Northern Michigan vineyard to host river cruise with wine tasting in France


TRAVERSE CITY, MI – When looking for new ways to deliver fun experiences to their wine club members, the staff at Charley left foot has come up with a bold plan that will invite fans to dust off their passports: a river cruise in Bordeaux, France. It will incorporate world-class wine tasting with a bit of Old World culture and plenty of itinerary options.

The maiden voyage of the Traverse City vineyard will depart in May 2022 aboard the AmaDolce, a river cruise ship that is part of the European fleet of AmaWaterways. The trip is open not only to growing members of the LFC Wine Club, but also to all wine and travel enthusiasts who wish to go. It will be managed by LFC co-owners Bryan and Jen Ulbrich.

Tour description: “Iconic castles, timeless vineyards and delicious wine tastings abound when we visit Libourne, Blaye, Bourg, Pauillac and Cadillac for a 7 day trip through this historic wine region. Wine tastings in private group, guided tours, hikes through vineyards and cycling along the Dordogne will fill your days while exploring the villages in the evening. ”

A special Bordeaux and Barrels event on October 14 at LFC will review trip details. For more information on the Taste of Bordeaux trip, cost and itinerary, you can check the website here.

Cycling around Bordeaux is just one of the adventure options on the river cruise itinerary. Photo provided by AmaWaterways.

Kristy McClellan, Left Foot Charley’s sales manager, said the idea for the tour surfaced as the team spoke about the new and unique experiences they could offer members of the wine club. “Bryan and I have talked about taking trips for our own education, and we have great respect for the wines that are made in Bordeaux,” she said.

Some CFL producers may also be on the trip. The urban winery, which produces about 5,000 cases a year, works closely with about 20 farmers in the Traverse City area who grow the grapes that become LFC’s boutique-style wines. While the winery offers a full range of varieties and a handful of ciders, its Blaufrankisch, Pinot and Kerner – a light German-style wine that few people make here – have been among the bestsellers.

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Kim Schmitz, a river cruise specialist, serves as the trip coordinator for the LFC trip. She is excited about the options available to cruise passengers. While some people will really focus on wine tasting and the history of the vineyard, others will be able to go on a bike tour and enjoy the different towns where the cruise will stop for the day.

Left Foot Charley

Saint-Emilion, home to famous vineyards, catacombs and caves, is one of the stopovers for the LFC river cruise in the spring of 2022. Photo provided by AmaWaterways.

“These are all small villages that we are going to visit,” Schmitz said. “You can go alone and try your luck with your French. Guests can plan their choices in advance or wait until each day begins to see what their group wants to do.

The cruise can accommodate around 140 people. While you don’t need to be a member of the LFC Wine Club to register, there will be special events on board reserved for club members. Cellar staff who go on the trip also plan to purchase local wines during the cruise and have tastings on board.

Below, watch a video of the trip:

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