anywhere whether it be by land, sea, or air have changed as a result of the dynamics and restrictions of the Pandemic. New precautions, guidelines, and requirements for travelers have been implemented by travel entities around the world.

I reached out to several of the signature small ship cruise lines to get their perspectives on how all if this has affected their businesses and their cruise operations as we all embark on new ways of approaching travel and what that means to all of us.

Cheers – Welcome Back
Photo Courtesy of The Barge Lady

The five small ship cruise lines that contributed input from this interview are:

AmaWaterways Rhine Cruise – Photo Courtesy AmaWaterways

When will your cruise operations be up and running and set to sail the oceans and rivers?

AmaWaterways We resumed sailings on select ships in Europe beginning July 3, 2021, on the Douro river in Portugal. We will be using a phased-in approach and hope to have the majority of our Europe-based ships operating by September. A full list of sailings can be found on the AmaWaterways website under Travel Updates.

Barge Lady Cruises

Barge cruises are scheduled for a rolling opening, with sailings that began again in June through July and August.

UnCruise Adventures

We are officially back on the water and have set a small adventure boat standard being the first fully vaccinated cruise to return to sail in Alaska and the US. We have our fleet operating all of our itineraries in Alaska with multi-activity adventure cruising with excited guests who have been waiting patiently with us. Some have had their cruise booked for 2 to 3 years.

Viking

Viking embarked on its first sailing on May 22 for domestic UK voyages. Viking announced in late spring that it started limited operations in May 2021 with three special sailings along the coast of England. Available exclusively for UK residents, the new eight-day ocean itinerary—England’s Scenic Shores—will sail roundtrip from Portsmouth, with departures on May 22, May 29, and June 5, 2021. Guests on England’s Scenic Shores itinerary will be among the first to sail onboard Viking’s newest ocean ship, Viking Venus®, which will be delivered in April. Pre-registration for England’s Scenic Shores is currently open only to Viking’s loyal past guests; more details about the voyages will be released—and reservations will be available to all UK residents—in due course.

  • US guests are now able to join one of Viking’s “Welcome Back”  sailings in the Mediterranean, Iceland, and Bermuda.
  • Viking recently announced the July 2021 restart of European river sailings with a new “Welcome Back” collection to include river itineraries in Portugal, France, and along the Rhine River.
  • Viking also announced in May that it will restart its European river operations in July 2021 with select itineraries in Portugal, France, and along the Rhine. Offered exclusively for vaccinated guests as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, the first five European river itineraries now available in July are among the company’s most popular: Rhine Getaway (8 days; Amsterdam to Basel), Portugal’s River of Gold (10 days; Lisbon to Porto), Paris & the Heart of Normandy (8 days; Paris roundtrip), Lyon & Provence (8 days; Avignon to Lyon) and France’s Finest, a 15-day journey that combines the northern and southern France itineraries in one seamless experience. This announcement comes immediately after the European Union agreed today to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans and other travelers.

Windstar 

Star Breeze, the first of the Star Plus yachts to debut, began sailing June 19 in the Caribbean; Wind Star also began June 19 in the Mediterranean; Wind Spirit will start July 15 in Tahiti; Wind Surf will start August 8 in the Mediterranean; Star Legend will begin Sept 27 in the Mediterranean, and Star Pride will resume service November 20 in the Caribbean.

UnCruise Wilderness Discoverer in Alaska
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise

How has COVID impacted the small ship cruising industry and how have the effects of this past year and a half affected your business and impacted your future bookings?

AmaWaterways

We are proud that over the years AmaWaterways has remained a strong, family-owned, and debt-free company, allowing us to continue looking forward and creating innovative river cruise experiences for our guests. Over the past year, there have been many challenges for the cruising industry as a whole, but due to the intimate nature of river cruising with fewer passengers on board, constant proximity to land, and small group shore excursions, the river cruise segment is set to rebound quite quickly as travelers begin to plan their next vacation. We have also debuted some exciting new itineraries to meet the changing desires of travelers over the past year, including the 2023 debut of the all-new 14-country Seven River Journeys, which meet the demand for longer, more immersive journeys.

Barge Lady Cruises

As our core clientele are Americans, our business last year and to a lesser or greater extent this year has been dramatically impacted by international border closings. As the majority of our vessels cruise along the antique canals and petite rivers of France, the inaccessibility to Americans of that country, in particular, has been a real boondoggle for barging.

UnCruise Adventures

We’ve used this time to reinvent our internal and operational processes through COVID, along with keeping a focus on staying in touch with our guests and outreach for our brand. After returning to cruising in Alaska after 19 months of no small boats sailing there, we are excited to show the world what small boat adventure cruising looks like.

Viking 

Viking was the first cruise line to suspend operations at the beginning of the pandemic.

Windstar 

Windstar was among the first cruise lines to suspend sailing operations back in March 2020. Fortunately, we never experienced an outbreak on any of our yachts, likely due to that swift and decisive action. Windstar has received and continues to receive great support from our ownership and parent Company (Xanterra) in Denver during the entire COVID period which made it easier to navigate a very complex and ambiguous time. We quickly instituted a future cruise credit program for canceled cruises, which has morphed into our more robust and guest-friendly Travel Assurance Booking Policy. It was a tough time – we’re in the business of hospitality and sailing. I’m looking forward to getting back on our yachts again.

In April, we received a record-breaking number of reservations for both 2021 and 2022 cruises, with trips favoring the Caribbean and Greece. We’re attributing that to pent-up demand for travel after most of the world has been sequestered for a year. The most apparent trend is that once people get vaccinated, they book a trip.

Windstar St. Lucia
Photo Courtesy of Windstar

What Itineraries will be available for future cruising for the remainder of 2021 and 2022 and 2023?

AmaWaterways

We plan to have our entire fleet operating by September 2021 and are taking bookings for all our upcoming itineraries now. Those looking to plan a river cruise can view a full list of available 2021 restart dates on the Travel Updates section of our website. Bookings are also open for 2022 and 2023 sailings, which opened a full six months ahead of schedule due to such high demand.

Guests looking to book an upcoming cruise can look forward to the debut of five new itineraries for the 2021/2022 seasons, sailing through the idyllic towns of France, Holland, and Belgium, and taking guests to the enchanting lands of Egypt. New itineraries include Impressions of the Seine & Paris, Essence of Burgundy & Provence, Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps, Best of Holland and Belgium, and Secrets of Egypt & The Nile.  We will also offer  Celebration of Wine River Cruises through Europe in 2021, welcoming aboard notable wine experts, certified sommeliers, and vineyard owners as hosts, connecting guests with lectures and tastings to complement the extensive array of included shore excursions.

Barge Lady Cruises

Barge Lady Cruises is booking for both 2022 AND 2023! All itineraries on the Barge Lady website remain on offer.

UnCruise Adventures  

We haven’t been shy about letting people know we are back with safe travel and reaching out to eager guests and also offering extended wave season deals later than usual. This has encouraged people to take advantage of these smaller cruises and our bookings have been very busy for our Alaska summer sailings and our itineraries later in the year. 2022 is already in high demand and we’ve experienced a high volume of both direct bookings and those through our travel agents.

Viking 

  • Viking celebrated in mid-June the latest milestone in its return to service as guests were welcomed on board in Iceland. Upon returning to the seas, guests boarded the award-winning Viking Sky® in Reykjavík, where the ship will homeport this summer along with sister ship Viking Jupiter®. Both ships will sail the new Iceland’s Natural Beautyitinerary through early September 2021. Offered as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, exclusively available for vaccinated guests, the voyage currently underway is the first of 19 sailings roundtrip from Reykjavík. The eight-day circumnavigation of Iceland calls upon coastal towns of Akureyri, Seydisfjördur, Heimaey, and more before returning to the capital city.
  • Viking welcomed in Mid-June Americans back to a reopened Europe. The 27 European Union countries reached an agreement to again allow travelers from the United States in a vote earlier today—a long-expected move that complements the CDC’s recent announcement that it has eased travel recommendations for 110 countries and territories. As part of the new recommendations, the CDC has specifically ranked Iceland and Malta—two key destinations for Viking’sWelcome Back voyages, which are offered exclusively for vaccinated guests—as “Level 1” or the lowest for risk of COVID-19. In recognition of these developments, Viking has also published a new video message from Chairman Torstein Hagen, which can be found here.
  • Viking recently announced the July 2021 restart of European river sailings with new “Welcome Back” collection to include river itineraries in Portugal, France and along the Rhine River. Viking® (viking.com) celebrated today that France and Portugal have reopened to American travelers. As of this week, both countries now allow vaccinated visitors from the U.S. to arrive without further restriction. Additionally, the European Union today recommended that its member countries begin lifting restrictions on American travelers, with a formal announcement expected on Friday. These positive developments come as Viking prepares to restart its European river operations in July 2021, starting with some of its most popular itineraries in Portugal and France. Offered exclusively for vaccinated guests as part of Viking’sWelcome Back collection, limited space is still available on these river sailings with departures as early as July 2021.

Please see the above regarding the “Welcome Back”  itinerary selection for 2021 on the rivers and oceans. Additionally, Viking continues to book through 2022 and beyond for future cruises.

Windstar

Yes, because most of 2020 and much of 2021 was canceled. Quite a bit of our planned new itineraries and ports will be new in 2021 and 2022.

In Northern Europe, we have several new itineraries like Norway’s Famous Fjords and Scandinavian Capitals and Fjords, which combines iconic Northern capitals, a handful of smaller, less-visited ports, and the incredible fjord scenery Norway is famous for.

We’re also returning to some of our guests’ favorite ports after several years away, including Ashdod and Haifa in Israel; Alexandria and Port Said (Cairo) in Egypt; and Istanbul, with an overnight stay.

Lastly, in late 2021 we’ll be returning to Asia and new ports in Australia, with options for snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and visiting some of the most remote islands and off-the-grid beaches on the planet.

In general, here at Windstar, we are building always new itineraries into our programs. We have a lot of loyal guests who want to see different parts of the world, so it is recommended to check in frequently on our website to see what Windstar has planned.

Viking Longships Budapest

AmaWaterways at Sandeman in Portugal
Photo Courtesy of AmaWaterways

Are there new destinations that you have added?

AmaWaterways

We are looking forward to debuting the beautiful new AmaDahlia on the Nile River, with our new Secrets of Egypt & The Nile itinerary launching September 2021. The cruise and land program includes three nights in Cairo pre-cruise and one night in Cairo post-cruise, sailing seven nights roundtrip from Luxor. Guests will experience fascinating history, exquisite cuisine, and authentic experiences including a private tour of the tomb of Queen Nefertari and a visit to the three pyramids of Giza.

AmaWaterways will launch the first-ever luxury river cruise on the Magdalena River in Columbia starting in 2023

Barge Lady Cruises  

All of our popular destinations are available, and no new destinations have been added.

UnCruise Adventures  

We’ve added our Wild, Woolly, and Wow Alaskan itinerary for 2022. This will be onboard The Legacy and our most adventurous outback expedition cruise for those who want even more focus on the wilds of Alaska. That is currently booking.

Viking 

Viking announced in May that it will expand its presence in the Mediterranean this summer, adding a third ship to sail roundtrip voyages from the Maltese capital city of Valletta—a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Offered as part of Viking’s Welcome Back collection, Viking Star® will now join sister ships Viking Venus® and Viking Sea® and will sail a new 11-day itinerary, Malta & the Western Mediterranean.

With the addition of this new voyage, vaccinated guests now have three new options for experiencing the Mediterranean between July and early October 2021. Guests on the Malta & the Western Mediterranean itinerary will overnight in Valletta and then sail to Sicily, Italy and Spain, calling in Messina, Naples (Pompeii), Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Genoa and Barcelona, before returning to Valletta. Those on the Malta & Adriatic Jewels itinerary will overnight in Valletta and then sail to Montenegro and Croatia, calling in Kotor, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Šibenik, before returning to the Maltese archipelago, with a stop on Gozo Island and finally back to Valletta. And guests on the Malta & Greek Isles Discovery itinerary will also overnight in Valletta and then sail to Greece, calling in Kalamata, Athens, Santorini, Rhodes and Souda Bay, before returning to Valletta.

Windstar 

In Northern Europe, we have several new itineraries like Norway’s Famous Fjords and Scandinavian Capitals and Fjords, which combines iconic Northern capitals, a handful of smaller, less-visited ports, and the incredible fjord scenery Norway is famous for.

We’re also returning to some of our guests’ favorite ports after several years away, including Ashdod and Haifa in Israel; Alexandria and Port Said (Cairo) in Egypt; and Istanbul, with an overnight stay.

Star Breeze Balcony Suite – Windstar Cruises Photo Courtesy of Windstar

Are there destinations that you have deleted?

AmaWaterways

We are continuing to monitor updates from global and local health authorities, local governments, and airlines with regard to entry requirements, but we have not deleted any destinations from our European itineraries, as several countries are lowering their restrictions and things are opening up very quickly. As far as our other river cruise destinations, due to entry restrictions into Vietnam, we expect that we will not cruise there in the fall however we will evaluate the situation as conditions change and decide at a later date about our November and December 2021 sailings.

Barge Lady Cruises

All of our popular destinations are still available.

UnCruise Adventures  

Not currently, our operations are running with a full schedule, and we continue to stay in touch with local officials in each location for upcoming locations like Latin America and a need for specific protocols and safety.

Windstar 

We are not sailing in Alaska during the summer of 2021. But we will be returning in 2022!

Photo Courtesy Barge Lady Cruises

Are you planning on running the itineraries at a reduced capacity?

AmaWaterways

Our intimate river cruise ships offer the luxury of personal space, accommodating an average of 160 guests on board, with plenty of fresh air and open spaces, making it easy to spread out. Due to the more intimate nature of our ships, we will start with 75% maximum capacity for now, until guidelines change.

Barge Lady Cruises

As barge cruises carry 12 or fewer guests, we are the original travel concept based on social distancing!

UnCruise Adventures  

We will set aside extra rooms for each itinerary in the case of the need for a separate room to monitor guests or crew with any signs of illness onboard.

Windstar 

Yes, our first cruises will be at reduced capacity.

UnCruise – Alaska with passengers aboard the skiff
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

What new guidelines have you implemented for travelers and crew safety?

AmaWaterways

We are proud to be the only U.S.-based river cruise company to have successfully completed a four-month European sailing season during 2020, gaining knowledge about how to deliver an exceptional experience onboard while protecting guests and crew with enhanced health and safety protocols. We are currently requiring face coverings when moving about public areas in the interior of the ships and highly recommend our guests be vaccinated. All of AmaWaterways crew has also participated in in-depth training on enhanced operating protocols led by an experienced Designated Hygiene Officer and will be required to wear face coverings during working hours.

Barge Lady Cruises

As the majority of the vessels we represent are independently owned and operated, please contact us for each barge’s specific standards of onboard hygiene and health security.

UnCruise Adventures

We are requiring all crew and guests to be fully vaccinated to board along with providing a negative PCR test. This will allow us to be unmasked as a group once on board with safety measures implemented and within CDC guidelines for vaccinated people. Our guests are ecstatic about these updates and look forward to feeling a bit of freedom onboard and out in nature. You can see our full protocols on our website under travel resources.

Viking  

Those who sail these new voyages will also experience Viking’s industry-leading health and safety program. Grounded in scientific research, the Viking Health & Safety Program was developed in partnership with an international team of medical advisors, including Raquel C. Bono, M.D., Viking’s Chief Health Officer. Dr. Bono is a board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps—and most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship, all guests and crew will receive daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all Viking ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all guest staterooms. And additional health checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey. A complete overview of the Viking Health & Safety Program can be found at: www.viking.com/health-safety.

Windstar 

Windstar is requiring proof of a full vaccination course. Proof includes the original vaccination record document issued by either (1) the country’s health authority that administered the vaccination (i.e., U.S. CDC’s Vaccination Record Card) or (2) the guest’s medical provider that administered the vaccination. At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, guests will be required to provide proof of a completed current vaccine course (one or two shots, depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to the guest’s embarkation date. Windstar will accept proof of vaccination for any vaccine that has been approved for use in the guest’s home country.

Windstar also will require and administer a free COVID-19 antigen test at the pier prior to boarding. A negative test result is required to board.  The test is a minimally intrusive nose swab (which is less intrusive than a PCR test), unless local health authorities require a PCR test.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the cruise line’s already high cleanliness standards were elevated with a multi-million-dollar investment in additional technologies that go beyond regulatory requirements. In consultation and review by the Senior Medical Director at the UC Health Infection Control and Prevention Department at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the line has instituted a rigorous multi-layered approach of science-led best practices including key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air onboard, plus electrostatic sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout the yacht.

More details here – https://www.windstarcruises.com/health-safety/

A whale breaching in front of kayakers
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise

Have your shore excursions been modified in any way?

AmaWaterways Our shore excursions are already conducted in small groups of 10-15 people and guests receive their own personal portable Quietvox commentary systems, allowing them to hear their guides while social distancing and making it easy to stay safe and follow local guidelines surrounding group gatherings. While local restrictions may differ from one community to another, generally things seem to be opening up very quickly now, so we expect that guests will be able to easily explore the beautiful destinations we sail through.

Barge Lady Cruises

Excursions are mostly private and exclusive, mainly to outdoor locations. Visits to confined indoor spaces or crowded tourist spots will be avoided.

UnCruise Adventures  

We have added an extra expedition guide on certain itineraries to accommodate smaller and more frequent outdoor groups as needed but will continue our full activity roster. 

Viking 

We have redesigned our land program to monitor destinations for the prevalence of COVID-19 and further limit group sizes. Depending on conditions at the time of sailing, shore excursions may be limited while in port. Each shore excursion will utilize audio headsets to allow for physical distancing among your group, and all excursion motor coaches will be fully sanitized with spaced seating. As you head ashore, complimentary face masks will be provided for excursions as required by local guidelines.

Windstar 

All shore excursions will be vetted by our expert team to ensure best practices in health and safety protocols are followed. Shore excursions will operate at a reduced capacity and masks will be worn according to local regulations and when unable to social distance. For the near term as required by the Cruise Lines International Association, guests will need to book a Windstar shore excursion to go ashore. Changes with shore excursions offered may occur due to evolving regulations and conditions in a destination. Tenders, motor coaches, and smaller boats will operate at a reduced capacity and be cleaned between each use. Staggered departures in port will aid in social distancing.

The crew of Wilderness Adventurer on the bow of the ship wearing masks. Part of their many safety practices onboard.
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

Will you be requiring proof of COVID vaccines such as a “Vaccine Passport” for all boarding passengers?

AmaWaterways

UPDATE – Effective immediately, the company will require all guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their river cruise. The decision was made following recent changes in certain European countries that now require up to a 10-day quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers upon entry. Many countries have implemented procedures that strongly encourage travelers to be vaccinated and, in some cases, restrict access to certain venues unless they are vaccinated or can provide a negative COVID-19 test result valid for 24 hours.

Further details can be found on the Travel Update page of the website. Guests who may be affected by this change should contact their travel advisor for options or call our reservations center at 1 800-626-0126.

Barge Lady Cruises

As the majority of the vessels we represent are independently owned and operated, please contact us for each barge’s specific standards of onboard hygiene and health security.

UnCruise Adventures

Yes, all guests and crew are required to be vaccinated. We will require a negative molecular/PCR test to board. Please see all of our detailed protocols on our travel resources page at uncruise.com

Viking 

Beginning on May 22, 2021, with the official restart of limited operations in the United Kingdom—and remaining in effect at least through at least September 30, 2021—all Viking sailings will be available exclusively for vaccinated guests.

Viking is requiring vaccinations among all guests in accordance with entry rules in many of the destinations that will welcome Viking ships—and as a complement to our new health and safety protocol enhancements, which were designed to protect guests and crew even while the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is still moving forward. Viking’s medical and operations teams will continue to monitor vaccination rates and entry requirements—and will adjust our protocol and policies as needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew.

Quick and easy PCR tests will be conducted prior to embarkation and on an ongoing, regular basis throughout an itinerary, dependent on prevalence levels from both our guests’ country of origin and the destinations to which we will sail.

Windstar 

Windstar is requiring proof of a full vaccination course. Proof includes the original vaccination record document issued by either (1) the country’s health authority that administered the vaccination (i.e., U.S. CDC’s Vaccination Record Card) or (2) the guest’s medical provider that administered the vaccination.

UnCruise Wilderness Explorer Deck and Hot Tub
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

What countries will be able to access the cruises when you are fully back in operations? Particularly travel from the US to various European destinations.

AmaWaterways

We were excited to hear the recent announcement from the European Union that they will be reopening their borders, with certain entry requirements for American travelers and we look forward to welcoming those guests back on board.

Barge Lady Cruises

All countries are listed on the Barge Lady website.

UnCruise Adventures

Updated information is available on the UnCruise website

Viking

Please refer to the Viking Website

Windstar  

This is destination-specific. We ask that guests research COVID-19 test requirements and standards for any countries visited during travel

Windstar Alaska Signature Expedition
Photo Courtesy of Windstar

What kind of incentives will you be offering guests to stimulate interest in booking cruise ship vacations and destinations?

AmaWaterways

We are currently offering a variety of savings to help travelers get back to exploring the world through river cruising. Many travelers are looking to plan longer journeys as they return to travel and guests who reserve a combination river cruise can save 10% on their second sailing and every consecutive sailing after the first, with no limit to the number of cruises that can be added.  In addition, guests who reserve their 2023 river cruise journey will earn 5% cruise savings on balconies and suites when they book their cruise by June 30, 2021. Guests looking to take a Holiday Cruise can take advantage of Holiday Triple Savings for select 2022 and 2023 cruises, saving $1,000 per person with a complimentary stateroom upgrade and $50 per person onboard credit. After so much uncertainty over the past year, we also want to continue offering peace of mind to guests as they book their river cruises with Ultimate Cruise Flexibility, which allows guests to change their sailing date up to 48 hours prior to the start of the journey and reschedule their cruise with no change fees to any river cruise sailing through 2023.

Barge Lady Cruises

Barge cruising is not based on sales incentives; rather it is the glorious isolation of the European countryside and private nature of the cruise itself that offer post-COVID appeal!

UnCruise Adventures

We extended several wave season specials through June and have generous combined specials and loyalty programs for guests and travel advisors. See all of our specials on our website under book now.

Windstar 

We have a variety of specials, including reduced single supplements, last-minute cruise deals, and other offers. https://www.windstarcruises.com/specials/ We also have a flexible cancellation policy.

Photo Courtesy of Barge Lady Cruises

Have you seen interest for potential passengers steering away from the “Mega Ships to more small ship cruising?

AmaWaterways

There has been a rising interest in river cruising as travelers look for more intimate experiences where they can truly immerse themselves in the destinations they visit and spend more time onshore. One of the great advantages of river cruising is the ability for a ship to dock in a city center which essentially doubles the number of leisure guests is able to spend in a destination compared to any other mode of travel. AmaWaterways offers a variety of up to 23 included shore excursions during a seven-night cruise for all types of activity levels ranging from guided hikes and bike rides to cooking demonstrations and tastings. Our intimate and award-winning river cruise ships also offer the luxury of personal space yet accommodate an average of only 160 guests on board, and with elegantly appointed staterooms and suites with balconies and breathtaking views, guests feel like they are staying in a luxurious floating hotel. These types of amenities and experiences are what many travelers are currently looking for, making them turn to river cruising as they plan their next vacation.

Barge Lady Cruises

Oh Yes!!!

UnCruise Adventures There has been a growth in interest and education about cruising options outside the mega-ships. This is a stellar opportunity for leaders in our industry to shine bright and create a future adventure traveler for small boat cruising among all age levels. 

Windstar 

small ship cruising is a VERY different product than the vessels whose passenger counts equate to a small town’s population. Our largest yacht carries 342 guests at maximum capacity, while our smallest yachts have room for just 148. When you combine that with a fully vaccinated group of people, plus steps like HEPA filters/UV-C light to clean the air, masks where appropriate, ample deck space, a range of private and outdoor dining options, and a crew that’s devoted to cleanliness, it’s a very attractive option. We’re getting lots of reservations from new-to-Windstar guests – people who have sailed on the big ships before but are looking for something less crowded and more intimate.

Photo Courtesy of Barge Lady Cruises

What is your advice to anyone who may be considering a cruise on a small ship in the near future?

AmaWaterways

River cruising with AmaWaterways provides an unforgettable way to explore multiple highly sought-after destinations while only having to unpack once. There are many moving parts to planning a river cruise, so we recommend that guests work with a travel advisor to make the experience as easy and seamless as possible, taking any stress away from planning a future vacation.

Barge Lady Cruises

Read all about it! https://www.bargeladycruises.com/blog/micro-cruises/

UnCruise Adventures

I recommend taking the opportunity to create your own travel bubble, one that allows you to adventure and experience the small remote places we visit in a way only seen by small boats and experienced guides who know the area. If you’re an adventurer, small boat adventure cruising is the way to go. From smelling a whales’ breath, the kayaking amongst sea otters, all with upscale cuisine and crew, it’s time to experience something new.

Windstar 

Book as early as you can. Because so many people missed out on their cruise vacations in 2020 and the first part of 2021, we are seeing a significant increase in demand, and on many popular itineraries, we are already seeing a shortage of cruise cabins and suites on many dates.

What is your light at the end of the tunnel?

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways Seven River Journeys
Photo Courtesy of AmaWaterways

While this past year has been challenging in many ways, AmaWaterways has adapted in creative ways to continue meeting the need of our guests.  It is exciting to have finally resumed sailings starting July 3, 2021, and we look forward to all that is happening at AmaWaterways in the next few years. From the launch of sister ships AmaLucia and AmaSiena this summer and the debut of AmaDahlia in September to the new Seven River Journeys that will embark in 2023, taking guests through 14 different countries over 45 or 46 nights, there is so much to look forward to and I can’t wait to see our guests back on the rivers, enjoying these unforgettable experiences.

Barge Lady Cruises

Breakfast While Cruising with Barge Lady Cruises
Photo Courtesy of Barge Lady Cruises

Inquiries are coming in thick and fast from people who are super geeked about barge cruising! A barge cruise is the ultimate form of slow travel, plying the canals at a pace of four to six miles per hour. Barge guests spend three to four hours per day cruising, either in the morning or afternoon. The other half of the day is spent enjoying a daily guided excursion to a regional highlight near to the cruise route.

BARGE CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gastronomy and wine – taste over 20 wines and cheeses
    • Small guest count with a high crew to guest ratio
    • Immersive experiences with an emphasis on local culture
    • Exclusive excursions not available to a larger tour group

UnCruise Adventures

UnCruise Safari Endeavour kayak loading
Photo Courtesy of UnCruise Adventures

It continues to be the support of our small communities and government officials who are fighting for the safe return of travel, along with our dedicated guests and those new travelers excited about a new way to travel. This year has been an opportunity to reinvent who we are and educate the public about what small boat adventure cruising is. Our CEO is vocal in his support and leadership in the industry and the passion behind his founding story is infectious. With the spotlight on cruising, many had never heard of expedition cruising and have become converts to small boats and experience something new. Getting really close to nature. Our $500 off deal for those who had a big ship cruise canceled didn’t hurt either.

Viking

Luxury State Rooms Aboard Viking
Photo Courtesy of Viking

Viking recently also named its newest ocean ship, Viking Venus®, in England—and the ship is currently sailing her maiden voyage along the coast of England with Chairman Torstein Hagen on board. The company is actively working on developing additional Welcome Back itineraries in a variety of other destinations, with the goal of announcing further 2021 sailings as soon as possible.

Windstar

Windstar Cruises Mallorca Spain Always a Delicious Experience
Photo Courtesy of Windstar

With regards to the light at the end of the tunnel – We’ll know it when we see it!! We’re so excited to debut our reimagined all-suite Star Plus Class yachts in 2021. It’s been a multi-year undertaking that will enhance the guest experience on three of our six yachts (Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride). The yachts will not only have beautiful new suites and public spaces, but they will also be more fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible. All three yachts will increase in capacity from 212 guests to 312 when sailing at full capacity giving travel advisors even more opportunities to earn commission with Windstar!

These yachts provide more of what our customers have been telling us they want, like additional dining experiences (one is an outdoor barbecue concept with grilling guru Steven Raichlen and the other a Spanish small plates restaurant from Anthony Sasso, one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide), a true spa/fitness center, and a bigger pool and more outdoor deck area. They increase capacity, but it’s without drastically changing who we are or what we look like. These all-suite yachts, together with our sailing yachts, remain small enough to continue to visit those special small ports and waterways of the world.

Happy Cruising! So glad to see all of you back sailing the waters around the world!

Photo Courtesy of Windstar

Credits to the Contributors from the various interviews for the article.

AmaWaterways – President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner

Barge Lady Cruises – Barge Lady Stephanie

UnCruise Adventures – UnCruise Public Relations Director Liz

Viking – Vikings Public Relations – Amanda at Edelman

Windstar Cruises – Windstar PR Director Sarah

 

 

 

 

USA Today 10Best Wine Readers’ Choice Awards 2021

USA Today 10Best Wine Readers’ Choice Awards 2021

It’s Back! The Readers’ Choice Awards from USA Today 10Best competition in the wine category! Vote from the top twenty in each category – you get the chance to choose your very favorite from a selection of 20 nominees – Best Tasting Room, Best Wine Tour Company, Best Wine Regions, Best Wine Festival, Best Wine Club, Best Winery Restaurant, Best Wine Country Hotel, Best Winery Tour!
I am honored to have been invited again by USA Today 10Best to be one of their Panel of Experts for Wine and Wine Region Categories for their 2021 Wine Readers’ Choice Awards. Visit USA Today to vote for your Favorites! Limit one (1) Vote per person, per category, per day!
Every Year USA Today 10Best offers a variety of contests in a variety of categories. Readers like you share their opinions every day by casting votes for their favorites. Do you have specific vacation spots you like to go to? There’s a contest for that. Are you a foodie chomping at the bit to support your favorite eatery? They’ve got that too. Or perhaps you’d like to peruse the 10Best Readers’ Choice winners to guide your future travels? You can do that right there on the USA Today 10Best site.

USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Contest Categories

You will find all of your favorite travel categories to choose from:

This USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice contest is all about wine regions, tasting rooms, dining, tours, wine clubs, wine festivals, and wine country hotels. You have until Monday, August 2nd to vote for your favorites in each category. The winners will be announced Friday, August 13th at 10Best.com.

Limit one (1) Vote per person, per category, per day!

Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.
It’s time to start planning your next trip to your favorite wine country destination. It’s been over a year and a half of dreaming about visiting your favorite wine country tour, staying at your favorite wine country hotel, and dining at your favorite winery restaurant. Now get ready to pack your suitcases again and head out on your next wine adventure.
While California undoubtedly produces excellent wine, it’s got stiff competition these days. North America is home to more than 250 grape-growing regions. USAToday has asked a panel of wine industry experts to pick their favorite North American wine regions. Vote for your favorite in each of the Categories out of this pool of 20 nominees once per day until voting ends on Monday, August 2nd at noon ET. Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.

 

Vote for Your Favorite Winery or Vineyard Tour 2021

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-winery-tour/

 

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-country-hotel/

 

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-tasting-room/

 

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-winery-restaurant/

 

Note from 10Best:  Some of these events have been canceled or postponed in 2021. In the meantime, we’ll keep supporting the events that inspire us. Check each individual event website for the latest. 

There’s a reason Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, is often depicted as a partier. Wine makes a good festival even better. 10Best teamed up with a panel of wine industry experts to find the best wine-centric celebrations in the U.S. Now we’re asking you to choose the winner by voting for your favorite once per day until voting ends on Monday, August 2 at noon ET. The winning festivals will be announced on 10Best on Friday, August 13. Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-festival/

 

Note from 10Best: While California undoubtedly produces excellent wine, it’s got stiff competition these days. North America is home to more than 250 grape-growing regions. We asked a panel of wine industry experts to pick their favorite North American wine regions. Vote for your favorite out of this pool of 20 nominees once per day until voting ends on Monday, August 12 at noon ET. Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-region/

 

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-club/

 

 

Vote for Your Favorite Wine Club Tour Operators 2021

Note from 10Best: Whether you’re tasting your way through famed California wine country, sipping wines lakeside in Michigan, or exploring the Finger Lakes, enhance your wine tasting experience by leaving the driving to someone else. These 20 tour operators offer wine-centric tours, complete with transportation, knowledgeable guides, and other extras. Now you have until Monday, August 2 at noon ET to vote daily for your favorite. The winners will be announced on 10Best.com on Friday, August 13. Read the official Readers’ Choice rules here.

https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-tour-company/

To get a feel for live voting and to get up to the minute updates, you can follow USA 10 Best Readers’ Choice on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

From USA Today 10Best:

About USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest launches new categories every other Monday at noon, revealing each category’s 20 nominees. After 4 weeks of voting, the contest closes on the 28th day at noon. On the Friday after voting ends, winners are revealed. Rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day.

Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the 10Best.com website.

While the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest lives on 10Best.com – a standalone travel media site – it is promoted across USA TODAY Travel Media Group’s digital and mobile products, as well as via social media. Nominees are also announced and/or promoted across relevant USA TODAY departments, and through Gannett media outlets.

10Best.com provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site’s uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields – and their cities – but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated. 10Best.com averages 5 million visitors per month. It was acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY’s mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation — today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY, the nation’s number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.6 million daily, and USATODAY.com, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 16 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

Rafting and Hiking Adventures in the Grand Canyon and Moab Utah

Rafting and Hiking Adventures in the Grand Canyon and Moab Utah

Desolation Canyon – by Western River Expeditions 

Rafting and Hiking Adventures in the Grand Canyon and Moab Utah

Western River Expeditions – Summer has arrived and it is hiking season. Time to get out the hiking poles, the binoculars, the camera, and a yummy selection of day trip hiking munchies and set out to explore some of the most beautiful terrain in the west. The whitewaters are just waiting for adventure seekers to explore the rapids around the Grand Canyon and Moab, Utah. What a great combination to take off river rafting and then explore some of the most remote hiking trails in Arizona and Utah.

“Some of the most magical places in the West can only be accessed via a river,” Says Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, and escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company of it’s kind. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Come for the Whitewater Thrills, Be Amazed by the Off-River Hikes

Photo by Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions, over its 60 years of commercial river running, has mastered the art of combining the elements – water, land, air, and sky– into some of the world’s most sought-after adventure vacations.

This company’s particular alchemy mixes up whitewater thrills and opportunities for some exceptional hiking in the fresh air. “Folks love to run the rapids with us, but truth is, some people come rafting just to go hiking and see sites that are only accessible by river,” explains Brandon Lake, co-owner of Western River Expeditions.

Following are four whitewater destinations that provide unique access to hiking trails so remote they are generally only reached via the river through the conveyance of a raft.

Here are some of the adventure raft and hike expeditions they offer!

Cataract Canyon Utah by Western River Expeditions

Cataract Canyon – Colorado River, Utah

www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting

Indian Creek Falls

River Mile 31
3.5-miles roundtrip Vertical gain of 100 feet

This is the hike to take to view a spectacular seasonal waterfall, towering 2,000-foot canyon walls, and Native American ruins. After an easy streamside walk, guests are treated to The Falls – a thundering 20-foot cascade that’s best in the spring when runoff and seasonal rains create an impressive streamflow. Ancestral Puebloan rock art and well-preserved granaries along the way speak to past lives. Modern adventurers can soak under the falls, dip in the natural pool, or partake in a round of butt slides.

Loop Hike

River Mile 36.5 1.3-mile Length
Vertical gain of 400 feet

Another must-do hike is the Loop Hike offering an up-and-over adventure through a saddle in the canyon wall that crosses a horseshoe bend in the river which eliminates four miles of river travel. Hikers gain impressive views as they scramble over a large ridge at the base of a massive curve in the river.

Family Fun on Green River – by Western River Expeditions

Desolation Canyon – Green River, Utah

www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon

Rock Creek Ranch Trail

River Mile 41 Short hike

An easy trail from the river leads to Rock Creek Ranch, the site of a former hideaway on the Outlaw Trail where Butch Cassidy and his gang of desperados were known to have holed up. Built in 1914 by the Seamont family, this ranch in the deepest part of Desolation Canyon served as a homestead, orchard, and outpost. Unrestored buildings display century-old homemaking and farming equipment. Although abandoned in the 1920s, ancient orchards still bear fruit come August. Be sure to visit the outstanding petroglyphs and ancient granaries nearby.

Three Canyon Hikes

River Mile 54
Various options for length and elevation gain

Here, three secluded canyons come together creating an abundance of exploring opportunities. The Three Canyon Loop hike follows a route around a large butte just behind camp. From camp, a 20-minute walk from the river leads to a natural bridge. Following the trail for an hour hike from camp leads to the Three Canyon Overlook, which offers one of the most spectacular views in the canyon. From the overlook, you can see two miles upriver. Only for the avid, this is a fairly strenuous hike.

Upper Grand Canyon Hike by Western River Expeditions

Grand Canyon (Upper Section), Colorado River

www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-vacation

Nankoweap Canyon and Granaries

River Mile 53
Two-mile roundtrip hike Elevation gain of 700 feet

A trail from the camp below the mouth of Nankoweap Canyon leads hikers up a steep slope to one of the most sought-after views the canyon has to offer. Above this viewpoint in the limestone walls under an overhang sit four granaries, or storage units built and utilized by Native Americans. These canyon dwellers practiced hunting and gathering in the canyon and grew crops roughly 1,000 years ago on the delta below. At 700 feet above the river, a flat overlook provides a breathtaking vista downriver encompassing a world of towering red canyon walls, sparkling whitewater, and blue sky.

Deer Creek Falls

River Mile 136
Trail Options from 200 yards to four-miles roundtrip

Just 200 yards from where the rafts are tied-off, Deer Creek Falls thunders into the Colorado River. The 180-foot falls land into a pool perfect for a swim. Adventurous hikers can journey further down a trail to The Patio with sensational Kaibab Plateau views along the way. Reaching The Patio requires careful footwork and cool-headedness to navigate a short narrow ledge with a precarious drop.

Grand Canyon Lower Section, Colorado River

www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip

Travertine Falls and Grotto

River Mile 229 Two-mile roundtrip hike

Just a few miles below Diamond Creek, is one of the most special places in the Grand Canyon’s lower Granite Gorge. Mineral-rich water drops down a waterfall through a narrow canyon and then cascades over a second falls in a setting often described as an oasis. The clear and refreshing waters of Travertine are always a welcome experience in the heat of the Lower Canyon. Then comes a scramble with a little help from ropes and ladders into a magical grotto sprinkled with spring water and a waterfall.

Pumpkin Springs

River Mile 213
Adjacent to the river (scrambling, no hiking)

A popular stop for all Lower Canyon river trips, Pumpkin Springs can only be accessed by boat. The Springs, because of mineral-laden water and constant evaporation, has created a travertine dome or bowl resembling a gigantic pumpkin. Water pours into the top of the pumpkin, turns a murky green, and then runs over the sides and into the river below. This is a fantastic spot for cliff jumping into the river.

Cat Indian Creek by Willie Holdman

 

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past seventeen consecutive years (2004-2020).

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2021 catalog, questions, availability, and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the recently enhanced website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Follow Western River Expeditions: On Facebook: On Twitter: On YouTube: On Pinterest:

http://www.facebook.com/WesternRiverExpeditions

https://twitter.com/WesternRiver

http://www.youtube.com/user/bestraftingvacations

http://pinterest.com/westernriver/

 

 

 

What’s New In Sonoma Valley This Summer

What’s New In Sonoma Valley This Summer

What’s New in Sonoma Valley This Summer

Summer is here; California is opening up and the Sonoma Valley is the best place to tiptoe back into travel. The 17-mile-long valley encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood. Sonoma Wine Country is buzzing with fresh wine and food experiences, hotel news, and the return of live theater. Plus, NASCAR is back in Sonoma!

Now that wine country is opening back up again, it is time to make that trip you have been planning to the Sonoma Valley. Whether it is a day trip up from around the Bay Area or a multi-day destination trip, there is lots to do and discover in the Valley of the Moon – Sonoma Valley.

It’s easier than ever to get to Sonoma Valley from Southern California. Avelo Airlines launched a new service from Burbank to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) last month. Avelo, the first new airline in the U.S. in 15 years, is starting flights at $39 each way.

Wineries/Spirits/Breweries

Sosie Tasting Room

Sosie Wines’ brand-new tasting room brings French-inspired wine to the Sonoma Plaza. Sosie’s organically and sustainably farmed grapes evoke California Sun and French Soul. The winery makes fewer than 1000 cases of wines including Pinot Noir, GSM, and Roussanne as well as some exciting blends. The new tasting room is open seven days a week.

If you prefer your tasting with a side of activity, Anaba Wines pairs their tasting flight with wood-fired pizza at their Sonoma estate and a round of bocce ball. Wine club members can reserve the new paddle tennis court with the purchase of a bottle of wine. St. Francis Winery – which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year – now features the Tour de St. Francis. Climb aboard the fully sustainable, pedal-powered, tasting trolley and embark on this fun and informative roving wine tasting adventure while sipping wines among the vines.

Cline Family Cellars

Kick back in a cabana while sipping at Cline Family Cellars. The cabanas overlook the Great Lawn creating a relaxing escape for up to six friends. The cabana program includes a two-hour rental, a bottle of Nancy’s Sparkling Cuvee, and a basket of delicious snacks. This experience is $60+ per person ($50+ for club members). Cabana season is also picnic season! Muscardini Cellars invites wine lovers and their furry friends to enjoy afternoon wine tasting in their serene backyard garden. Pack a picnic and Muscardini will supply the handcrafted Italian-style wines. Reservations are required.

Another new tasting experience will invigorate the senses! Landmark Vineyard’s lush gardens at the Kenwood Estate are the backdrop for an educational journey of the senses, using fresh herbs and flowers to explore sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste and learn how to identify them in your glass. Take away the visuals and notice how your sense of taste changes at one of Three Sticks Wines’ blind tasting experiences. The new tasting kit includes four top-rated white wines, a wine aroma kit, and a how-to guide that can be enjoyed at the Adobe or at home. Three Sticks is also partnering with MacArthur Place to offer hotel guests a one-of-a-kind experience: the Durell Vineyard Excursion. Guests will tour the 610-acre vineyard on a Kubota and enjoy a private luncheon with five Durell Vineyard wines.

Valley of the Moon

Valley of the Moon Winery’s new Happy Hour Boxes let you bring wine country home. The bundle, which can be shipped around the country, includes a bottle of 2017 Chardonnay, a reusable glass, and a happy hour recipe.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Tradition and change combine at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The winery is now hosting Italian Aperitivo tastings in the Grand Piazza – an homage to their family history. The flight is light in style and the flavor profile is enhanced by salty snacks. The winery has also redesigned its wine labels to match their new experiences. The new art takes its inspiration from old Italian wine labels and from 1970s rural California when Fred Cline spent time with his Italian grandparents on their farm in Oakley and gained his love of wine, agriculture, and farming.

Aperitivo Tasting at Jacuzzi

 

Mayo Orange Wine

Orange wine is made from white grapes but fermented on the skins creating a beautiful summery color. Mayo Family Winery is releasing their first orange vintage, the 2019 Chardonnay, Laurel Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, “Orange Cuvée,” with aromas of orange peel, butterscotch, and candied lemons. The tasting room is open daily. Bartholomew Estate’s new release, 2019 “Bart’s Calling” Cabernet Sauvignon, offers classic aromas of plum, cedar, and tea leaf – and the winery will donate $5 for each bottle sold to the Sonoma Community Center’s scholarship programs.

As you begin to gather with friends, consider Hanson of Sonoma as your event venue. The pond-side seating area and bar are ideal for birthday parties, baby or bridal showers, and other celebrations. While there, enjoy their new summer cocktail menu featuring Strawberry Blush, made with Hanson’s Habanero Organic Vodka and fresh berries, and sample pizza from their new wood-fired oven.

Restaurants

Dining in Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma Plaza will soon be home to the Sausage Emporium. Husband and wife team David Cummings and Miranda Ives started the Hare & Hatter Sausage Emporium a few years ago, specializing in high-quality sausage sandwiches to-go. This month they are reopening in a new location on East Napa Street and will serve dine-in breakfast, brunch, and lunch along with local beer, wine, and coffee.

El Dorado Hotel

In addition to their new pop-up El Dorado Cantina, the El Dorado Hotel + Kitchen is now offering Taco Tuesday rates at the hotel. Guests who book on a Tuesday/Wednesday stay through August will receive a special rate and a credit to indulge in the Cantina’s Mexican street-style fare. The special rates are available online. For a taste of Oaxaca, Sonoma Eats’menu offers authentic cuisine, showcased best in its signature mole oaxaqueño. This neighborhood favorite- now with a lively new patio- is where those who are in the know go.

Sonoma Eats

The girl & the fig is getting into the summer mood with a new cocktail menu that includes Sorbet Sippers. The frozen drinks, which include frosé (strawberry sorbet + rosé), bitter bruto (lemon-lime sorbet, bruto americano, orange peel), and black cherry Manhattan (black cherry sorbet, bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, brandied cherries). The restaurant is also bringing back $15 wine flights and its popular Plats du Jour, a three-course meal that changes weekly for $45.

The girl and the fig cocktails

Hotels

The Lodge at Sonoma New Lobby

This summer, The Lodge at Sonoma is unveiling a multi-year, multi-million-dollar renovation as part of its rebrand as an Autograph Collection property. The new brand celebrates the “salt of the earth” spirit of Sonoma with location-focused design and major enhancements. When guests arrive, they’ll be greeted with new landscaping and water feature before entering the redesigned lobby. The Lodge’s rooms are all getting a refresh. Hotel rooms will have new soft goods, bathroom amenities, and artwork; the cottages will see new landscaping, artwork and some will have outdoor fireplaces; the suites will have outdoor soaking tubs, outdoor fireplaces, and fully redesigned interiors. In addition to the popular new Wit & Wisdom restaurant, the Lodge is adding the High Horse Bar and Benicia’s Kitchen Restaurant. A new pool deck and firepit will follow later this summer.

The JAK W Casitas is a modern, eco-friendly retreat located in the heart of Boyes Hot Springs, just minutes from the Plaza. Built in 1920 and completely renovated in 2017, these gorgeous rental properties are outfitted with organic bedding, designer finishes, and tailored to give you an unforgettable Sonoma holiday. Love the sustainable design – visit the JAK W store at the Plaza before you head home.

Opening this summer, Bungalows 313’s newest luxury rentals are inside a fully remodeled and seismically retrofitted historic 1907 stone building. The units – known as Cielo and Terra – blend effortlessly into the nostalgic look and feel of old Sonoma. Each unit is distinctly different in design, but the two-bedroom, two-bath units stay true to the building’s history.

The Bar at MacArthur Place

It’s lavender season and MacArthur Place is celebrating this earthy, floral herb with special cocktails at The Bar. The Spa at MacArthur steeps the guest in the soothing aromas of lavender (sourced locally from Matanzas Creek Winery) during the Soothing Sonoma Lavender Massage. If you want to take some Sonoma lavender home with you, the hotel is hosting a Lavender Floral Workshop on Thursday, June 17. More information is online.

Built in 1910, the Maysonnave House, a beautiful historic setting for an intimate outdoor wedding or event, is now accepting reservations online. Less than a block away from the Sonoma Plaza, the beautiful Victorian home is one of Sonoma’s most treasured historic properties

Tours

Platypus Tours

After a year-long hiatus, Platypus Wine Tours is back with fun, day-long tours of Sonoma. The tour includes a picnic lunch, stops at three wineries, and engaging tour guides with deep experience in California’s wine country. Group and private tours are available. Active Wine Adventures has launched a new lineup of private Wine Adventures Tours for couples or small groups. The owner/guide has curated itineraries featuring highly recommended, small-production, family-owned wineries. Guests can choose from the Carneros/Pinot Noir Lovers’ Tour, Eco-Friendly Winery Tour, Moon Mountain Tour, or Historic Winery Tour.

Happy Travelers Tours has been providing educational cannabis tours since 2018 and their 2021 Weed & Wine Tour season is underway. The tour takes visitors through the Sonoma Valley to their grow site atop the Mayacamas Mountains. The experience includes a “Sip-and-Sniff” experience to taste wine and compare cannabis flowers, followed by a catered lunch and time at “Cannabis Camp” where guests learn to manicure a bud, process it for rolling, and then try to roll a joint.

Happy Travelers

Arts & Culture

Art is everywhere in Sonoma Valley. Several murals are coming to the towns of Sonoma and Glen Ellen. The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (SVMA) has announced that artist Maria de Los Angeles will create two murals on area buildings starting this summer. SVMA, in collaboration with the City of Sonoma, is also presenting the public art installation, A Delicate Balance. The eight large-scale sculptures, by four artists from diverse backgrounds, are installed in the Sonoma Plaza and can be viewed through October 19, 2021.

Bartholomew Estate Winery has reopened its art gallery featuring Sonoma Plein Air artists. Private viewing sessions are available in the property’s historic winery building. In turn, Sonoma Plein Air donates 25-percent of the proceeds from art sales to support art education in local schools and community organizations.

Live theater is back! Transcendence Theatre Company announced the 2021 anniversary season
of Broadway Under the Stars, which will run from June 4 through September 19, 2021. This season marks the company’s 10th anniversary, and its annual celebration of Broadway will cap the celebrate community heroes and the return of live theatre at Jack London State Historic Park.

Trinity Episcopal Church is hosting a Celebration of Silent Movies on Saturday, June 19. The family-friendly event will include “Plane Crazy” (the last Mickey Mouse cartoon to be made without sound), “Tarzan the Tiger” (a cliff-hanger featuring Sonoma’s own Natalie Kingston as “Jane”) and “A Dog’s Life” (a Charlie Chaplin masterpiece).

And More…

Get your motor running! The Sonoma Raceway welcomes the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Weekend & Trans Am series on June 5 and 6. NASCAR weekend in wine country features the 90-lap Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday and the ARCA Menards Series West General Tire 200 50-lap race on Saturday. Additionally, a field of historic muscle cars – real race cars, not reproductions – will hit the track for a competition 50 years after the series’ heyday in the late 1960s and early ‘70s.

Chateau Sonoma is reviving its monthly Le Petit French Flea beginning in June. The series begins with a pop-up with Eurolinens and Patine and Atelier de Campagne on June 5, followed by a special collaboration with Uber Chic in July. The full event calendar is online.

Socks on the Square, Sonoma’s premier sock shop is stocked up with brand new, limited edition Sonoma socks so visitors can wear their favorite destination after they head home. Check out their collection of Pride Socks as part of the celebration of Pride Month in June!

About Sonoma Valley, California

Located in the heart of Northern California wine country, Sonoma Valley is a 17-mile-long area
within Sonoma County, and which encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood. The birthplace of the state of California, as well as the state’s
wine industry, the year-round destination is home to more than 100 premium wineries, 85 percent of which are family-owned. For more information, visit SonomaValley.com, or follow them on Instagram at @sonoma_valley, and on Facebook at @ExperienceSonomaValley.

 

Visit Willamette Valley – The Majestic Oregon Wine Trail

Visit Willamette Valley – The Majestic Oregon Wine Trail

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

Planning a Visit to Willamette Valley Wine Region

Sip, Explore and Stay In Oregon Wine Country

Visit Willamette Valley – If you are planning to visit the Oregon Wine Country, the Willamette Valley Wine Region is one to surely put on your list. The Willamette Valley has over two-thirds of Oregon’s Vineyards and is now home to over 700 wineries and vineyards. Oregon Wines have made a significant mark in the wine industry and as a popular travel wine destination.  The Oregon Pinot Noirs are awarding-winning wines and their winemakers produce some of the best in the world.

Up until 1979, which is not so long ago, the Willamette Valley Wineries and the presence of vineyards and winemaking in Oregon were somewhat of a fledgling undertaking. The tides turned shortly after Oregon vintner David Lett returned from a blind tasting in France where he was invited to submit a red wine to go up against the haughty, aristocratic French, German and Italian vintages, including the illustrious French Burgundies and similar European varietals.

Willamette Valley History

David Lett

Willamette Valley History. This came only three short years after the California wine industry put their name on the map at a similar competition in France creating the “French Paradox” with an award-winning Chardonnay. Lett stunned the judges in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades in 1979 finishing among the top 10 out of over 330 entrants. It was a mere year later that renowned French Burgundian winemaker, Robert Drouhin, stepped up and instigated a re-match. To even greater acclaim, Lett’s Pinot finished second to Drouhin’s Chambolle-Mussigny, by only two-tenths. Not a surprise that Drouhin, then himself crossed the pond to the open his Oregon Domaine Drouhin in the stunning town of Dayton in the Willamette Valley.

Thus the “Oregon Story” was created which put an impressive stake on the map for the Oregon-made French-Style Pinot Noirs. Lett had left the Napa Valley only 10 years prior, shortly after studying at UC Davis. Despite the advice against it from his viticulture colleagues, Lett left his native California to put his own stake in the terroirs of the Pacific Northwest. His hunches proved him right.

The Oregon Story – David Lett

Lett’s success from the competition fueled his notoriety stemming from the accolades he gained as a result of the infamous competition with his Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot Noir. A short 15 years down the road from the renowned competition in France; Oregon exploded on the wine scene bringing some of his doubtful colleagues from the UC Davis and other eager winemaking pioneers, many from the Napa Valley, to jump on the bandwagon to lay their roots in the rich Oregon soils.

Domaine Drouhin

The richness of the valley’s soils can be attributed to the Missoula Floods from the Glacial Lake Missoula which impacted the region more than 40 times at the end of the ice age over 13,000 years ago. Floodwaters swept into the region bringing rich volcanic and glacier soil. You will find that a good majority of the wineries in the area are perched on knolls or hillside vineyards where the most optimum soils for grape growing are found.

Soter Vineyards

The Willamette Valley has over two-thirds of Oregon’s Vineyards and is now home to over 700 wineries and vineyards, with many vintners who found their way there from the Napa Valley. The region known initially for their outstanding Pinot Noir production has brought in many notable varietals to great success, such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and in addition, further expanding is the burgeoning sparkling wine production with the méthode champenoise. Some of the lesser produced varietals in the region are Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot. There are 6 sub-appellations in the Willamette Valley – Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton.

Where to Sip:

Soter Vineyards

Well-known Napa Valley Vintner creator of Etude Wines, Tony Soter, who was a 30 plus year veteran in winemaking in the Napa Valley, left the Valley in 2007. Much to the surprise of his colleagues, he took off for Oregon to go full time at the winery he owned since the mid-1990s with his wife Michelle, Soter Vineyards. He was an applauded consulting winemaker for Napa Valley well-known wineries, such as Stags Leap Wine Cellars, Shafer, Sequoia Grove, Viader, Robert Pepi, Etude, Chappellet, Spottswoode, Dalle Valle, Spring Mountain, Niebaum Coppola, and Stonegate.

Tony Soter

Michelle and Tony working together formed a dynamic team to follow in their own philosophy to consistently produce the highest caliber of wines that treads softly on the earth utilizing his over 4-decades of expertise and dedication to allow the character of the land to resonate in wines.

Soter Vineyards

Their stunning winery is in an architecturally re-crafted 1943 barn where open spaces abound, and views of the surrounding hills resonate with every turn. They also have a state-of-the-art kitchen for wine events on the property. They are located in the Yamhill-Carton AVA on a 240-acre bio-dynamic farm planted to 32 acres of vines including 30 acres of Pinot and 2 acres of Chardonnay which they use for their award-winning Brut Rose. In addition to their Mineral Springs location, they also have a second property that showcases their North Valley Vineyards Label and their Planet Oregon wines where $1 from the proceeds of every bottle sold is donated to the Oregon Environmental Council.

: Tastings by Reservation: Mineral Springs Ranch 10880 NE Mineral Springs Road, Carlton 97111 www.sotervineyards.com503-662-5600

Monks Gate

Monks Gate

The Moore family originally from the Napa Valley also migrated to the Yamhill Carlton AVA several decades ago. Ronald Moore was a cargo pilot and his wife, Linda was a software consultant. They were in search of a retirement venture with the mission of getting back to the land. The Willamette Valley drew them in with Its rolling hills and cool climates and the region’s notoriety for growing outstanding Pinots. Their 50-acre family farm is adjacent to the land owned by Trappist Abbey who helped the Moores clear their land for planting in 2000. The creation for the winery name was inspired by the actual gate entering to the Trappist Abbey estate, which was actually built to allow the monks to access the land over the years. Today sits a statue near the gateway of Saint Francis of Assisi commemorating their frequent passages across the lands.

Monks Gate

The vineyard is dry-farmed and also sustainably farmed to ensure that it will be environmentally and economically viable for generations to come. It is a two-generation operation, as their daughter Rebecca Moore also transplanted to the family compound from the Bay area and is the overall hands-on chief for every aspect for the winery from driving the tractor to pouring in the tasting room. Of the 50 acres, twenty are planted to Pinot Noir and Riesling.

: Carlton: Tastings by appointment: Open Thursday to Monday 12-5: www.monksgate.com503-852-6521

Alexana Winery

Dr. Madaiah Revana who is the proprietor of Napa Valley’s Revana Family Vineyards in Saint Helena had a love of the great wines of Burgundy and in 2005 began a search for the ideal location for his winery in Oregon. In addition to seeking out the perfect parcel of land for his winery and vineyards, he was also in search for a premier winemaker of Burgundian-style wines in the Willamette Valley. His quest led him to Lynn Penner-Ash, who had transplanted years before to this Pinot Noir abundant region from the Napa Valley.

Dr. Revana

Both Lynn and Dr. Revana were of the same philosophy with a commitment to producing world-class wines. Lynn’s vivid descriptions of the soils, the micro-climates, and elevations that would create the ultimate growing environment, presented them with a specific focus. They came upon the perfect location in the Dundee Hills, which offered 80-acres of which coincidentally sixteen acres had already been meticulously planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and the next year the launched Alexana Winery with their first estate 2006 vintages of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Today in addition to their stunning Pinot Noir Collection, they also offer Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, a Bordeaux Blend, and a Rhone Blend. Keep an eye out for the touring helicopters which frequently bring in guests for a wine tasting experience at Alexana.

: Newberg: Reservations Preferred and a must for parties of 6 or more: www.alexanawinery.com503-537-3100

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars

After getting her kick-start in the wine business at Domaine Chandon and Stags Leap in Napa, Lynn Penner-Ash decided to leave for Oregon in 1988 to work at Rex Hill Winery as one of Oregon’s first female winemakers. Thirty years later as a renowned veteran winemaker, she and her husband Ron Penner-Ash celebrate the success of their mutually collaborated Penner-Ash brand which they founded in 1998.

Lynn and Ron Penner-Ash

In 2005, they designed and built their sustainable, gravity-flow estate winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, though their portfolio of wines also includes varietals from 7 major AVA’s of the Willamette Valley. Their winery, tasting room, and perfectly landscaped grounds offer majestic 360-degree views from their hillside perch overlooking the stunning vineyards of surrounding Newberg area.

In addition to their award-winning Pinot Noirs, they also produce Viognier, Roseo, Riesling, and Syrah.

: Newberg: Open 7 Days 11am to 5pm: Reservations Preferred and a must for parties of 6 or more: www.pennerash.com503-554-5545

Gran Moraine

Gran Moraine

Eugenia Keegan, Estate Manager and Winemaker at Gran Moraine, part of the Jackson Family Wines, continued her wine career in the eighties in Napa Valley after working in Burgundy for several years honing her skills in Burgundian style wines. Upon arriving back in Napa, she took on the post as Bouchaine’s business manager at their Carneros location during their start-up days, and then later being promoted to President and CEO. In the late 90’s she moved over to Vine Cliff Winery in Oakville as president. In 2003, she took the plunge and moved on to the Henry Wine Group in Oregon until 2009. Prior to taking over at Gran Moraine in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Eugenia managed her own wine brand on two different continents, Keegan Cellars in Russian River and Roussillon, France.

Eugenia Keegan

Gran Moraine, founded in 2014, is located in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA on 220 acres planted to the classic Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the hillsides behind the winery. Teaming up with Shane Moore – Winemaker and Ken Kupperman – Vineyard Director, they have certainly created the trifecta for success at Gran Moraine. She is indeed a grand dame of Pinot Noir the Willamette Valley and continues to be committed to sustainable practices and creating elegance and finesse in a glass.

: Yamhill: Open Daily: 11am to 5pm: www.granmoraine.com855-831-6631

Archery Summit

Archery Summit

Gary and Nancy Andrus founders of Napa Valley’s Pine Ridge Winery expanded their wine world and opened Archery Summit in 1993. Now owned by the Crimson Wine Group, Archery Summit now lays claim to an expanding vineyard portfolio which includes 6 vineyards across 120 estate acres in Dayton in the Dundee Hills. They are known for producing some of the most luxurious New World Pinot Noirs.

They celebrate over two decades of crafting their estate-grown pinots and have just introduced their newest estate vineyard, Archer’s Edge. Winemaker, Ian Burch, has worked harvests across Sonoma County, Barossa Valley, New Zealand, and South Africa before settling in the Willamette Valley in 2008. Many of their Pinots have received outstanding marks from both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker.

: Dayton: Open Daily except Holidays: 10am to 4pm: Please call Tasting Room for Appointments or Availability: 503-714-2030: www.archerysummit.com

Domaine Drouhin

Domaine Drouhin

A visit to Domaine Drouhin is also a must to put on your list when visiting the Willamette Valley as its roots take you back to wine country in Burgundy where it all started 130 years ago when Maison Joseph Drouhin introduced their outstanding Pinot Noirs to the world. Run now by fourth-generation Drouhin’s at the helm, Veronique Boss-Drouhin, and Philippe Drouhin. Domaine Drouhin Oregon was built in 1988 for $10,000,000 in the Dundee Hills by then patriarch Robert Drouhin.

Domaine Drouhin

Their Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays continue the family legacy and tradition of fine winemaking in France and now in Oregon with finesse and elegance. As the saying goes, “French Soul, Oregon Soil.”

: Dayton: Open Daily 11am to 4pm: For larger groups, please call Tasting Room for Appointments and Tours: www.domainedrouhin.com: 503-864-2700

(Please note that when visiting many of the Wineries in Willamette Valley, picnicking and outside food may not be permitted)

Where to Stay

The Allison Inn and Spa

Allison Inn and Spa

Celebrating their 10thAnniversary, The Allison Inn and Spa offers guests a casually elegant and luxurious experience in the heart of the Willamette Valley. No attention to detail has been overlooked at this stunning spa resort hosting 77 luxury guest rooms and 8 suites all with gas fireplaces, a terrace or balcony, and spa-like bathrooms with outstanding views of the luscious landscape of the surrounding rolling hills and vineyards. No other place in the Willamette Valley offers this kind of unique guest experience. Whether you are taking off right from the property on a helicopter tour, a luxury private car, a hot air balloon, or even by horseback, the Allison can personalize your visit and choose from more than 200 area wineries. They will also prepare a customized picnic basket to take along with you.

Allison Inn and Spa

Upon your return from tasting some of the best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the world, take time to chill a little in their award-winning spa offering an extensive spa menu utilizing the energies, and ecological elements stemmed from the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley.

Dining at the Jory Restaurant at the Allison provides yet another memorable sensory experience. This one is offering a journey that accentuates the native flavors of the region sourcing seasonal and farm to table products in every dish specially prepared to create your culinary memory of the Willamette Valley.

Brunch on the deck at The Allison Inn and Spa

: 2525 Allison Lane, Newberg, OR: www.theallison.com: 877-294-2525

Black Walnut Inn and Vineyards

Black Walnut Inn

If it is a luxury bed and breakfast you are in search of, then look no further than the exquisite Black Walnut Inn and Vineyards in the Dundee Hills. This majestic Inn is nestled on a knoll surrounded by rolling vineyards on their 42 acres. Each of the nine guest rooms all with private baths are uniquely adorned with their individual designer décor, many with balconies or private patios. These inviting rooms offer guests a relaxing retreat where you will enjoy spectacular evening sunsets and vistas on your patio with an afternoon glass of wine from their expansive wine cellar along with a Charcuterie and Cheeseboard.

Black Walnut Inn

You can expect your stay to be absolutely memorable as this dynamic property sets the stage for the perfect romantic getaway. Before rushing out to a full day of visiting the region’s wineries, you will indulge in Black Walnuts Inn’s signature breakfast where each dish is made to order with the freshest of local ingredients. What a perfect way to start your perfect day! Owners Rick and Erika Miller are hands-on hosts who look after your every need.

Guest Suite at the Black Walnut Inn

: 9600 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee, OR: www.blackwalnutvineyard.com  503-538-8663