The Winemakers Cruise is in its fifth year and will include winemakers from Black Mesa Winery, Santa Fe Winery and Vino del Corazon. In addition, the Southwestern Wine Guy, based in Corrales will be a featured celebrity. The cruise this year departs from Fort Lauderdale on November 17 aboard the Eurodam, returning on November 24. Ports of call include Grand Turk, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amelia, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, a private island owned by Holland America, the cruise line for the Winemakers Cruise.
Grand Turk is a haven for snorkeling, with several pristine beaches. Grand Turk is fringed with them, lying as it does at the southeastern end of the Bahamian archipelago.
San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico is the oldest city on US territory and was founded in 1521 by Juan Ponce de León. Members can walk the Camitillo Trail or explore the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest. They can also explore Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World.
The port of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas permits visitors to browse through the shop-lined streets and discover why St. Thomas is called the "duty-free shopping capital of the world”. There is a special gathering of winemaker cruise members on Half Moon Cay, the last port of call.
The cruise is the brain child of Keith and Martha Powell of Albuquerque, well-know local wine presenters and marketers. The highly successful cruises include many returnees, who have become devotees of the wine cruises. Jerry and Lynda Burd, the winemakers of Black Mesa is one such couple. They will be joined by Erica and Richard Hart of Vino del Corazon, also returning for another cruise.
Other winemakers include Michael Loykasek of Gunfighters Winery in Sonoma, California and Jim Ballard of James Arthur Vineyards in Raymond, Nebraska. Keith and Martha Powell look for smaller, boutique wineries for their cruises that have left an indelible stamp on winemaking in their respective areas.
Winemaker Cruise members enjoy special wine events including tastings, wine pairings and winemaker dinners. Chef Jacques, Jack Campbell from Oregon, is the exclusive chef for the cruise. Good food, good wine, good wine conversations and the beauty of several Caribbean islands to explore are all part of the Winemakers Cruise. There is still time to book the cruise on the Winemakers Cruise website which has more detailed information of the cruise and the ports of call.