“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – California Wine Cruise 1

Cruise to Napa and Sonoma Valley Wineries

Wait a minute! Come again? How could I possibly take a cruise in the wine country – it’s all landlocked, right? Well, it turns out to be an easy and fun way to visit some wineries and see some of California in a new way.

Cruise West offers a Culture of the Vine cruise (four days, three nights over a long weekend) that starts in San Francisco Bay and heads up the Napa River. The Spirit of Yorktown cruises up and down the river, serving as your hotel and docking for excursions that venture into Napa and Sonoma Valley. This small ship is 257 feet long and 43 feet wide with a draft of just 8 feet, allowing it to cruise quite a way up the Napa. All cabins have private facilities and the American crew takes excellent care of the 138 guests.

My group boarded in San Francisco late Friday afternoon and (after the mandatory lifeboat drill and safety lecture) was treated to a Wine 101 course, presented by an on-board wine expert. It may have been a bit basic for experienced oenophiles, but a great grounding for the neophytes among us. Besides, I always find that I learn something about wine drinking and serving whenever I listen to someone who really knows wine.

In the next few posts, I’ll tell you about the excursions, the wineries we visited and some of the wines we tasted.