Explore California Wine Country with VBT

Biking Sonoma

California wine country produces 90% of America’s wine and its 1,200 wineries would collectively be considered the fourth largest producer in the world, if California were its own country. Some of the most highly regarded varieties are grown in the coastal valleys northeast of San Francisco where a combination of Californian sun, cool sea breezes and fog provide the perfect weather for grape growing.  These valleys also offer amazing cycling terrain with rolling hills, redwood groves, dramatic coastlines and historic, welcoming towns. Travelers will discover that VBT’s California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast biking tour is the perfect getaway for biking enthusiasts and impassioned oenophiles alike.

Group Cheers

The cycling part of our vacation begins along back roads in the Carneros district, a viticulture region that stretches Grape tastingacross the lower reaches of both Sonoma and Napa Valley near the San Pablo Bay that is renowned for its still and sparkling wines.  The benefit of the encroaching fog and cooler ocean air allows the winemakers to grow cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. VBT guests will hop off their bikes at the Madonna Estate Winery for a tasting of delectable Napa Valley wines—including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio—that have been refined over four generations of winemaking.

Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean Bottle ChardonnayA day spent riding in the “Valley of the Moon”—the Native American translation of “Sonoma”—among the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, leads us to the Chateau St. Jean Winery, one of the quintessential Sonoma wineries. The winery’s grounds feature both sprawling vineyards and lush, manicured gardens that were inspired by formal estate gardens in Italy and France. We’ll enjoy a tasting in the Vineyard Room during our visit before shuttling back to our hotel in Bodega Bay.

Russian River Valley

One of the other highlights of our California Wine Country tour is a ride through the Russian River valley, known as the “Kingdom of Pinot Noir”. The cycling routes along both the east and west sides of the valley offer striking views of lush, productive vineyards. The Russian River Valley’s climate is known for the cooling fog that ebbs and flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog typically arrives mid-evening and California Coast bikingoften drops the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. By morning, the mist retreats back to the ocean. This so-called “natural air-conditioning” effect allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity during an extended growing season—often 15 to 20 percent longer than found in the surrounding regions—while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.

These are just a couple examples of the memorable bike rides and wine tastings you’ll find on our California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast​ biking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Ride through the Burgundy and Bordeaux Wine Regions with VBT

Chateau Bike Ride
One of the great things about bicycling through the French countryside is the bike routes that take you along pastoral roads past serene rivers and beautiful stretches of hillside vineyards. Two of our favorite tours in some of France’s wine regions are Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne and the aptly named, Burgundy: The Wine Route. On these two tours, our daily rides are accentuated with visits to local wine cellars and vineyards where you’ll get to learn about wine production and more importantly, taste some of the delicious samples.  ​

Cycling the Bordeaux region with VBT
Grapes on the Vine
During our Bicycling Bordeaux & the River Dordogne​ tour, we’ll explore the surrounding villages of St. Emilion—our home for 2 nights—and bike along rolling terrain past several impressive vineyard Châteaux—including the renowned Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc. Both of these wineries are classified as 1st Grand Cru Classe A, Wine Tastingwhich is the French rating system for ‘first growth’ wines in the St. Emilion region of Bordeaux. The aforementioned Châteaux are the only ones that have been distinguished as Classe A in the area.

Later in the tour, our cycling route will take us past a 13th-century castle in the small town of Rauzan and the abbey at Blasimon, which dates back to the 12th century. After a rewarding day on our bikes we’ll be treated to a visit with Claire Poncet at the Château Font-Vidal in Julliac, who will enlighten us with a talk about the process of wine production on her estate before offering us a tasting. The Château Font-Vidal has been family-owned since the early 1800’s and produces richly red Bordeaux that features a “balanced palate with tasty tannins.”

Visiting the Burgundy Region with VBT
Vineyard Ride
On this fascinating journey on our Burgundy: The Wine Route tour, we’ll cycle along small wine roads through the Hospices de Beauneworld-famous vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and pass well-known villages like Puligny Montrachet, Meursault and Pommard—considered by many oenophiles as the mecca of Chardonnay production. Beaune is nicknamed the “Capital of Burgundy Wines” and its downtown is highlighted by the Hospices de Beaune, a 15th-century structure that once served as a charitable almshouse. The perfectly preserved Gothic masterpiece also hosts one of France’s largest charity wine auctions every year. During our stay in Beaune, we’ll also walk to one of the towns many wine cellars to taste some of the regional wines.

Vineyard ChurchAs we make our way from Beaune to Dijon later in the tour we’ll wind our way to Nuits St. George, the region where famed Côte de Nuits red wines are produced. In this area, monks made wine for religious services for centuries and historians believe that the very first red wines in the world were made here. It is believed that the monks macerated the grape skins so the typical rosé wine would more closely resemble the blood of Christ.

These are just a couple examples of the many cultural highlights you’ll find on these France biking vacations. To read more about all of our vacations in France please click here.  If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.