Dear Friends of Ridge,
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to a spectacular wine adventure aboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ S.S. Catherine. Join me and our Winemaker, John Olney, as together we’ll embark in Avignon on an eight-day journey along the Rhône River. Ports of call we will visit include; Arles, Tournon (Hermitage), Lyon, and Beaune.
While onboard the luxurious SS Catherine, attend Ridge wine seminars, casual tastings, as well as an exclusively hosted Ridge Vineyards wine dinner featuring older vintages of Monte Bello.
We worked with our partners at Food & Wine Trails to coordinate two private land excursions for an in-depth experience. The first is a visit to Chateauneuf-du-Pape where we will tour a winery and have lunch. The second is a tour of Tain l’Hermitage in the northern Rhône where we will we walk through the vineyards and have lunch nearby.
The SS Catherine is named after the French film star Catherine Deneuve and holds 159 passengers in complete luxury. The boat features a spa, swimming pool, fitness center, two full bars, and the Cézanne Restaurant. The S.S. Catherine also features an extensive art collection and many other lavish touches.
I hope you will join us as we set sail from Avignon on June 16th, 2019, for an incredible voyage marked by great company, exceptional hospitality, and world-class wines.
Wine Program Highlights
June 16 – 23, 2019 | 8-days
Avignon to Lyon
Aboard Uniworld’s S.S. Catherine
Fares From: $3,944 per person
Book Early and receive $100 per person shipboard credit
(if booked by July 31, 2018)
CALL (800) 367-5348 | Send Email
Please note the itinerary and schedule of events is subject to change. The final schedule will be mailed to you with your final documents.
|Date||Port of Call||Included Shore Tour||Events & Optional Tours|
|6/14-16/2019||Nice, France||Food & Wine Trails Optional 2-Night Pre-Nice Program|
|6/16/2019||Avignon||Embark: Transfer from Marseille International Airport to Avignon, embark SS Catherine||Welcome Reception & Dinner with Ridge Vineyard hosts – reserved seating|
|6/17/2019||Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)||Choice of Arles walking discovery tour or Tarascon walking discovery tour||Wine Tasting & Lecture|
|6/18/2019||Avignon||Exclusive “Let’s Go” kayak ride on the Gardon River. Choice of Avignon walking discovery tour with Palace of the Popes or Avignon walking discovery tour with Pont du Gard||Food & Wine Trails Optional Shore Tour “Parker’s Passion for Chateauneuf-du-Pape”|
|6/19/2019||Viviers||Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day”||Wine Hour with Ridge Vineyards hosts|
|6/20/2019||Tournon (Tain l’Hermitage)|| Choice of Exclusive Tournon and Tain-l-Heremitage twin villages stroll
with wine tasting or Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” Hermitage vineyards hike
with wine tasting
| Food & Wine Trails Optional Shore Tour
“Hermitage Hill & Wines of the Rhône”
|6/21/2019||Lyon||Choice of “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon walking tour OR Silk Weavers walking tour OR “Let’s GO” Lyon peninsula bicycle tour||Dinner with Ridge Vineyard hosts – reserved seating|
|6/22/2019||Mâcon (Beaune)||Choice of Burgundy wine landscapes, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune OR Mâcon walking discovery tour||Food & Wine Trails Optional Shore Tour (in development)|
PREVIEW – The Cote d’Azur’s Charming Nice and the Wines of Bellet
Ridge Vineyards Optional 2-night Pre-Cruise Program More Info
PREVIEW – Parker’s Passion for Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Ridge Vineyards Optional Shore Tour More Info
PREVIEW – Hermitage Hill & WInes of the Rhone
Ridge Vineyards Optional Shore Tour More Info
Food & Wine Trails’ (F&WT) private shore tours differ significantly from the typical group tours sold on cruise ships. Our tours are designed specifically for food and wine lovers, focusing on the wine, culture, and cuisine of a region. We take our guests to unique venues, often not accessible to the public and therefore not crowded with tourists. Our guides have been hand selected for their expertise and knowledge of the region, and bring as much to the experience as the destination itself.
The size of our tours are kept relatively small to allow for a more intimate and authentic experience. As a result, shore tour participation cannot be guaranteed to all group members.
A brochure with tour descriptions and registration form will be sent by email and USPA to all confirmed group members 4 to 5 months prior to the cruise. Once released, we recommend acting quickly as they tend to sell out quickly. In the event one or all tour(s) become sold out, your F&WT Travel Consultant can offer you other options.
Please note that before tours are released, all descriptions and included elements are subject to change.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
The stunningly sophisticated S.S. Catherine is part of Unworld’s award-winning collection of boutique river cruise ships, a vessel fittingly named in honor of the beautiful and legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve. Designed with the unique signature touches for which Uniworld is known, this ultra-luxurious Super Ship marks the debut of an entirely new category of river cruising.
The magnificent 443-foot, 159-passenger S.S. Catherine was many years in the making, meticulously engineered and lavishly decorated with exquisitely crafted furnishings, hand-selected antiques, original paintings, and an indoor swimming pool with an intricate mosaic tile backsplash. The S.S. Catherine also showcases an extensive art collection and many other opulent touches, including a hand blown Murano glass chandelier and life-size glass horse that were specially commissioned for the ship.
Public Areas & Amenities
• Van Gogh Lounge with full-service bar
• Bar du Leopard with full-service bar
• Cézanne Restaurant
• Gordes Terrace
• Matisse Terrace
• Heated swimming pool
• Fitness center
• Serenity River Spa
• Guest laundry
• 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar
• Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
Staterooms & Suites
All staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, 100% Egyptian cotton linens, and a choice of pillows. Other amenities include built-in closets, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat-screen TV with infotainment center and satellite, bottled water, and a safe.? Marble bathrooms feature L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, towel warmers, heated mirrors, and bathrobes and slippers.
All suites are uniquely decorated and have additional amenities and services, including in-suite special butler service, packing and unpacking assistance, full breakfast menu, daily fruit and cookie plate, elegant evening snack, robes and slippers, iPod® docking station, Nespresso coffee machine and fine teas, fully stocked mini bar, free laundry and shoe shine service, bottle of wine upon arrival, Hermés bath products, one-per-person in-suite well-being treatment, and a special dinner in Bar du Leopard.
The Royal Suite offers additional benefits, including a separate and spacious living room, and a bathroom with a separate rain shower and tub, as well as a secluded toilet and bidet area.
Super Ship Catherine
Inauguration: 2014 | Length: 443 ft | Width: 37.5 ft | Voltage: 110/220 volts | Guests: 159
|Category||Double Occupancy||Single Occupancy|
|Deluxe Balcony Stateroom||$5,344||$8,044|
|French Balcony Stateroom||$4,844||$7,294|
Suite category pricing available upon request and subject to availability
Prices are per person based on two people per stateroom and include shipboard accommodations, all scheduled airport transfers, onboard meals, gratuities, port taxes, unlimited beverages of select wines, beers, and spirits, unlimited soft drinks, specialty coffee beverages and tea, complimentary Uniworld shore excursions, upgraded wines served with dinners provided by host winery, onboard wine program and limited travel management services. Prices do not include roundtrip air, premium wine and spirits, optional pre-cruise program, travel insurance, or all items of a personal nature. F&WT reserves the right to correct pricing errors or omissions. Prices will not increase after deposit received, except for fuel surcharges and any taxes, charges or levies imposed by government agencies. Single/Triple prices available upon request.
Suite & Stateroom Features
Situated along the banks of the Rhone, the French city of Avignon has a rich history dating back even before the famous three-month siege of the town that took place in the summer of 1226. A little over a century later, the Black Death swept through the town, killing over two-thirds of the population. To get a better idea of the kind of history present in Avignon, consider this: the University of Avignon was first established in 1303 and has historically focused on law. Some seven-hundred years have passed since then and yet the University remains.
Avignon became a papal territory in 1348 and remained that way until 1791, when it was sold back to France during the turmoil surrounding the French Revolution. Today, chances are you’ll recognize parts Avignon even if you’ve never been there before. The Palais des Papes and the Saint Bénézet bridge are some of the most photographed structures in Southern France.
Known for its remarkable Roman ruins, Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings here, including Sunflowers and The Yellow House. It was here that the Romans built their first bridge across the Rhône River, creating a vital overland route between Italy and Spain and facilitating the expansion of their empire. A short distance from Arles is the ancient and charming town of Tarascon. Its many medieval sites include a 12th-century church and a 15th-century castle that is rich with tales of a beloved ruler and a ferocious dragon.
An enchanting village where time seems to have stopped centuries ago, Viviers has a long and storied past that goes back for more than 1,600 years.Sycamores line some of Viviers’ stone-paves streets, and houses here bear the watermarks of floods over the years. Explore the fountain squares in the Old Town, which combine Roman and medieval influences, and cobblestone lanes so narrow you can stand in the middle and touch the medieval houses on either side. Viviers climbs a hill crowned by 12th-century St. Vincent’s Cathedral and happens to be the smallest cathedral in France, but it contains a marvelous organ.
Nestled on opposite sides of the river in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage are an ideal destination for connoiseurs of fine wine. Tournon may be a small town, but stirring events took place here: A castle was raised on the hilltop in the 10th century to protect the region, and new fortifications were added over the centuries, including two “new” towers built to defend against Protestant attacks in the 16th century. You’ll see the handsome houses constructed by wealthy merchants and garrison officers when you walk through the Rue de Doux area, and you will pass the 14th century church – unusual for the number of houses incorporated in its walls – and the oldest secondary school in France. Cross the pretty flower-decked Marc Seguin suspension bridge to Tain-l-Hermitage to visit local wine cellars or browse through the shops or the Valrhona chocolate factory.
The pace of life is decidedly more relaxed in Burgundy, where endless rows of grapes hang heavy on the vine. The capital of the region’s wine trade, Beaune, is renowned for its history, beauty and highly prized wine, as well as its medieval-era hospital – the Hospices de Beaune. Founded as a charitable institution by the duke’s chancellor in 1443, the hospital became a model for charitable giving in southern France, one with a unique fundraising tradition that continues today. Over the centuries, the hospice monks were given wine and vineyards, and they began selling the wines at auction in order to support their charitable work. The wine auction is now world-famous. Located in the southernmost part of Burgundy, Mâcon, a Saône River port, is your gateway to Beaune.
As the epicenter of French gastronomy, Lyon is a city of tantalizing contrasts. There’s much to explore here, from the work of culinary visionaries to silk weavers’ secret passageways. Some of the sights to behold…two rivers: one tranquil, one torrential; two hills: one for labor, where the sound of silk weavers’ looms used to echo, the other for prayers, crowned by a spectacular basilica. Two cities: as different as night and day: one boasting colorful Old World facades, medieval mansions and hidden passageways; one with a sophisticated urbanity reminiscent of Paris. Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saôane rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities.
This wine cruise is two programs rolled into one. You have all the onboard entertainment and creature-comforts of a deluxe cruise, plus a private-to-the-group, educational wine program with private parties, tastings, seminars and a winemaker’s dinner.
Welcome Reception & Dinner
June 16, 2019
Wine Tasting & Seminar
June 17, 2019
June 19, 2019
Ridge Vineyards Hosted Dinner – Reserved Seating
June 21, 2019
More details and wine selections to come.
John Olney, Lytton Springs Winemaker & COO
John is Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker at Lytton Springs in Sonoma County. John began traveling to Europe at an early age where he was introduced to the culture of wine in France and Italy. He frequently visited the south of France where he spent time with his uncle, Richard Olney, the celebrated food and wine writer. Through his uncle’s relationships, John learned first hand many of the great European winemaking methods and traditions. Later, while attending a language exchange program in Provence, he chose to pursue wine as a career and, in 1994, enrolled in enological studies at the Lycée Viticole in Burgundy to learn the craft of winemaking in greater depth. Before coming to Ridge Vineyards, John worked at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant as well as with several European winemakers including Gerard Chave in the Rhone, Lucien Peyraud at Domaine Tempier and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
In 1996, John began work at Ridge’s Monte Bello Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1999, he was put in charge of the Lytton Springs Winery where he oversaw the construction of the innovative 17,000 sq. ft. straw bale winery.
David Amadia, President
David is in his 13th year at Ridge, having joined in 2005. He has worked as a member of the Executive Team for his entire tenure and was promoted to President in 2016. David has worked diligently over his tenure at Ridge to cement the winery’s international reputation as one of the world’s highest quality producers of traditionally made, single vineyard wines.
David leads all of Ridge Vineyards’ sales and marketing efforts including International, Direct-to-Consumer sales, and the U.S. market. He also leads the company’s Finance, IT and Logistics functions. David began his career in wine in 1990 as an Export Director and continues to directly manage Ridge’s international distribution network that spans across 50 countries and 5 continents.
At Ridge, David is energized to be part of a team uniquely committed to making the highest quality single vineyard wines utilizing only traditional winemaking techniques. Ridge remains committed to the original philosophies of the founders that were carried forward by Paul Draper for nearly 50 years and have been passed to the next generation to maintain unbuoyed by outside trends and fads.
Prior to coming to Ridge, David worked between 1995-2001 as a Vice President for Australia’s Southcorp Wines. There he collaborated with legendary winemakers, John Duval and Peter Gago, and marketed celebrated wines like the Penfold’s Grange Hermitage and Wynns John Riddoch.
David went on to work for 4 years with Randall Grahm as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. While at Bonny Doon he guided the winery’s complete transition to Screw-Cap closures (the first US winery to take this step), helped to start the mega-trend towards blended red wines with Big House Red, and facilitated the winery’s transition to Biodynamic farming.
A graduate of the University of California at Davis with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics, he went on to earn his MBA at The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona.
David is native of northern California born in San Francisco, and raised in Mill Valley just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Today he resides in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the town of Scotts Valley with his wife and his 14-year old twins.