Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sip & Cycle: 6 Amazing Wine and Bike Trails

Summer is almost here: the perfect time to grab a bike and head out to your favorite wine trail for a bit of sipping and cycling through wine country. If you need some ideas, here are six fantastic bike and wine trails that you can “spin the bottle” on …

1) Missouri Katy Trail, Missouri

Katy Trail
The Katy Trail is named for the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and offers bikers over 235 miles of easy trails that wend along unused rail beds, plus 20 wineries to explore. Make plans for winery stops in three towns: Augusta has 9 wineries including, for you Monte Python fans, the Holy Grail Winery where the Belgian Dark Chocolate Cups are decadent. In Hermann, there are 5 wineries to explore including the oldest one on the route and in the state, Stone Hill Winery The town of Defiance offers 3 more wineries on the longest rail-trail route in the country.

2) Heart of Colorado Wine Trail, Colorado

Colorado Cellars Winery
The Heart of Colorado Wine Country Trail has some of the world’s best mountain biking trails running through not one, but two American Viticultural Areas (AVA). These AVAs are home to over 80% of the state’s vineyards on what is one of the largest wine trails in the U.S. The Grand Valley AVA runs along I-70 and the Colorado River, and includes 28 wineries and vineyards for your tasting pleasure. Check out the oldest winery in the state, Colorado Cellars Winery offering self-serve tastings. Another dozen wineries and vineyards are scattered along the western slope of the West Elks AVA, including the highest estate bottled winery and vineyard in the northern hemisphere – Terror Creek Winery

3) Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, Michigan

Surrounded by water on three sides, the Leelanau Peninsula offers the perfect cool-climate grape growing conditions. The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is home to 25 wineries but the route is broken up into three mini routes for easier navigation. The Northern Loop has 10 wineries, including 45 North Vineyard and Winery – located on the famed 45th parallel. The Sleeping Bear Loop has 6 wineries; one not to miss - Cherry Republic Winery where everything is coming up cherries. The Grand Traverse Bay Loop has 8 wineries and vineyards including Left Foot Charley located in the historic Northern Michigan Insane Asylum. Enjoy breathtaking views and learn how the wines are made from local winemakers.

4) Brandywine Valley Wine Trail, Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the country for the tonnage of grapes grown. Of the 130+ wineries located in the Keystone state, 8 are on the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail: all within a 50-mile radius of each other.  Kick back and enjoy the gently rolling countryside as you bike between Philadelphia and Amish country on this quiet, scenic trail. One winery not to miss: Black Walnut Winery located in a 200+ year-old barn.

5) Hike & Bike Sonoma Valley Trail, California

Sonoma Valley is where the wine industry began in California and one of the most popular trails is the Sonoma History and Wineries Trail. Not only will you get to sample some exceptional wines crafted by some of the oldest wineries in the state, you’ll also take in a little of California’s history along the way. There are five wineries on this route, and Vella Cheese Company, the perfect place to pick up a hunk of award-winning cheese to enjoy with a bottle of wine.

6) Coastal Wine Trail Bike Tour, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

New England was made for cycling with gorgeous views, rolling hills, and peaceful country roads. Sign up for a 5 day guided tour with Great Freedom Adventures www.greatfreedomadventures and leave the details to someone else: have no worries as you glide along the Farm Coast route. Estate grown wines are plentiful in this area so you won’t lack for gorgeous vineyard views, and amazing varietals for sampling and sipping. GFA also offers wine and bike trips that encompass three to six days of spinning through picturesque coastal New England.

And a final note: Before heading out on a biking adventure, make sure your bike (and you) are in optimum shape to enjoy the ride!

~ Joy