Wine Cruises Fit for Palisadians
If you have ever dreamed of floating down a beautiful European river while stopping at new wineries every day, then former Palisadian Kieron Keady may be the connection that you need, because he has masterminded more than 70 such trips over the last five years.
His company, Expanding Horizons, brings wine lovers and deluxe riverboats together so that “your five-star hotel moves with you,” he recently told the Palisadian-Post over a glass of rosé.
Even better: Palisadians can sign up at a discount.
One recent cruise in August took a week to ply the rivers of the Bordeaux region of France, staging at least one tasting each day between vineyard visits. Among the stops were the important Bordeaux regions of Pauillac, Sauternes and St. Emilion.
Leading the tastings was Peter Mondavi of the Charles Krug Winery in Napa; travelers alternated tastings ashore at French chateaux and on-board tastings of Krug offerings. The guest list began with members of the Charles Krug mailing list, but it did not stop there, because the cruises are open to all.
One such customer was Palisadian Kit Festa, who was attracted to the destination. A frequent river cruiser, she pronounced the recent Bordeaux trip “really splendiferous” in an interview with the Post.
Many wineries in California and Oregon participate in these cruises, including Napa’s Screaming Eagle, Hitching Post in Santa Barbara County and Brooks winery in Oregon.
The Bordeaux cruise is only one of the company’s 12 rotating itineraries. Other cruises regularly visit the Seine, Rhone, Danube, Rhine, Mosel and Douro rivers, also stopping occasionally at attractions such as castles and museums along with vineyards. Most cruises accommodate between 100 and 150 guests.
The Expanding Horizons wine trips sail on cruisers contracted through AmaWaterways, a river cruising company co-owned by the Palisadian Murphy family of Bestor Boulevard. Co-founder Jimmy Murphy was Keady’s uncle, giving the entire operation a Palisadian cast.
Keady is a travel industry veteran who grew up in Pacific Palisades. He spent his teen years in the 1970s living with his family in Marquez Knolls.
A member of the Little League all-star team, he painted houses and delivered newspapers to earn spending money. He paid his way through UCLA by waiting tables at Sunset Inn, now Gladstones.
Shortly after graduation, he joined the travel industry after meeting Palisadian Jack Tobin Sr., an executive at Continental Airlines who guided him into a position as international marketing manager for an Australian hotel chain in the mid-1980s.
After a few decades working in large international firms, Keady refocused to river cruising in 2015.
“Smaller is good in the travel business,” he said. He prefers the personal angle and immediate feedback that one gets in more intimate and upscale operations.
For the future, Expanding Horizons is looking to steadily expand its own horizons. Keady said with a twinkle in his Celtic blue eye, “I want to do Croatia and New Zealand!”
He further announced that from now until December 31, Palisadians who live in the 90272 zip code will get a 5% discount after booking and paying the deposit for any Expanding Horizons wine cruise.