Wine on Wheels: 4 Bay Area Tasting Routes by Bike
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Wine on Wheels: 4 Bay Area Tasting Routes by Bike

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Biking your way through Wine Country is the kind of adventure that rewards you at every turn, not just with zinfandel and chardonnay, but with endless vineyard views.

We’ve scouted out bikeable wine trails in four regions where the wine is bountiful and the landscape is stunning: Napa, Sonoma, the Livermore Valley, and the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. All include at least four wineries within an 11- to 17-mile round-trip route. Whichever you choose, be sure to drink and ride responsibly!


Napa Valley Winery Bike Ride

This route through the heart of Napa offers a taste of both storied wineries and more recent up-and-comers. The trail begins at Ashes & Diamonds (4130 Howard Ln., Napa), where the mid-century modern aesthetic is clean and colorful and the grand vin, a blend of merlot and cab franc, is elegant and rich. From there, it’s a 3.8-mile glide north along the St. Helena Highway to Bell Wine Cellars (6200 Washington St., Yountville) for tastes of merlot and sparkling brut.

Continue north, passing within a hair’s breadth of the French Laundry and a handful of other downtown Yountville eateries, then turn right onto Yountville Cross Road. Another right, about four miles later, takes you to Robert Sinskey Vineyard (6320 Silverado Trail, Napa), one of the region’s earliest organic wineries, and their much lauded cabernet franc.

The ride continues down the Silverado Trail, stopping just over two miles away at Clos du Val (5330 Silverado Trail, Napa). Sip cabernet sauvignon in the garden of the 50-year-old Napa mainstay before pedaling 3.2 miles to Trefethen Family Vineyards (1160 Oak Knoll Ave., Napa), another historic estate whose chardonnay was once named the best in the world. From there, it’s a short two miles back to the finish line at Ashes & Diamonds.

Total mileage: 16.6 miles roundtrip

Sonoma County Wine Tasting on Two Wheels

Ride in the shadow of the Sonoma hills on this short, satisfying Wine Country route beginning at Sebastiani Vineyards (389 4th St. E., Sonoma). Fuel up with cabernet sauvignon at the more than 100-year-old winery, then pedal your way down Lovall Valley Road, keeping left at the intersection. Ride down Castle, past Bartholomew Park, to Bartholomew Estate Winery (1000 Vineyard Ln., Sonoma) and a taste of organic varietals that include rosé and sauvignon blanc. Hop back on the bike for a two-mile ride to Buena Vista Winery (18000 Old Winery Rd., Sonoma) via Lovall Valley Road. At what is often recognized as California’s first winery, you can choose from a variety of tastings, including an effervescent bubbles-only version.

Return the way you came to Lovall Valley Road, then continue on to Thornsberry. About two-and-half miles later, make a right onto Bundschu Road and turn into Gundlach Bundschu Winery (2000 Denmark St., Sonoma), another of Sonoma’s most storied historic vintners. Dial up a flight of estate wines and quiet your hunger with a cheese or charcuterie board or grab-and-go sandwich.

When you’re satiated, follow Bundschu Road west, turn right on Denmark, then make a left on 8th. Continue a couple of blocks to your final stop at Patz & Hall Winery (21200 8th St. E., Sonoma), which focuses exclusively on chardonnay and pinot noir. It’s just under three miles back to Sebastiani via 8th Street. Make one final right turn onto 4th and coast the final block to the day’s end.

Total mileage: 11.6 miles roundtrip

Livermore Valley Bike Tour

Taste the terroir of the East Bay with this ride through the Livermore Valley. Kick things off at one of the area’s original vintners, Ruby Hill (400 Vineyard Ave., Pleasanton). Get your fill of petite sirah and zinfandel, then climb into the saddle and hit the road. It’s a 4.4-mile ride from E. Vineyard Avenue to your next stop, Wente Vineyards (5040 Arroyo Rd., Livermore). Another historic valley estate, Wente’s tastings are a delicious introduction to their extensive portfolio, one which includes everything from riesling to brut sparkling wine.

It’s a long haul, almost six miles, back up Arroyo to Wetmore Road, then north to Silvermore Avenue and Concannon Vineyard (4590 Tesla Rd., Livermore). A family winery since 1883, Concannon offers several ways to taste a wide selection of varietals like malbec and viognier. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before riding less than a mile back toward Page Mill Winery (1960 S Livermore Ave., Livermore).

At Page Mill, get a taste of perfection—or as close as it gets in the wine world—with the winery’s double gold award-winning 2018 cabernet sauvignon and 2020 pinot noir. They’re just the thing to steel you for the final 4.6-mile push back to Ruby Hill.

Total mileage: 15.8 miles roundtrip

Wine + Bike in the Santa Cruz Mountain Foothills

Get your legs pumping on this decidedly intermediate-and-advanced-riders-only ride through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hit the trail from the parking lot at El Vaquero Winery (2901 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville); you’ll return there for a celebration complete with food truck fare at the day’s end. From Corralitos Road, make a quick right onto Varni, then follow it over the next four miles as it transitions to Casserly. Make a left at Mt. Madonna for a steep but lovely climb into the hills and ride on to Windy Oaks Winery (550 Hazel Dell Rd., Corralitos), where the estate-grown pinot noirs and chardonnays and the expansive valley views provide a welcome break from the saddle.

Head north from there, keeping left as the road turns into Browns Valley. Three rewards will follow in quick succession, beginning with the rustic Alfaro Family Vineyards (420 Hames Rd., Watsonville) and its estate-grown syrahs and malbecs, followed by a quick bite at the nearby Corralitos Market & Sausage Co. (569 Corralitos Rd., Watsonville). Continue on to the handsome outdoor patio at Storrs Winery & Vineyards (1560 Pleasant Valley Rd., Aptos) for chardonnay and zinfandel.

When your glass is empty, head back to El Vaquero—it's a mostly straight shot down Pleasant Valley Road to Freedom Road —where they pour a variety of wines, including late harvest zinfandel and rose, and live music plays until 9:30pm on Saturday nights.

Total mileage: 17 miles round trip

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