Introducing Rick Garced

The highly respected Rick Garced is a well-known wine master, restaurateur, writer and wine consultant based in Miami, Florida and Europe. He has been instrumental in the development of award winning wine and service operations programs for American and global companies in hospitality such as Windows on the World as Maître d'Hôtel for “The Ballroom & the Hudson River Suites”, Wine Consultant to Celebrity Cruises, Apollo Ship Chandlers, Inc, Silversea Cruises and wine editor and columnist for Dining Out Magazine

He is the Founding President & CEO of the United States Sommelier Association, Inc. a non-profit 501 (c)6 educational and professional organization that has operated the US Sommelier Association Wine School at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts 2006-2011, Miami, at Johnson & Wales University, Florida Campus 1998-2006, Regus Business Centers Miami Beach, FL, San Francisco, CA, and worldwide since 2010 as well as the ongoing summer Vineyard Series Certificate Courses at Wente Vineyards, Livermore since 2008.


Q&A with Rick Garced

What makes a good wine for you?

A good wine for me is one that is free of flaws, stored and served at the correct temperature, well balanced and makes me want to have another glass. The style of the wine I like to enjoy can vary whether it’s a white, red, rosé or sparkling. I look for a wine’s character to have a great expression of the flavors of its varietal grape used, development to ensure it’s ready to drink so I can optimize the experience. It’s also very important to serve the wine in the right wine glass to optimize the experience. 

You need to have great grapes to make great wines. So, viticulture or growing of the grapes is where you start. Varietal selection considers planting the correct grapes in the best soils suitable for the grape variety. The term terroir is often used to describe the environmental conditions such as ample sunshine, the right amount of rainfall, warmth or degree days which are all measured to select the correct grape type or varietal to grow at the vineyard site you are cultivating.

These key factors in growing grapes are essential to produce outstanding great grapes and then with seasoned and skillful winemaker talents plus sometimes a little luck a great wine will be created.


What is so special about Gerard Bertrand wines?

Gérard Bertrand and his teams are convinced that viticulture in harmony with nature is the best way to bring terroir wines to the highest level of excellence. This method of cultivation allows him to produce wines that are representative of all the nuances of the terroirs of the South of France. Biodynamic agriculture is similar to vine homeopathy and takes into consideration all the natural elements that surround the vine and is based on cosmic rhythms. This has created wines that are full of flavor, long lived and well received by wine lovers and wine critics around the world. His wines are served in over 175 countries around the world.


What is your personal recommendation from the wine menu onboard – and why?

These three wines, a sparkling rosé, white, red all show the varietal character and a sense of place. Their high quality and excellent value that guests will enjoy as an aperitif, with meals or just enjoying a moment in their staterooms contribute to the experience on board creating wonderful memories.


  • Ballerina Brut Etoilé Rosé, AOP Crémant de Limoux
    A brut rosé resulting from the blending of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from high altitude terroirs, revealing freshness and tension. 36-month maturing period, vibrant and creamy finish. Aromas of great complexity: subtle notes of red fruit and white flowers, accompanied by brioche and finely buttered flavors.
  • Chardonnay, Domaine de Cigalus, IGP Aude Hauterivé
    Golden yellow color, brilliant and limpid. Intense and complex nose of ripe citrus fruits (grapefruit), white peach, honey, dried fruit with a toasted note. Small amounts of Viognier and Sauvignon add complexity.
  • Domaine de l'Aigle Pinot Noir 2018 IGP Haute Valleé de L’Aude
    Ruby red colour with light copper highlights. Nose dominated by aromas of small berries (raspberry, redcurrant) very intense with some toasted notes. Tender, fruity and finely spicy on the palate. Fine and silky tannins, exceptional structure. Long and fruity finish.


Introducing Gerard Bertrand & Gerard Bertrand Wines

Gérard Bertrand Wines

It was in 1975, in the vines of the Château de Villemajou at the heart of the Corbières that Gérard Bertrand harvests its first grapes and discovered his passion for wine. He will perfect his apprenticeship during twelve years at the side of his father Georges Bertrand. The winemaking family is now in the fourth generation of winegrowers, from Paule to Georges, then Gérard Bertrand and finally Emma & Mathias.

Very attached to the values of performance and excellence learned on the rugby fields as a champion player, Gérard Bertrand continues his quest: to reveal the best terroirs of his region and promote them throughout the world with his wines available in over 175 countries. It is in this spirit that he took over the family torch at Domaine de Villemajou after the accidental death of his father in 1987.

Five years later, he created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in order to develop a range of wines from the South of France. In the following years, he will buy back the Domaine de Cigalus and the Castle Laville Bertrou and expanded the estates to sixteen properties across the South of France. Visitors from around the world have come to the annual Jazz Festival at Château L’Hospitalet outside of Narbonne, France annually in July and the estate hosts numerous events throughout the year.

Gérard Bertrand and biodynamic wines and winemaking practices

Gérard Bertrand has been committed to biodynamics in his vineyards and started this commitment at his properties at Domaine de Cigalus in 2002. This farming and winemaking practice creates a culture to reinforce the balance of the vine and its environment. 

Biodynamic is like organic farming in that both take place without synthetic chemicals, but biodynamic farming incorporates ideas about a vineyard as an entire ecosystem, and also takes into account things such as astrological influences and lunar cycles. 

A biodynamic wine means that the grapes are farmed biodynamically, and that the winemaker did not make the wine with any common manipulations such as yeast additions or acidity adjustments. After years of utilizing these farming and winemaking practices the Bertrand vineyards and estate wines have gone through the rigorous certification process to be able to add to their labels the Demeter stamp of certification.

Facts about Wine menu by Rick Garced onboard Ocean Victory