We wake up where we began in Portland then hop on buses to Oregon’s heavily vined Willamette Valley, known for its excellent pinot noirs.
Our first stop is at 28-year-old Archer Vineyard, the creation of original owner Don Archer, current owner African-born architect Saj Jivanjee and winemaker Jim Sander, who specialize in pinots noir and gris.
Enthusiasm for quality and conviviality are their hallmarks with pinot noirs worth laying down for future greatness and weekly Friday sunset watching parties overlooking the vineyard. I picked up a bottle of 2015 Estate Pinot Noir, good now but better if I can resist uncorking it.
We lunch at the elegant and impressive Domaine Serene, a major production center in the Dundee Hills AVA. With almost as many awards as labels produced, the large new tasting club is a tribute to their success. Having tasted the 2014 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, I anxiously look forward to the release of their first crop of sparkling wine.
I don’t mind heading back to the ship for at 3:30 I have my massage from Jenna’s magic fingers. This is an UnCruise tradition. Every passenger on every cruise receives a half-hour complementary massage. My kind of tradition.
Chris has a treat for our final wine tasting, Chateauneuf du Papp.
The captain’s dinner is jolly with much toasting all around as we sail along the Willamette River passing lovely homes along the cliffs and many boaters enjoying the balmy weather.
Crew has put together a video of photographs of our cruise that we watch in the Lounge before reluctantly going to our cabins to pack.
Tomorrow we breakfast at 7:30 then are taken to airport, hotel or car. Returning to reality after Rivers of Wine isn’t going to be easy.