Disclosure: This post was sponsored by RedBalloon, I was given the voucher for 2 in exchange for sharing my experiences.
I love boats, the water and of course good wine so it’s only natural that a wine cruise would suit me down to a tee. I’ve now been in Perth just over 2.5 years and it was only yesterday that I went on my first cruise on the Swan River and of course it had to be a ‘Wine Cruise’ (they’re the best kind right?).
I was lucky enough to be offered a RedBalloon voucher for the ‘Wine Cruise on Perth River – For 2’ valued at $330. As it was a long weekend, I thought it would be the perfect time to book in to use the voucher with Mr. Spittoon. For information on how you can get a discount on a RedBalloon experience, check out the bottom of this post!
I was so excited as so many people have told me that these wine cruises are awesome, so it was great to finally get my A into G and do it for myself. The funny thing for us, seeing as the boat leaves from Barrick Street Jetty in the city was that we had to train in from Guildford to the city to only comeback out this way.
Totally worth it though as experiencing Perth float by from the river was a whole new and very relaxing experience. We were asked to be at the boat 25 minutes before departure which was 9:45am to collect our boarding tickets at the jetty. Upon boarding our boat the ‘River Lady’ (a low profile boat fitted with booths and plenty of inside seating) we were greeted by our captain and skippers which was a lovely touch.
When everyone was on the boat, our itinerary was explained and also the rules of the boat. The staff were super pleasant and gave us all some good laughs. On our 2 hour journey up the river to the Swan Valley we were given a ‘guided tour’ if you will of Perth from the River which I found very interesting. I think both locals and tourists really enjoyed it.
During the 2 hours we enjoyed cheese (The Blue Cow Cheese was divine) and crackers as well as a wine tasting of local Swan Valley wines. We enjoyed; Sittella Silk Classic White, Garbin Estate Chenin Blanc, Pinelli Estate Merlot and the Jane Brook Shiraz. I must admit the tasting pours were very generous! Top marks to the staff!!
On the boat there was plenty of room to enjoy the tour from the cosy indoors as well as plenty of seating out the front of the boat to grab some spectacular pictures of the views. Coffee, tea, water and restrooms were available as well.
Once we arrived at our destination, Sandalford Estate, we all disembarked the boat and were met by our Sandalford guide for the afternoon. I have to admit I really enjoyed the next few hours, as unless you’re on a tour like this you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience these behind he scenes activities. We felt a bit like VIPs for the arvo!
Firstly we were taken up to the ‘Sandalford Gold Class Cinema’ as our guide put it to watch a 10 minute video on the Estate, yes it’s true, Sandalford have their own cinema with comfy cinema seats to match! Afterwards we were taken on a guided tour of the winery which was pretty special. We got to see what happens behind closed doors and find out how wine is made and what makes Sandalford unique. We also got to view the expansive property, I still can’t believe they can cater for up to 3 weddings at one time!
As the tour came to an end we were taken to the Barrel Room, which was beautifully set out for a 6-flight wine tasting and lunch. We tasted an SBS, Unoaked Chardonnay, Rose, Cab Merlot, Shiraz and Late Harvest blend, something for everyone. My favourite was the Margaret River Shiraz which is no surprise seeing as I have a wee addiction to MR Shiraz of late!
Throughout the tasting our guide took us through how to analyse a wine and we were given a ‘Wine Appreciation Kit’ and encouraged to be our own wine judge for the day and give each wine marks based on the colour, nose and palate of the wine. So it was an educational trip after all 😉
After the tasting we could then pick a glass of wine to enjoy with our lunch. The 2 course lunch was delicious, from the fresh warm bread roll to the pumpkin, pesto and beetroot relish tart and my spinach, ricotta and tomato cannelloni’s were divine. Mr. spittoon thoroughly enjoyed his chicken and those eating the barramundi at our table seemed happy enough too. We had pre ordered our meals on the boat on the way up.
After lunch we then proceeded to the cellar door where we tasted a couple of fortified wines and did some shopping. If you’re part of the tour you are entitled to 25% off at the cellar door and gift shop which is a cracker perk of the cruise! Mr. Spittoon and I picked up a bottle and some fun merchandise. I’m a sucker for wine accessories!
At 2:45pm we were back on the boat and on our way home. We were served coffee and tea as well as cakes and there was an open bar from 3:15pm with a selection of Waters Edge wines free to consume and you could also order beer and spirits at an extra cost. For the last 30 minutes of the cruise one of the skippers got up and sang a few tunes, he was actually pretty good and he really got the atmosphere going on the boat. Everyone was laughing and having a good time!
Sadly at 4:45pm we were back and no one was really keen to go ‘back to reality’. It was a fun day had by locals and tourists alike. Definitely a great present for wine lovers!
The best bit of this post is that RedBalloon also want to reward you! RedBalloon have given me a promotional code to give to all of you so that you can receive $20 off when you spend $79 or more on any RedBalloon experience! Visit www.redballoon.com.au & enter the code REDBLOG14 at the checkout to receive your discount.
Code can only be used once per person. All purchases are subject to RedBalloon T&Cs. The promo code above has an expiry of the 31-12-2014 so make sure you book in a RedBalloon experience soon guys!