Bike wine tours: what are they, how do they work (safely) and where are the best places to enjoy gentle cycling with wine tasting included?
Q1: What is a Bike wine tour?
A bike wine tour isn’t quite as salubrious as it may sound. The concept is simple enough. Combine some fun, easy, gentle cycling with the opportunity for some wine and gourmet tastings. The appeal is also fairly straight forward. The combination of fresh air, some gentle exercise and the joy of tasting great food and wine. There is definitely some weight to feeling that you have “earned your calories”. What could be more enjoyable than food and wine tasting guilt free?!
There is also a growing trend to more active and immersive travel. Using a bike to visit a region over a day is an ideal way to keep moving on your travels without having to visit a gym. On a nice day it’s positively marvellous. And with access to electric assist bikes (e-bikes) cycling is becoming a lot more accessible to even those that don’t ride bikes at all.
Group enjoying a bike wine tour in McLaren Vale South Australia
Q2: How does a bike wine tour work (safely)?
Like driving a car, cycling and drinking can be dangerous. And in most places around the world, illegal. So here is how we here at Tour de Vines ensure a bike wine tour works safely:
- On our bike tours, most of the cycling is done early in the day. We call this “earning our calories”!
- It’s important to have food, and so on our bike wine tours lunch is always included.
- Wine tastings are optional, so you can have as little or as much as you like. This means even non drinkers can enjoy the scenery and fun of visiting a region by bike.
- Our tours avoid roads as much as possible. We use rail trails and hidden paths so we are always safe from traffic
- We enjoy our tastings towards the end of the day, when the cycling is completed, so you can relax and sample the amazing varieties on offer in the wine regions we travel in.
Q3: Where are the best places to enjoy cycling with wine tasting included?
This is the fun part. There are soooo many places that are amazing for bike wine tours. For us there is a short list of criteria that we look for, and this includes:
- It has to be safe cycling. This is essential. Ideally a rail trail or off road path. It means we can relax completely and don’t have to stress about stopping for a photo, to admire a view or ride side by side with a friend to chat.
- Beautiful scenery. This is normally pretty easy as most wine regions – if not all – are by their nature quite scenic to look at. Some regions a ‘prettier’ than others, and that helps.
- Great cellar doors that are accessible and friendly. Not all cellar doors are the same. And not all wine regions welcome guests with service and attention. In some wine regions, the busier they are the less service you will get, so popularity isn’t a factor for us.
Some of our favourite places for a bike wine tour are:
Australia – North East Victoria
This region has the ultimate combination of a fantastic cycling path (Murray to Mountains Rail Trail), beautiful Alpine scenery and quality, welcoming wineries and gourmet outlets. See all our bike wine tours in this region.
Australia – Clare Valley
Perhaps lesser known than the Barossa, but having the Riesling Rail Trail running right through the middle of some of Australia’s best wineries and cellar doors. Check out self guided Riesling trail tour for more.
Australia – Yarra Valley
Just an hour out of Melbourne this is an ideal day trip cycling on the Lilydale to Warburton Rail trail with a short side trip to any number of wineries. Although you do need to leave the rail trail to reach the wineries, it’s worth it as the cellar doors in this region are world class.
New Zealand – Hawkes Bay
New Zealand is famous for it’s wine. After a period of heavy investment, NZ now also has some of the best rails trails, paths and off road bikes networks in the world. The coastal region of Hawkes Bay is ideal for a bike wine tour as it has both of these in spades! Visit, cycle, taste and enjoy! Try our self guided or guided multi day bike tour in this under rated region.
France – Bordeaux
Perhaps the mecca for wine lovers, Bordeaux comes complete with many off road paved trails, in additional to uber bike friendly back roads and a cycling obsessed culture. Oh, and the wines are pretty good too (like the best in the world!). Why not take a fully immersive multi-day bike wine tour of this region, it deserves it.