“Perhaps my fondest memory of Napa Valley,” says Peter Tobler, “is a hot-air balloon ride I took before meeting with some distinguished winemakers. Floating above the rolling vines at sunrise, I found the landscape as intoxicating as the wines.”
Our Storyteller: Peter Tobler
Director of Marine Hotel Operations
Peter Tobler can easily extol the qualities of a fine Bordeaux blend or Petite Sirah, yet he’s much too humble to tout his own many accomplishments. Like the fact that he’s one of the most highly regarded professionals in the cruising world, having overseen food and beverage operations for such major lines as Norwegian, Seabourn, Princess, and Cunard. Or that he’s a graduate of the esteemed Culinary Academy in Zurich and has won numerous awards, including the Best Cruises for Food Lovers distinction from Food & Wine magazine. Peter took the helm of hotel operations for the Windstar fleet in 2017, and suffice to say that we’re pleased as a wine-based punch to have him onboard.
“Perhaps my fondest memory of Napa Valley,” says Peter Tobler, “is a hot-air balloon ride I took before meeting with some distinguished winemakers. Floating above the rolling vines at sunrise, I found the landscape as intoxicating as the wines.” The self-professed fanatic rattles off a dozen or so favorite labels from celebrated vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, including Caymus Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Isabel Mondavi Rosé, and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll have a chance to sample them all on this epicurean adventure, be it ashore or ordering off Windstar’s onboard wine menu that features other regional gems such as Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley (which Peter lovingly terms “temperamental”) and Pepper Bridge Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Peter also raves about the “fresh, peppery, and herbal notes” of California’s olive oils, which he ranks alongside the Mediterranean’s finest. And don’t even get him started on the West Coast’s dynamic food scene, a reflection of the region’s “diversifying culture and integration of global flavors.” There’s Frisco’s famous cioppino in Fisherman’s Wharf, fresh-caught salmon and crab from the Puget Sound, Portland’s doughnut obsession (“Blue Star and Voodoo have a long-standing battle for best maple bacon”), wild-caught Pacific sardines at Monterey’s storied Cannery Row … he could go on (and on), but thinks it’s best that you taste them all yourself on this brag-worthy voyage.