My impression of Ryan Hamilton, owner of The Wine Experience, was positive from the start. His response to my initial inquiry was prompt, and his attitude was enthusiastic. No such thing as a stupid question.
Our situation in arranging the day long excursion was a little tricky because we were on a Celebrity Cruise and had only about 10 hours to spend in the port of Punta del Este. Timing with a non-ship sponsored excursion can be dicey, and we have had some near misses with private tours on cruises in the past. Ryan was sensitive to our concerns.
He met us a little later than arranged when we arrived in port, but he kept us posted by cellphone so we wouldn't be concerned. Ryan is an excellent communicator.
Our first stop on the day long wine tour was Bodega Alto de la Ballena, where we met, toured and tasted wine with owner Paul Pivel. She was gracious, knowledgeable and accommodating. Since we are in the wine business, we expected a more in-depth experience, and this is what we received.
After our relaxed, hospitable visit at Alto de la Ballena, we headed for Narbona Farms where we enjoyed a private wine tasting and delicious lunch. Ryan was ever the host, running interference, making sure things ran smoothly so we would have a memorable afternoon and be back to our ship in plenty of time.
Ryan Hamilton's Wine Experience is a good value. Ryan required a deposit in advance and final payment was not due until the end of the tour. He delivered what he promised with enthusiasm and good humor. He is also quite wine savvy, by the way, having worked on the Seabourne Cruise Line as Head Sommelier.
This guy is in the right business, and we hope he will stay in it for a long time to come.
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