Norwegian Announces 2017-2018 ‘Meet The Winemaker’ Cruises


July 13, 2017.

On select cruises, guests can partake in a variety of enriching onboard experiences with famed winemakers and industry experts including Michael Mondavi, Aaron Sanchez, Gerard Bertrand and Salvatore Ferragamo


Calling all wine aficionados!  Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker Cruises, a selection of cruises aboard Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn during which guests will have the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the winemaking industry.

The full series was revealed during the first Winemaker Dinner cruise of the season, held this week on Norwegian Escape and featuring Antonio Hidalgo, President of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana. Hidalgo represents the 8th generation of the sherry winery, family owned and operated since 1792. Norwegian’s Winemaker Dinner series is hosted at the line’s popular wine venue The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, and is in celebration of Norwegian’s successful ongoing partnership with the family and other valued beverage partners, including Moët Hennessy.

In 2015, the Michael Mondavi Family partnered with Norwegian to introduce the line’s first branded wine bar aboard Norwegian Escape – The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar – boasting a curated wine list and service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier.

The venue invites guests to participate in a variety of interactive, fun and educational wine activities including seminars, tastings, pairings and workshops. This partnership was further expanded upon when The Cellars opened aboard Norwegian Dawn in 2016 after ship-wide enhancements. Mondavi is recognized as one of the global emissaries of California wine and is widely credited with helping to establish and build the Napa Valley wine industry as we know it. The newly-announced series of sailings evolves from the popular and well-received visits Mondavi has made to Norwegian Escape in celebration of the partnership.

Guests aboard these select sailings will have several opportunities to engage with the wine makers and experts, enhancing their onboard experience with a variety of enriching seminars and activities. On the second day of each cruise, guests will have the chance to dive into the seasoned minds of the visiting experts with an open-forum question and answer session, held in the Atrium of the ship. Following the open forum, guests will have the chance to purchase featured wines selected by the wine makers and varietals from the ship’s wine list, meet the expert and have him sign the bottle to take home as a memento. The open forum and personal meet and greet are complimentary and open to all guests.

For a more intimate experience, guests can attend an interactive, hands-on wine tasting and educational seminar hosted by the vintner in The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. The vintner will take the guests on a tour of the winemaking world and the elements that complement it, providing tailored insight into their specific area of expertise. The tastings will feature wines hand-picked by the expert and brought on board for the seminar. Pricing for the tastings will be $19.95 per person.

Guests seeking an unforgettable gourmet experience can attend an exclusive wine dinner, hosted by the vintner or industry expert. They will be treated to a truly special event, consisting of five courses paired with wine specifically chosen for each course. The cost of the dinner with wine pairings is $59.95 per person. Seating is limited for both the tasting seminars and wine pairing dinner and reservations will only be available on board the ship.  The full lineup of the 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker series includes:

  • September 22, 2017 – Norwegian Dawn: Michael Mondavi, founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, co-founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners and co-founder of The Cellars – A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Mondavi represents the third generation representative of the prestigious family of wineries in Napa Valley.
  • November 4, 2017 – Norwegian Escape: Bill Whiting, Director of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners. As the grandson of John F. Mariani Sr., founder of Banfi Vintners, Whiting carries on the tradition of the award-winning Castello Banfi estate, founded in 1919 in the Brunello region of Tuscany.
  • December 2, 2017 – Norwegian Escape: Aarón Sánchez. Famed TV Chef and James Beard award winner, Aarón Sánchez is the official ambassador and spokesperson for Terrazas de los Andes wines and is considered one of the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.
  • February 17, 2018 – Norwegian Escape: Gerard Bertrand, renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillon. Bertrand, a legendary expert in the winemaking industry, boasts 20 years of experience and a breadth of awards and accolades.
  • March 2018, Norwegian Escape: Salvatore Ferragamo, heir of famed Italian fashion house and owner at Il Borro Winery in Tuscany, Italy. Salvatore, whose father Ferruccio, bought the beautiful Il Borro Estate in 1993, has replanted the family’s vineyard and has been releasing delicious Tuscan wines since 1999. (Specific date for this cruise was not provided by the cruise line)