Rivers of Wine

Inclusive Columbia River wine cruise with visits to Oregon & Washington wineries


Rates & Dates
  • Itinerary
  • Rates and Dates
  • Ports and Places
  • Land Packages
  • Vessels



Pull out the corks! Five AVAs, bunches of wineries, champagne, wine, and an onboard sommelier. Plus, hand-crafted meals, exclusive tours, spectacular vistas, and a week of river cruising—an oenophile’s dream.


  • Sommelier and guest wine expert join you on board for the week
  • Winery tours and tastings in five Washington and Oregon AVAs: Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley, Willamette Valley
  • Lunch at Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard
  • Maryhill Museum and Winery tour and tasting
  • Explore Palouse Falls canyon and Multnomah Falls
  • Discover Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Convenience of sailing roundtrip Portland, Oregon

Departure Dates & Rates

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Your day-by-day details

Roundtrip Portland, Oregon



Portland, Oregon – Embarkation
Welcome to Portland! Arriving at the airport, UnCruise representatives are there to greet you for your transfer to our hospitality area in downtown Portland. If time allows, explore the city before setting sail on your “rivers of wine” cruise. Champagne and hors d’oeuvres await you on board before sitting down for a sumptuous dinner.


Hood River / Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Start your day with a stop at the towering Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in Oregon. Then, make your way to two fabulous wineries in the Columbia Gorge AVA for a date with the winemakers. Enjoy a tasting at Hood River’s Hood Crest Winery—kicking back in the relaxed outdoor seating and maybe trying one of their wood-fired pizzas. At Mt. Hood Winery, the expertise of eight generations of winemakers is yours to savor—tour and taste at this century-old farm under the watchful gaze of the winery’s volcanic namesake. Back on board, cruise upriver through the Columbia River Gorge’s diverse collection of ecosystems. At 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep, this river canyon cuts the only sea level route through the Cascade Mountains.


Walla Walla, Washington
Named one of the top ten wine regions in the world, this world-class wine country was shaped by its distinctive micro-climates, rich volcanic soil, and abundant river irrigation. Swirl a glass and take in the panoramic views at Waterbrook Winery. And while the passion may be in the bottle, original artwork and a smooth pour are both highlights at Dunham Cellars. If you’re motivated (and you will be), there’s free time to stroll the boutique shops and tasting rooms lining the streets of historic Walla Walla. Then, relax back aboard the S.S. Legacy, as you sail into the Snake River Canyon.


Palouse Falls State Park
According to the Palouse tribal legend, four giant brothers pursued a mythic creature called "Big Beaver." Fighting gallantly, each time Big Beaver was speared, the canyon walls were gouged until he tore out a huge canyon, the river tumbled over a cliff, and the falls were born. Arriving at the falls, by way of bus along the Palouse River, notice the jagged canyon walls and the deep marks of Big Beaver's claws. This afternoon, there’ll be an onboard tasting and presentation by your wine host.


Red Mountain
A visit to the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center provides palette pleasing access to Washington wine experts—learn about the diversity of the state’s wine and food products, perfect food pairings, and sample wines from a featured AVA. Then it’s off to discover the pride of the Red Mountain appellation—the smallest wine-grape growing region of Washington by acreage and known for its critically acclaimed reds. Savor a tour, tasting, and lunch at the exquisite Terra Blanca Estate Winery & Vineyard. Explore Terra Blanca’s rolling vineyards, wine caves, and beautifully manicured estate grounds. Nose and bouquet, balance and finish, legs and body—your wine host and sommelier guide you through an onboard tasting event before dinner.


The Dalles, Oregon
Wine and art have long been a feted blend, and that’s precisely what’s in store today. Atop a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, tour the Maryhill Museum—a castle-like chateau with an eclectic collection of European paintings, Rodin sculptures, Native artifacts, and the Queen of Romania’s personal effects. Along the adjacent slopes at the Maryhill Winery, taste award-winning wines and take in the expansive views of Columbia River Gorge cliffs stretching 1,000 feet below. After lunch aboard the S.S. Legacy, the afternoon in The Dalles is yours as you please—stroll downtown or along the Riverfront Trail or perhaps peel a grape and simply relax on deck.


Willamette Valley
Oregon’s largest AVA, the Willamette Valley is an oenophile’s mecca with over 250 wineries and six recognized sub-appellations. And like a plump grape, bursting with opportunities to please your palate! Tour and taste at hand-picked wineries—taking in Parrett Mountain’s southern views while sipping Archer Vineyards’ old-vine varietals, and views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams while trying Raptor Ridge Winery’s estate pinot noir or grüner. A full day with the winemakers gains you an insider’s view of this world-renowned region. Tonight, we pull out all the corks for a wine extravaganza and city lights cruise along the Willamette River—raising one last glass to toast friendship and wine at the captain’s dinner.


Portland, Oregon – Disembark
Sated, your week of wineries and river cruising has come to an end. Enjoy breakfast with friends and say farewell to the crew before disembarking for your included transfer to the Portland airport.

Passport required (non USA citizens). Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary and the order of days may occur to maximize your experience.

Guest Wine Experts for this Itinerary


Tastings, tours, pairings, and presentations: special guest host wine experts guide you on a discovery of the history of a premier wine region’s craft, its unique terroir, and local varietals.

October 20 with Sarah Wolcott
October 27 with Jade Helm
November 3 with Don Corson
November 10 with Mattie Bamman

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Rates and Dates

Fares are per person double occupancy, in USD. Single fares are "from prices" reflecting the lowest fare available in select cabins. Triple accommodations are available in the Admiral cabins 101 & 102; triple and quadruple accommodations available in the Owner's Suite. Inquire for pricing details. Charter up to 86 guests.

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Departure Dates

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There are no future departures for this cruise;

See ALL 2018-19 Columbia & Snake Rivers Rates & Dates (.pdf)

Ports & Places

The places you visit play a starring role throughout every journey. While this list isn’t exhaustive of every nook-and-cranny you’ll explore along the way, we’ve included descriptions of key ports and places to help you get to know the wilderness areas, landmark locations, notable regions, and coastal towns relevant to this itinerary.

Departure Dates

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There are no future departures for this cruise;

Columbia River

While the Columbia River and its tributaries had already been an epicenter of culture and trade for thousands of years, many European and American explorers sought the mouth of this great river of the West for years without success. James Cook, John Meares, and George Vancouver all searched for and missed it. In 1792, a U.S. fur trader and merchant sea captain, Robert Gray, became the first non-native man to sail a vessel into the river. He named it for his ship—the Columbia Rediviva. Ongoing exploration was accelerated as a result of Gray’s discovery, aided by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

Lewis & Clark, Wilson Price Hunt and the Astorians, the Hudson’s Bay Company, missionaries like the Whitmans and the Spaldings, Benjamin Bonneville, and Peter Skeen Odgen all helped discover and open up the Pacific Northwest by way of the mighty Columbia. What first started out as a small smattering of explorers and traders would eventually become a flood, as thousands of Oregon Trail settlers came west seeking a new start.


Washington Wine Country

In 1825, the first wine grapes were planted in Washington State near Fort Vancouver. Since 1983, Washington has become the largest wine producing state in the U.S. second only to California. With over 550 wineries producing more than twenty varietals, it is no wonder the region has gained international attention. 

This $2.4 billion enterprise is divided into two distinct regions; Eastern and Western. Washington Wine Country has nine officially recognized appellations, only one of which is located west of the Cascade Mountain Range, and it produces about one percent of the state’s wines. Washington Wines are sold in all 50 states as well as in 40 different countries. 

In 2002, 2003 and 2005, Washington state wineries received a perfect 100-point score; an acclaim that only a few wines in the world have ever won.


Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon straddles the Willamette River in northwestern Oregon, near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Once a campground and traditional hunting and fishing site of Native Chinook, Portland was first inhabited by settlers in 1829 and incorporated in 1851. It was an early terminus for Oregon Trail pioneers and the flow of gold rush immigrants. Today it has become an important west coast port and Oregon’s largest city with a population of approximately 584,000. Portland is the second largest exporter of grain in North America (Vancouver, B.C. is first), shipping one-third of all U.S. wheat. Other exports include lumber and aluminum, and Portland is one of the largest auto ports on the west coast due to being one and one-half days closer to Japan than San Francisco.

A city of many nicknames—today Portland is best known as the “City of Roses” (a nod to its popular Rose Festival held every June) and “City of Bridges” for its 14 unique auto bridges (some built by world-famous engineers and 8 listed on the National Historic Register.) Then there’s “Stumptown” (from the days when early builders left tree stumps in the middle of the city) and “Puddletown” (referring to an 1852 Oregonian editorial stating it was not appropriate for women to raise their skirts to avoid all the puddles and they should stay home when it rained!) Those days have certainly changed.

This clean and friendly riverside city is often awarded the “Greenest City in America” and ranks among the world’s top 10 greenest cities. Home to an array of artists and arts organizations, in 2006 it was named as the 10th best Big City Arts Destination in the U.S. There is much to enjoy with its wonderful blend of historic and eclectic sites. The Portland Saturday Market provides a bazaar-like environment reflecting the many cultures of the area and the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is popular for scenic riverside strolls or jogs. The city offers myriad attractions from visiting museums to perusing Powell’s Bookstore—at one city block long and three stories high, it’s the largest independent bookstore in the U.S. and requires a map to guide you through.


Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Just a short distance from Portland, Oregon’s Multnomah Falls drops a souring 620 feet down in three thunderous steps; one drop is 9 feet, one 542 feet and one 69 feet. Officially regarded as the tallest falls in Oregon, a number of sources also claim that Multnomah Falls is also the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Beginning in the Larch Mountains from a spring, Multnomah Creek travels toward the falls collecting snowmelt and rainwater along the way. During unusually cold weather the waterfalls have been known to freeze, turning the plummeting water into a majestic icicle, and creating a playground for daring ice climbers. 

Hood River, Oregon

Located on the Columbia River, the port city of Hood River lies approximately 60 miles east of Portland and 21 miles west of The Dalles. Incorporated in 1895, the city was named for nearby Hood River. Discovered by Lewis & Clark in 1805, the river was originally called Labeasche River, a French-Canadian word meaning “elk”. Traditionally known for growing delicious apples, pears, cherries, peaches and other fruits, the area’s economy has more recently been focused on high-tech industries including aerospace engineering.

Situated on the river and below towering peaks in the Cascade Range, Hood River is also known as a world-class windsurfing destination and the kiteboarding capital of the world. The winds from the Columbia River Gorge create the ideal conditions for riding the waves. An outdoor enthusiast’s mecca, it offers some of the best kayaking, mountain biking, skiing, and hiking in the U.S.


Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The dramatic walls of the Columbia River Gorge expose the tremendous geologic history of the region as they rise up to over 4,000 feet where they meet Larch Mountain. The region’s fiery origins, owing to the volcanic Cascade Mountains, left layer after layer of molten lava—also known as flood basalts—creating the land mass that is now Washington and Oregon. These layers can be seen along the steep walls of the gorge. 

Later, floods of water further eroded and carved the land into its rugged, present-day beauty. At the end of the last Ice Age about 15,000 years ago, ice dams repeatedly broke allowing enormous floodwaters originating near Missoula, Montana, to scour a path down the Columbia River corridor. Rushing water reached as much as 1,000 feet high and traveled at speeds close to 100 miles per hour. Ripping and tearing at the sides of the river valley and removing huge quantities of rock, gravel, and debris, the floodwaters deposited this material in the Walla Walla and Willamette Valleys as they slowed in speed. This deposited material, called Loess, is the reason these two areas are so agriculturally rich.

People have called this region home for over 13,000 years, drawn to the fertile land and water that provided abundant resources; cedar and fir, salmon and steelhead, beaver, and big game. The only sea-level passage through the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia was the route for intrepid pioneers and explorers who ventured westward and, today, is vital for the transport of goods and generation of power


Walla Walla, Washington

Sunny and fertile, this area is often called Washington’s breadbasket. Soils deposited by ice-age floods, combined with irrigation from the Columbia, Snake, and Walla Walla Rivers, contribute to the area's high production of wheat, alfalfa, corn, asparagus, potatoes, the famous Walla Walla sweet onion, and wine grapes. 

Historically, the Walla Walla and Cayuse people occupied northern Oregon and southeastern Washington territory for centuries before the first non-native arrival and the Oregon Trail migration. Living in transportable longhouses, they were nomadic hunter/gatherers who moved among the rivers and high plateaus thriving off the fertile, abundant land. First encountering the Lewis & Clark expedition in 1805, Chief Yellepit famously welcomed the party with open arms, trading gifts and goods and inviting them to stay. 

Following traders, the first white settlers were missionaries sent to bring Christianity to the Cayuse and Walla Walla natives indigenous to the valley. Well known among the missionaries were Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who established a mission at Waiilatpu amongst the Cayuse living in the area. An early stopping place for pioneers, the mission became a point of contention for the Cayuse. Travelers brought diseases with them that devastated the populations of local natives. The resulting deaths were thought to be the fault of the Whitmans and led to the massacre of the two missionaries and 11 other settlers. This resulted in the Cayuse wars, which concluded with treaty negotiations including the establishment of the reservation system and the natives losing their land.

This opened the area for homesteading, and Fort Walla Walla was established in its present day location in 1856. The agricultural richness of this beautiful valley established this area of great importance. At one point Walla Walla was the largest community in Washington territory and was set to be the state capitol.


Snake River

For Lewis & Clark, the Snake River was an area of almost continual rapids and waterfalls. The largest tributary of the Columbia, the Snake begins its long course in Wyoming. During the time of exploration by non-Natives, the river was given many names. The river’s final, lasting name was given somewhat in error; the hand gestures made by the Shoshone when asked the river’s name actually described the action of fish swimming upstream, not the motion of slithering reptiles.

The Snake winds through ranch land, some of the largest family-owned apple orchards, and untouched open spaces including several areas that were set aside as wildlife refuges by the Corps of Engineers. Many small scenic parks dot the shoreline and certain stretches of the river offer excellent wildlife viewing, including sightings of the rare white pelican near Ice Harbor Dam, and osprey, golden eagles, and numerous species of hawk along the cliffs, bluffs, and shorelines. Though today, numerous dams and locks produce hydroelectric energy and ensure faster, safer travel for vessels of all types, the 10-mile section along Hells Canyon is designated a “Wild and Scenic” river.


Red Mountain AVA

Nestled in a wide horseshoe bend of the Yakima River—a tributary of the Columbia—between Benton City and West Richland, Red Mountain AVA is Washington State’s smallest viticulture area. Officially part of Yakima Valley AVA and the larger Columbia Valley AVA, Red Mountain includes just over 4,000 acres of land that gently slopes south, providing great exposure to nourishing sunshine. Like many of the AVA’s in the region, Red Mountain benefits from ice-age flooding that deposited rich nutrients in the soil. The combination of soil, sun, minimal rainfall, and warm gusty winds provide ideal conditions for growing small grape clusters with heavily concentrated flavors. The first vines were planted in 1975, and the region earned AVA status in 2001. Today, the area’s predominant varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and approximately 35 vineyards are currently in operation.


Richland, Washington

At the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia Rivers, Richland today has a population of nearly 50,000. Once an important site for the Wanapum, Yakakam and Walla Walla who harvested fish during salmon runs, the land was purchased by W.R. and Howard Amon in 1905 as a proposed town site.

During the war years in the 1940s, the town was purchased by the US Army as a bedroom community for workers on the Manhattan Project at the Hanford Nuclear Site. In just two years the population soared from 300 to 25,000. The last production reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Site was shut down at Hanford in the late 1980s and the city has transitioned to environmental cleanup and technology.


Columbia Valley AVA

Covering over one-third of the state’s entire land area, Washington’s largest wine area was granted AVA status in 1984, and today includes eight sub-AVAs: Red Mountain, Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, Ancient Lakes, Rattlesnake Hills, the Rocks, and Wahluke Slope. Of Columbia Valley AVA’s 11 million acres, over 40 thousand are planted in vineyards. The AVA includes most of south-central Washington plus a slice of north-eastern Oregon and encompasses the Columbia River drainage and its tributaries. The region benefits from being in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range that borders to the west. Bordering to the east are the rolling Palouse and the Idaho State line. The AVA sits between the 46th and 47th parallels, which puts it at similar latitudes to Burgundy and Bordeaux, France.

Ten-thousand years ago, the Missoula Floods left mineral-rich topsoil across the region. Paired with a nearly 200-day growing season, the region has proved very fertile for cultivating wine grapes. Within such a large area, there are many micro-climates that allow specialization of different varietals—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah are among those grown.


The Dalles

The area now known as The Dalles was a prominent trading post for Native people for over 10,000 years and today is one of the most important archeological regions in the country. Known as the end of the Oregon Trail, pioneers loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges at The Dalles and floated down the Columbia River to the mouth of the Willamette River, then upriver to Oregon City. It was also the site of Fort Dalles, which was established in 1850 to protect immigrants after the Whitman Mission massacre. At that time, Fort Dalles was the only military post between the Pacific Ocean and Wyoming.

Today, The Dalles is home to around 15,000 residents and is a predominant Bing cherry growing region. Oregon’s oldest bookstore, Klindt’s, established in 1870, still operates in The Dalles with its original wood floors and oak and plate glass display cases. The Dalles has a reputation for being the best place to learn to windsurf and is an excellent fishing location for walleye and sturgeon. It is also the place of origin for a pedigree of cat known as LaPerm, developed in the 1980s from a unique colony of curly-coated farm cats.


Maryhill Museum

In the middle of nowhere, deep in the Columbia Gorge, is Sam Hill Country. Sam, a lawyer living in Portland, fell in love with the Columbia Gorge, saying “we have found the Garden of Eden where the sun from the east meets the rain of the west.” Known as a millionaire, friend of royalty, apostle of peace, road builder, eccentric, and dreamer, in 1908 he purchased 7,000 acres and planned to establish a utopian agricultural community here. He built a castle-like mansion for his wife using no wood—only reinforced concrete. Unfortunately, Sam could not convince his wife to move to the middle of nowhere, and the building remained incomplete until after his death in 1940.

Today, this mansion is (according to Time Magazine) ‘The loneliest art museum in the world.’ Due to Sam Hill's friendship with European royalty, it contains Romanian and American art donated by his friend Queen Maria of Romania. Exquisite and unique with gorgeous views of Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, it also houses over 80 original sculptures and drawings by Auguste Rodin, an inspiring collection of chess sets from all over the world, stage sets and mannequins from the 1946 Théâtre de la Mode, and one of the best collections of North American native artifacts seen outside the Smithsonian. Sam also financed the construction of a replica of Stonehenge on the grounds as a war memorial dedicated to the men of the area who died during WWI.


Willamette Valley AVA

The unique geology of the Willamette Valley region, with the Cascade Mountains to the east and Coast Mountains to the west, creates cool weather growing conditions ideal for the Pinot noir grape; the varietal has earned the region world-wide acclaim. Encompassing over 3.5 million acres in the Willamette River drainage, Oregon’s largest AVA stretches over 100 miles from the Columbia River south to Eugene. Six smaller AVAs are included in the region: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge, and Yamhill-Carlton AVAs.

Dundee Hills has the esteem of being the location where the first grapes were established; Pinot noir was planted there in 1965. Today, 88% of the production in the AVA is Pinot noir; there are nearly 700 vineyards and over 500 wineries. In addition to the region’s highly-acclaimed wines, Willamette Valley is proudly part of Oregon’s sustainable farming initiative—over 50% of the state’s vineyards are certified sustainable.

Extend Your Experience



2018 RATES: From $170

Resplendently modern, the Hotel Rose is a perfect example of Portland’s chic, cheeky, and fun style. Across from Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Willamette riverfront, the Rose is centrally located for discovering the city’s charm and attractions.


RATES through November 30, 2015:

Double Single
Metropolitan view (king or two full beds) $159 $289
River view (king, queen, or two full beds) $169 $299

Prices are per person and in USD.

Deposit Payment: A minimum of 50% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.

Final Payment: Due 60 days prior to stay / beginning of extension.

Cancellation Policy: After final payment, cancellations for any reason are subject to a penalty. Penalties vary depending on package. Cancellations at 30 days or less are nonrefundable.

Vessels for this Itinerary