By Dana Niland
Windstar Cruises has hired a team of sommeliers to serve guests on sailings around the world, including in the Caribbean.
The new wine experts provide an enhancement for guests as the summer cruise season begins, building on the ongoing, fleet-wide upgrades to the small ship line’s wine, beverage and culinary programs.
“Our new sommeliers will offer their all-encompassing knowledge of wine to guests, as well as to our dining room and bar servers by holding frequent tastings and educational classes,” explains Windstar Cruises Director of Hotel Operations Peter Tobler. “Travel is an excellent way to expand your wine repertoire. Our sommeliers will share their wine expertise, tasting tips, and make recommendations for varietals from nearby the ports of call.”
“Most importantly, they will help guests select the best wine to pair with our gourmet food selections,” he continued. “When on holiday, this is the best way to complete each day.”
The sommeliers were chosen for their training, knowledge and experience worldwide having worked in a broad spectrum of wineries, restaurants travel and hospitality providers such as Celebrity, Disney and Seabourn cruise lines, Hermitage and Radisson hotels, and Le Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux, among others.
Justin McAuliffe was the first to offer sommelier services to guests sailing in Asia, and he will be joined by Antony Graz Pradeep, Vitor Da Encarnacao Custodio, Marko Pejic and Slaven Cosic, who will rotate among four ships.
Windstar sommeliers lead wine tastings on board each cruise– generally one to three are offered depending on the length of the voyage–for a nominal fee.
In addition, the sommeliers may accompany guests on culinary-themed shore excursions to local wineries and restaurants.
Windstar also recently announced a multi-year partnership as the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation.
This year’s culinary-themed cruises will feature not only James Beard-recognized chefs, but also top sommeliers from across the U.S., including Belinda Chang and Shelley Lindgren, Jon McDaniel and Katie Bell.
The sommeliers will partner with onboard chefs to create food and wine pairings reflecting the culture of their travels.
As the line enhances its wine offerings, it has also expanded those for beer and spirits, and is now offering lower daily prices for any beverage package to guests sailing 14-day and longer, back-to-back Star Collector Voyages.
The line launched a new beverage package program in the fall, allowing for a variety of tiered levels of premium products.