Last week I caught up with my friend Judy, from My Crazy Adventures, and her husband Keith to cycle through the quaint Northern California town of Yountville. If you’re a foodie, you may be familiar with Yountville, home to the French Laundry and a handful of other Michelin-starred restaurants. Although time constraints kept us from enjoying a leisurely dinner at one of these esteemed establishments, if you’re planning a getaway to the area, I recommend you check out the menus.
Our day started at 9:30 a.m. at Napa Valley Bike Tours where we had booked a half-day guided bike tour. Mike, our guide, sized us up upon arrival – literally as being on the correct size bike is essential to avoid knee pain. After signing the waiver (yes you may opt out of wearing a helmet. No, I did not.) we mounted our bikes for a tutorial around the parking lot before heading out to the road.
I hadn‘t been on an actual bike outside of the spin bikes at the gym for years. Lucky for me, riding a bike really is “just like riding a bike.” Although I did just fine, I suggest dusting off your bike to at least get comfortable turning corners and maneuvering through streets beforehand if needed. After getting reacquainted with cycling, we headed off towards the first of the two winery destinations featured in the tour, traveling along both the Napa Valley Vine Trail and surface streets.
With plenty of time until our reservation, we stopped every few miles en route to take in the picturesque scenery, snap photos and learn about Yountville’s colorful past and how the area came to be one of the highest regarded winemaking regions in the world.
Our first winery stop was at Materra Cunat Family Vineyards where they welcomed us with glasses of Sauvignon Blanc to start our guided tasting on their cozy patio. From there, we enjoyed tastes of Chardonnay, Viogier, Right Bank (paying homage to the region in France), and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The relaxed tasting experience was paired with cheese, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and history of the winemaking family. They waive the tasting fee of $25 with the purchase of three bottles of wine.
After relaxing and savoring the wines at Materra, we hopped back on our bikes and rode to Domaine Chandon, the first French-owned sparkling wine producer in the Napa Valley, for our second and final tasting of the day. This was more of a typical wine tasting experience, where you can taste at the bar or take your wine outside to enjoy on the patio. We chose the latter, and thankfully for Judy and me, Keith offered to sherpa our empty glasses inside for our samples as the staff doesn‘t come to you here. Tasting here starts at $35.
When we were ready, we cycled the short distance back to Napa Valley Bike Works, arriving at our destination a little after 2 p.m. There is an option to continue riding on your own if you‘d like, but bikes must be returned by 5 p.m.
If you go: The half-day bike tour is available year-round. Cost is $124 per person. We road approximately 13 miles over the course of the excursion. Tours are limited to 12 guests. Reservations are recommended. The tour includes the bike rental, helmet, your guide, water and a protein bar. Tasting fees at the wineries are not included. Winery destinations are subject to change. Bring sunscreen and a couple of layers in case the wind picks up. If you purchase wine, the bike shop will pick up your purchases for you and ferry them back to the shop. For more info, visit Napa Valley Bike Tours.
For more ideas of what to do in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, check out My Crazy Adventures.