What do world-class wine sommeliers — who have been certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, overseen by Master Sommelier Robert Bath — do when they come together in Napa Valley? They immerse themselves in the flavors of some of the world’s greatest vintages so they can help expand the palates of some of the world’s savviest luxury travelers, of course.
During two days of crisscrossing California’s Napa Valley, a team of Crystal Cruises’ sommeliers and other culinary experts visited seven wineries, tasted dozens of wines, and traveled to France, Italy and Germany — figuratively speaking. It was late 2014, a special time set aside for the annual Wine Summit, a formal and fun opportunity to evaluate Crystal Cruises’ wine program for the coming year.
What came of the comprehensive tasting experience is a bounty of information and inspiration, a new appreciation for old favorites, a discovery of new trends, the delights of some out-of-the-ballpark winners, and a showcasing of grapes and styles from Europe that have taken fruitful root in the vineyards.
Toni Neumeister, Crystal’s vice president, food and beverage operations and hotel procurement — one of nine participants — says, “This is a highly immersive experience that brings together a group of professionals at the top of their field to focus on one mission: quality.”
In the course of this yearly tasting event, which typically takes place in one of California’s premier winemaking regions, our Crystal experts met with some of Napa’s and the world’s most revered figures in winemaking. They were also treated to the behind-the-scenes stories — about the Chicago publisher-turned-vintner who bought 205 acres of land that became Shafer Vineyards, one of the most acclaimed vineyards in Napa; and the family-owned winery that would be the first to use 100 percent American oak to produce the truly American-style, cult-status wines of Silver Oak Cellars. Other highlights included boutique wineries, exploring the terrain of new trends, and exploring the marriage of Old World techniques with New World grapes.
A Toast to Crystal Quality
The two-day Wine Summit went quickly for our dedicated Crystal team, nine members in all who had the pleasure and responsibility of selecting and enhancing the wine choices you enjoy on board. Whether at an intimate table for two in the Crystal Dining Room or around the table in Crystal’s elegant Vintage Room, the sommeliers on board can guide you through the world of fine wines paired perfectly with the ships’ acclaimed cuisine.
Cheers to a job well done — the fruits of which you will experience on your next Crystal cruise.