Imagine navigating serene country roads through tranquil vineyards dappled with warm sunshine, highlighting the grapes that Mother Nature ripens to perfection. You revel in the sounds of nature, the singing of the birds with the breeze caressing you as your bike glides along the wine trails. Your destination is a winery and you cannot wait to taste its exotic wine. Sometime later, you head back to your B&B to freshen up after a satisfying day. The last thing on your day’s agenda is dinner and, you guessed it, more wine!
The good news is, there are fabulous wine bike trails waiting to be explored worldwide. You can choose from a variety of options to suit your travel style, including carrying your own bike and planning your own adventure. Or, you could just book a conducted tour. Whichever route you choose to take, here are some extraordinary wine bike tours that promise you the experience of a lifetime, as you cycle through diverse landscapes, enjoying a range of delicious wines. Just don’t forget your wine carrier – you want to bring your favorite wines back home safe.
Let’s get started with French wine in Europe.
In the heart of Burgundy lies the Hungry Cyclist Lodge. This is a secluded retreat surrounded by woods, orchards and vineyards tailor-made for cyclists. Tom Kevill-Davies, an English cyclist, owns and operates the lodge and runs cycling wine and food tours in Burgundy.
The Loire Valley, France
France's “La Loire à Vélo” is a 500-mile cycle trail that takes you from chateau to chateau in the historic villages along the banks of the Loire River. This is a longish route and you will need up to two weeks to cover it, so prepare for a relaxing journey. On this trail, you can expect to savor crisp Sauvignon Blanc white to smoky, Cabernet Franc reds. Some vineyards to stop en route include the Clos de la Poussie in Sancerre and Domaine de l’Ecu in Muscadet.
Wachau Valley, Austria
In the north eastern corner of the country is the Wachau Valley. On this trail, Benedictine abbeys, medieval castles and stone-terraced vineyards will charm you. This is perhaps one of the most historic and picturesque trails you and your wine carrier will ever cycle through! Vineyards to visit here include Franz Hirtzberger in Spitz and Denk in Weissenkirchen.
Clare Valley, Australia
Clare Valley features a 21-mile path known as the Riesling Trail, and we think you can guess what to expect on this trail! As you set off towards the small town of Auburn, you can look forward to trying the region’s award-winning Rieslings at celebrated wineries such as Grosset and Taylors Wines.
The Colchagua Valley, Chile, South America
The Colchagua Valley of Chile boasts a dramatic landscape just below the towering Andes Mountains. Internationally renowned wineries to visit include Casa Silva, Mont Gras and Viña VIK.
Coquimbito, Argentina, South America
This is a rural wine region in Argentina. An 8-mile ciclovia or bike path links nearly a dozen tourist-friendly wineries. Do not miss Trapiche and La Rural, as well Bodega La Rural wine museum.
Sonoma County, CA, North America
On the West Coast, Sonoma County, CA, is the obvious choice. The 6-mile West County Regional Trail links the Sonoma valley towns of Sebastopol and Forestville along a former railway line. Wineries to visit include Taft Street and Iron Horse, which specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The New York Finger Lakes, East Coast, USA
This wine region’s identity is its glaciers and long and winding finger shaped lakes and is perfect as a wine bike trail. It is one of the largest wine-growing regions near the Rockies with secluded trails. The 44-mile circuit around Keuka Lake offers history as well as dramatic scenery and you’ll need anything from four to eleven days depending on how much you plan to cover and your fitness levels.
Rent your bike from I Do That Tees in the tourist town of Hammondsport and follow the Keuka Lake Wine Trail north. Vineyards to visit include Pleasant Valley Wine and Heron Hill. Don’t be surprised if you end up stopping to admire the lakes, waterfalls and forests along the way as you head to the wineries. Look forward to relishing white wine, particularly Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Well known as a premier wine region, Willamette Valley, Oregon is popular for its Pinot Noirs and boasts more than 400 wineries. You can also expect to taste Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling in the area. The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway is about 132 mile long and offers an excellent route to explore the region’s wineries without the bustle that marks California’s Napa Valley. Expect scenic trails and gorgeous views as you cycle across orchards, stopping to snack on berries and fruits sold on the roadside.
Now, it is time to pack your helmets, kneepads and wine carrier and get ready for an unforgettable wine journey. Your heart and wallet will thank you! Your calves? That depends!