Every destination brings new cultures, sights, sounds, and attractions, but many travelers opt to seek out culinary adventures. If you're on vacation, getting off the beaten path can really help you find that perfect top-notch restaurant or exceptional vineyard that might inspire today's master chef. But what many people don't know is that a river cruise is an ideal way to experience some of those amazing foods and wines from around the globe.
AMAWaterways’ river cruising expert Kathie DeVincenzo shares that exploring the rivers of Europe is one of the best ways to experience food and wine.
“River cruising is the best way to experience wine,” says DeVincenzo. “[AMAWaterways] includes champagne at breakfast, beer and wine at lunch and dinner, but it's only fine wine. We select wines that are paired with our dinners, and they're from the local areas where we're sailing so that just brings the whole area to life. It just adds to the cruise."
Wine-themed cruises are different from a standard river cruise. According to DeVincenzo, AMAWaterways feature a wine host that provides wine presentations while on board. Guests can taste different wines, from old world wine to new world wine, while getting lessons on the wines, flavors, and history.
DeVincenzo recommends taking a cruise on the Rhône or Saône Rivers in the South of France for those red wine connoisseurs.
“You’re going to get the Beaujolais and Cote du Rhône wines, and the whole area is just magnificent,” says DeVincenzo.
Bordeaux and Portugal are other areas that DeVincenzo recommends for red wine enthusiasts. River cruises in the regions feature winery tours, providing the opportunity to taste several different wines.
For those who are newer to wine, DeVincenzo has other recommendations.
“The Rhine is a prime prospect for those folks that are new,” says DeVincenzo. "The Rhine is really famous for its Riesling wine. And then there's also a wine called Gewurztraminer that came from Italians when they conquered the area, and they brought grapes from Italy. It's a really popular white wine."
For those wanting a more festive experience, DeVincenzo recommends the Danube River, world-famous for its wines.
“I just like walking through the Danube vineyards myself,” says DeVincenzo, “but we can’t discount the Christmas Markets. I love the Christmas Markets and the warm wine.”
The warm wine DeVincenzo refers to is Glühwein, which is served in a small cup indigenous to the Christmas Market. The cups change each year and have become quite the collectible for many who visit the Christmas Markets.
As all lovers of wine know, pairing wine with exceptional cuisine is essential. According to DeVincenzo, onboard AMAWaterways, chefs select different wines and create menu pairings with different selections nightly.
Those who are concerned they aren't a wine expert, have no fear. Wine cruises are something those of any wine experience can enjoy. No matter your wine knowledge, all passengers will learn something new and experience beautiful new destinations and wines.