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Chateau Ste. Michelle Partnership Brings First Wine BLENDing Venue to Sea!

At an event in Seattle, Holland America Line and Chateau Ste. Michelle announced an exciting new partnership. Wine connoisseurs and novices alike will be able to experience the art of winemaking at BLEND aboard 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 also will learn about wine from the ship’s wine expert, who leads the blending session.

“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,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “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 flavors and style of the wine. The Cellar Master also will instruct guests on what characteristics, flavors and nuances to look for in the wine from each barrel.


Guests then sample the five unique 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 guests determining how much of each wine to include in their personal bottle.


After the personalized wine blend is put into the bottle with a stopper, guests will be able to create their own label to add a personalized 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.

At the event, which was held at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, attendees — including media, travel partners, company President Orlando Ashford and Culinary Council members Rudi Sodamin, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres — got to blend their own wines. Everyone was able to get a feel for what the BLEND experience will be like onboard.


Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford makes his own blend at the event as Master Chef Rudi Sodamin looks on.

Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford makes his own blend at the event as Master Chef Rudi Sodamin looks on.

Gerald Mosslinger; Chef Torres; Chef Best; Ashford; Chef Falkner; Chef Burke; Michael Smith; and Chef Sodamin.

Vice President of Guest Food & Beverage Services Gerald Mosslinger; Torres; Best; Ashford; Falkner; Burke; Senior Vice President of Guest Experience Product Development Michael Smith and Sodamin.

Blend Collage

Are you excited to BLEND your own wine on Koningsdam?

  • Robert Faust

    I think this will be an interesting experience and a fun event.

  • Lair Potts

    Now THAT is innovative! Can’t wait to experience it first hand. Kudos HAL!

  • John Hogan

    Can’t wait to be there in April! Good job HAL!

  • Stefan

    Wow! What a great idea!
    We love Chateau Ste. Michelle wines and can’t wait to embark in Amsterdam July 2016…

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