George Pathori gets a taste for watery wine tours on seas and rivers around the world.
A wine in every port
Sample a different wine in every port on a week-long voyage from Monte Carlo to Barcelona on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. From Livorno, Italy, guests can sample Tuscan wines. At Civitavecchia, near Rome, they can visit a winery at Cerveteri, while Naples brings the chance to savour wines produced from six grape varieties that thrive throughout the region. In Marseille, it's Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and, finally, in Palma de Mallorca, a visit to a bodega.
From $7300pp for a seven-night cruise departing November 5.
The top-end luxury Silver Whisper sails from London to the capital of Catalonia, visiting stunning wine regions — Normandy, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Cadiz and Malaga — along the way. Guests sail in the company of Silversea's expert sommeliers and vintners, with tastings and lessons along the way to enrichen and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the grape.
From $9450 for a 14-day voyage leaving on May 19.
Nice and riesling
You'll get a nose for riesling on Avalon Waterways' 12-day 'Blue Danube Discovery for Wine Lovers', sailing from Budapest to Prague. The voyage is part of the Wine Appreciation Cruises series — which takes in the sights and flavours of Europe with a special focus on wine — and comes with tastings, cellar tours and the opportunity to meet winemakers and merchants.
From $3699pp for 12 days, departing April 30 and October 29, 2019.
Take a trip on the new luxury eight-passenger barge Belmond Pivoine along the Marne to Chalons-en-Champagne with a chance to taste some of the region's finest sparkling wines while watching the harvest play out across the fields. Outings can include viewing the sorting and pressing of the grapes, a hot-air balloon flight over the vineyards at Reims, or a visit to the family-run champagne house in Ludes, exploring cellars that were used to hide members of the RAF during World War II.
From $10,670pp for a six-night voyage, departing October 6, 2019.
Keep it local and enjoy tasting sessions and seminars on New Zealand produce and tasty delights from around the world with food and wine personalities on a three-night cruise sailing out of Auckland and returning to the same port. New Zealand wines will be to the fore on Pacific Aria's 'Food & Wine' cruise.
From $484pp (in a four-person shared room) for a three-day cruise, leaving Auckland on May 31.
If you dig truffles
You can hunt your own truffles in a forest as well as enjoy wine on a voyage on the 12-passenger barge L'Impressionniste. The excursion, with a specially trained dog and a harvester, is included on a cruise that takes guests through the picturesque Ouche Valley and offers visits to historic cities such as Beaune, the unofficial wine capital of Burgundy, and Dijon. There's no hard work involved: the barge comes with six crew, including your own chef.
From $8870pp for a six-night voyage departing from April to October, 2019.
Rhine and roses
Taste the fruits of the Rhine on a cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, taking in Alsatian and Rheingau wines, Rudesheimer coffee and Kolsch beer, on the 'Enchanting Rhine' cruise.
German wine expert Ewald Moseler is the host on a journey which sails by vineyard-clad hills dotted with castles, with stops including Cologne, Strasbourg and Riquewihr, on the 156-passenger ship AmaStella. Rieslings, gewurztraminers and cremant rosés are among the offerings.
From $4400pp for a seven-night cruise departing on April 11.
Bordeaux and beyond
French company CroisiEurope offers 'The Great Wines of Southern France', which runs through the Bordeaux region and into neighbouring areas, visiting renowned vineyards and authentic terroirs. Guests on the 158-passenger MS Cyrano de Bergerac travel through the vineyards of Saint-Emilion and taste wine at La Cite du Vin. They also get to visit the Gironde Estuary vineyards, a rustic terroir with mineral wines, before returning to Bordeaux.
From $1920pp for a six-day voyage, on dates from April to October.
Azamara is taking its newest ship Azamara Pursuit on a voyage from Athens to Venice, sailing via Montenegro and the Greek islands, including late-night departures to allow guests to make the most of their visits.
Among the excursions en route are tours to Chania with the ship's chef and sommelier, a culinary walk through Mykonos, and the opportunity to sample amazing local wines along the way.
Other islands on the voyage include Rhodes and Zakynthos.
From $4927pp for 10 nights, departing on June 19.
Washington state of mind
With more than 900 wineries growing 70 varieties of grape, Washington State in the Pacific northwest is now the second biggest producer of premium wines in the US. Find out more as you sail from Portland, Oregon, through Washington State and into the Dales, on American Pride, a Victorian-style paddlewheel boat. Excursions include: a tasting at the Italian-inspired Cascade Cliffs Winery beside Columbia Gorge; a guided tour of the Hamilton cellars in Richland; and a visit to the Basalt Cellars in the Lewis Clark Valley. An on-board expert will run tastings and pairings. The route will soon be served by the first modern US riverboat, American Song.
From $8690pp for an 11-day voyage, on dates from April to October.
The luxury 112-passenger yacht SeaDream has a wine voyage from Barcelona to Nice, including a wine tasting at Mas Doix, a small family-run winery in Palamos, followed by a Winemaker's Dinner with a special menu complemented with top cuvees from the visiting winemaker. Later, guests tour Domaine de L'Hortus, in the Languedoc, famed for producing wines with freshness, elegance and character. Other ports include Cassis and Antibes. During evenings on board, guests can meet visiting winemakers and enjoy top cavas and sherries matched with degustation dinners.
From $7360 for a stateroom on a seven-day cruise, leaving on May 4.