Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BLEND Your Own Wine Aboard Koningsdam

BLEND
Whether you are a wine connoisseur or a novice like me, when it comes to "fruit of the vine" we all know what we like. To be certain that our taste buds are satisfied when Holland America Line's new ms Koningsdam debuts in April 2016, guests can experience the art of winemaking on board at BLEND. In collaboration with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State's oldest and most acclaimed winery, the intimate venue will enable guests to blend their own wine and enjoy it at dinner or in the privacy of their stateroom.

BLEND—the first of its kind for Holland America Line and the only purpose-built wine-blending venue at sea—will have a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the blending process, guests also will learn about wine from the ship's wine expert, who leads the blending session.

"At the core of every Holland America Line cruise is our desire to offer unique, immersive and innovative experiences, and BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle is all of those things and more," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "The BLEND experience on Koningsdam is designed to appeal to everyone, and it will be exciting for our guests to create an exclusive wine tailored to their personal taste that they can enjoy on board with our exceptional cuisine."

After viewing a welcome video by Bob Bertheau, Chateau Ste. Michelle's winemaker, guests will learn interesting information about the history of Washington wines and winemaking, examine soil samples, and see how different vineyard sites impact the flavors and style of the wine. The Cellar Master also will instruct guests on what characteristics, flavors and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel. Guests then sample the five unique wines, featuring such varietals as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the winery's Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards, and make tasting notes on what they like about each. The blending begins in a graduated cylinder, with guests determining how much of each wine to include in their personal bottle.

After the personalized wine blend is put into the bottle with a stopper, guests will be able to create their own label to add a personalized touch. The wine will then be sent to The Dining Room or another restaurant, where it will be waiting for the guests to enjoy with their evening meal. Alternatively guests can take the wine blend to their stateroom to enjoy at their leisure. The wine blending sessions will be held daily for a fee, and reservations are required.

About Chateau Ste. Michelle
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle pioneered vinifera growing in Washington State and has been producing classic European varietal wines under the Ste. Michelle label since 1967. The winery combines an ongoing dedication to research with a commitment to classic winemaking traditions. The winery owns 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley of eastern Washington, including Canoe Ridge Estate and Cold Creek, which are LIVE and Salmon Safe certified as environmentally sustainable. Chateau Ste. Michelle enjoys winemaking partnerships with two of the world's most distinguished vintners—Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany's Piero Antinori and Eroica Riesling is a partnership with the Mosel's Ernst Loosen.

Image Courtesy Holland America Line

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