New venue allows guests to be winemakers and blend their own labelWine connoisseurs and novices alike can experience the art of winemaking at BLEND aboard Holland America Line’s new ms Koningsdam when the ship debuts in April 2016. 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 will also learn about wine from the ship’s wine expert, who leads the blending session.
Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, said, “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. 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 onboard 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 flavours and style of the wine. The Cellar Master also will instruct guests on what characteristics, flavours and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel.
Guests then sample the five unique wines, such 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 customised wine blend is put into the bottle with a stopper, guests will be able to create their own label to add a personalised 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.