Cruising for Wine

My wife and I just completed a Wine Cruise on the Celebrity Mercury. Besides onboard wine events, the 9-day itinerary featured wine regions at each port as we journeyed from Vancouver to San Diego. For wine lovers, I’m providing some tasting room notes for each stop.

Victoria, BC
Located in the heart of downtown Victoria, the Artisan Wine Shop features wines from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. This tasty wine bar offers 6 free offerings that change daily. This was a pleasant surprise.

Seattle, WA
Found on Post Alley in the Pike Market District, The Tasting Room: Wines of Washington features many wines from Washington’s smaller producers. Wine lovers may select from thematic flights (for a very reasonable fee) or by individual wines. A must stop for wine lovers.

Astoria, OR
Located at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, Astoria is a quaint stop for cruise ships. A short walk from the docks along the river walk, the Flying Dutchman tasting room was a pleasant surprise as the $5 tasting fee got us a full range of wines. Note that this tasting room wasn’t well marked. In town (near the Maritime Museum), we found another winery, but it was closed.

San Francisco, CA
Porting in beautiful San Francisco for two days gave us a chance to rent a car for heading north to our favorite wine region – Sonoma County. Since we’ve been to Sonoma before, we followed the recommendations of our cruise-dinner-table friends and drove to Healdsburg whose downtown is dominated with shops, restaurants, and tasting rooms around a quaint town square.

Downtown Healdsburg houses 22 tasting rooms! With many charging a tasting fee, here are a few tips and a link to a map.

  • Stop by the Visitors Information Center as it provides some free tasting cards.
  •  When visiting a tasting room, ask for recommendations for your next stop because it may lead to a complimentary tasting.
  • Williamson and Selby were pleasant surprises! 

Monterey, CA
Cannery Row is home to five fee-based tasting rooms. The Taste of Monterey provides the largest variety, plus the tasting fee is applied to a purchases.

San Diego, CA
Our time beautiful San Diego was limited, so we didn’t travel to the Temecula wine region. Within San Diego’s Old Town is a fee-based tasting room, which I didn’t try nor remember its name; but it’s located within Plaza del Pasado near the Temecula Olive Oil Company.

FYI: While on the ship, Peter Lehmann Shiraz was our dinner favorite.