Enjoy magnificent scenery and glasses filled with prestigious red and white wines as you cruise through the Rhone Valley.

The Rhone River makes its first appearance in the Swiss Alps and then runs through the heart of France to join the Mediterranean Sea. Besides providing captivating views of mediveal towns and colorful landscapes, it connects the dots between thousands of vineyards from Lyon to Avignon. Our Provence & Spain itinerary takes you through this prized wine-producing reguin in southeastern France, known across the globe as the Rhone Valley.

The valley traces the path of the river for almost 150 miles, hypnotizing travelers with grape-covered vines gripping to its steep sides. Since it’s so large, the climates vary greatly from north to south – as does the soil and wine quality. Thus, the Rhone is divided at the town of Valence into two worlds of wine: the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone.

What the Northern Rhone lacks in terms of size it makes up for with prestige. Its continental climate and granite soils fuel the exceptional quality achieved by the noble vines in the region. Syrah grapes, like those used in the famous Hermitage wines, are so impressive that it’s the only red grape variety allowed to be grown here. Some appellations allows a limited percentage of Voignier, Marsanne and Roussanne white grapes to be used for notable blends and deliciously rare whites.

A warmer climate is enjoyed in the Southern Rhone, with hot summers and mild winters. The larger sub-region is responsible for nearly 95% of the entire region’s wine, including a wide range of everyday whites, rosés and Grenache-based red blends from the Côtes du Rhone appellation. And even though the south develops many common wines, they also create a variety of powerful, high-quality reds and whites in areas like Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Source: AMA Waterways