August 19, 2008 –OARS (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists), continues its increasingly popular and award-winning Wine on the River & Wilderness Gourmet rafting series in 2008.  Trips are planned in August and September on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River and on the Snake River through Hells Canyon, as well on California’s Tuolumne River and the Rogue River in Oregon.

These gourmet whitewater rafting trips are designed especially for those who love wine and the outdoors, and they offer an elegant alternative to typical rafting trips.  After a day spent river rafting, hors d’oeuvres are served, premium wines are presented by some of the best vintners in the West, and five-star gourmet meals are prepared riverside.

OARS’ “Tuolumne Wine on the River Trip” received NBC’s Golden Grape Award for their “Best Wine Adventure” last year.  And, as the summer season winds down, the Wild and Scenic Tuolumne River near Yosemite National Park has mellowed out to a splashy and slightly warmer Class III-IV rafting trip.  Joining the 2½-day, August 24th departure are Stevenot Winery winemaker, Kate MacDonald and her husband, Craig, who will present a selection of wines hand-picked from their favorite wineries in California and abroad.

Ironstone Vineyard’s President and whitewater enthusiast, Stephen Kautz, will present his award-winning wines on an August 27th, 6-day trip on the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Salmon River.  Considered by many to be North America’s premier alpine river experience, the Middle Fork boasts non-stop, Class III-IV whitewater, natural hot springs and excellent fishing.  The Kautz family is committed to producing wines of exceptional, unparalleled quality, outstanding value and everyday approachability.

“Stephen and the Kautz family were the inspiration for our Wine on the River series, and the first of many award-winning wineries to bring their labor of love to the river on an OARS trip,” said OARS. Marketing and Partnerships Director, Steve Markle.  He continued, “They truly believe that the experience of enjoying wine should be experienced by every type of person in a variety of venues.”

The Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Oregon sets the stage for OARS’ annual Wilderness Gourmet culinary expedition with executive chef, Bob Anderson (formerly of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite) and his wife Mary of V Restaurant in Murphys, California.  This 4-day specialty departure beginning September 1st includes 45 miles of Class III whitewater combined with expert instruction on how to prepare such delectables as black pepper rosemary broiled prawns, pan-seared filet mignon with a Jack Daniel’s reduction sauce, seasonal vegetables and porcini risotto and a variety of other Chef Bob specialties.  Wines will include a selection of Bob and Mary’s favorite vintages paired perfectly with each evening’s meal.

Hells Canyon of the Snake River, the deepest gorge in North America, is home to OARS’ September 14th Wine on the River 5-day adventure.  The surging Class III Snake River flows steadily all season long.  Robert Wolfe, president of Oregon Pinot Noir Club and former editor of Food & Wine magazine, will present a hand-selected assortment of outstanding Oregon Pinots and other Pacific Northwest varietals.  Also joining the trip is Executive Chef Adam Bernstein, owner of the acclaimed Adam’s Place Restaurant in Eugene, Oregon, which according to Frommer’s is, “One of the most elegant dining establishments in the city.”

Since 1969 OARS has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport vacations, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines of the world.  OARS caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide, including one-day and weekend escapes.  For more information on OARS eco-friendly adventures, including a free 84-page color catalog, call OARS at 1-800-346-6277, email the company at info@oars.com or visit www.oars.com