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Koningsdam venue turns cruisers into winemakers

BLEND - in partnership with Chateau Ste. Michelle
Wine connoisseurs and novices alike can become winemakers in a new venue on Holland America Line's Koningsdam when the ship debuts in April.

In collaboration with Washington state's venerable Chateau Ste. Michelle, BLEND will enable cruisers to blend their own wine to drink at dinner or in the privacy of their stateroom.

BLEND will have a tasting table that accommodates 10 participants who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine and learn about wine from an expert who leads the session.

After viewing a welcome video by Bob Bertheau, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s winemaker, participants will learn 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 will instruct participants on what characteristics, flavors and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel.

They then sample the five 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 participants determining how much of each wine to include in their personal bottle.

After the wine blend is put into the bottle with a stopper, participants will be able to create their own label to add a personalized touch. The wine will be sent to The Dining Room or another restaurant for drinking with the evening meal. Or passengers can take the wine blend to their stateroom.

The wine blending sessions will be held daily for a fee, and reservations are required.