Join Thane and Debra on a wine cruise down the beautiful Seine River, from Paris into Normandy. This is a delightful experience for lovers of fine wine, French cuisine and art history.
In 2002 Thane Hawkins reached a crossroads in his life. He had forged a very successful career in the animation industry, working for Dreamworks and Pixar on groundbreaking animated films, including Shrek, ANTZ and Monster’s Inc.
He took a leave of absence and moved to Oregon. There he fell in love with the slower lifestyle. In the Willamette Valley he discovered Pinot Noir. “I could taste the earth, the dirt, and the must in the wines, and of course the fruit!”
After working a harvest he enrolled in the Chemeketa College winemaking and viticulture program, and then was hired as assistant winemaker at Methven Family Vineyards. Thane crafted his first small lot of Pinot Noir and in 2007 Hawkins Cellars was born.
Today Thane sources grapes from Yakima Valley and Columbia Gorge vineyards. “Of the places I find most intriguing for adventure and quality grapes, the Columbia Gorge has the greatest pull.”
Deb Michelson is a Portland native, with longtime roots in the Pacific Northwest. While at Cornell Law School she took the Windows of the World wine class through the university’s famed hotel school. That class sparked Debra’s interest in both the wine and the hospitality industries.
A decade ago their two paths converged, and they bonded over love of wine and the Gorge. In 2013 they planted a Pinot Noir vineyard on Deb’s Underwood Mountain property in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, a region with a climate similar to Alsace. A winery and tasting room now operate, delivering the wines of Hawkins Cellars to an eager following.
Please note: This Paris & Normandy Cruise 2020 (hosted by Hawkins Cellars) wine tasting tour is created by our tour operator, Expanding Horizons of Tustin, CA in conjunction with AmaWaterways. This is the most popular river cruise itinerary in Europe and will sell out. The pre and/or post-cruise tour program may contain private meals, tours and/or visits to attractions. These additional services are exclusive to guests on this cruise who book their reservations with Expanding Horizons. Persons booking with alternative travel agencies will not be included in these activities.