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Picture it: Crystal Mozart’s open-air Vista Deck, you, reclined on a chaise lounge, taking in the breathtaking views of the riverside towns along the Danube and UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley, chilled glass of crisp Grüner Veltliner or German Riesling in your hand. It’s June in Bavaria, and this dreamy scene is just the beginning. This summer, there will be even more to savor as you explore the winelands, tannins and tasting notes of the vintages here with the expert guidance of acclaimed author Karen MacNeil. Her book, “The Wine Bible,” is considered the most authoritative book on wine written by an American author, and her expertise has brought her to NBC’s Today and the pages of The New York Times, U.S.A. Today, Town & Country and now, to Crystal River Cruises.

During the week-long, June 29 voyage, Karen will lead two comprehensive wine education seminars and tasting sessions – emphasis on the education. Wine lovers with seasoned palates will relate to Karen’s passion for not just the wines themselves, but the delightful art of enjoying them. Novices will appreciate her creative and approachable presentation style that draws audiences in and ignites their desire to learn more.

Her sessions aboard Crystal Mozart are truly a master class of sorts for participants – an opportunity to learn the fine nuances of wine from the founder of the creator and Chairman of Napa Valley’s Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America (considered the Harvard of wine education). This particular master class offers the added bonus of taking place in the heart of the Wachau Valley, one of the finest wine regions and most beautiful landscapes in the world, perfect for extracurricular studies.

About those extracurriculars… Take your learnings from Karen’s seminars straight into practice as you explore for yourself.

Taste the distinct notes of Hungarian wine at Prímás Pince cellar, located beneath Castle Hill and the magnificent Esztergom Basilica. Five Hungarian wines – chardonnay from Neszmély, a furmint from Balatonudvari, a kadarka and cabernet franc from Szekszárd, and a Tokaj élvezet – will all be paired with traditional dishes.

Take a guided tour and tasting at one of Austria’s oldest wine estates, Schloss Gobelsburg, which dates to pre-Celtic times and excels at creating original wines designed to be aged and develop distinctive character, rather than producing uniform wines meant to appeal to every palate. (Offered from Krems)

Learn the winemaking practices of a 900-year-old monastery, Klosterneuberg, which bears the distinction as Austria’s oldest and largest wine estate. Travel through time as you explore the traditions that date back to Leopold III and Charles VI, then see the impressive complex of modern winery technology as you sip various wines from the abbey’s vineyards.

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