For a different way to get into the heart of the wine country, try pedaling the quiet country lanes between the just-ripening vineyards. The flat, sun-drenched valley is built for cycling at any speed, and day-trippers can ride for just an hour or a full day. Start your tours at the centrally located Napa Valley Bike Tours in Yountville, where you can rent a bike and get route advice. Along the area’s back roads and byways, you can set your pace and pick your place, but here are a few stops we recommend: The Napa Wine Company, located where Oakville Cross Road intersects Highway 29, is a unique collective used by small independent wineries to make their wines; you can sample more than twenty of these at their Cult Wine Central tasting room. A short pedal away, Saddleback Cellars is a hidden gem of a winery started by Nils Venge, the legendary winemaker whose Groth Vineyards’ 1985 Reserve Cabernet got a perfect score of 100 from wine guru Robert Parker Jr. (try the 2003 Cab or the 2005 Pinot Grigio). Finish your tour at Cliff Lede Vineyard outside Yountville, where you’ll find a transplanted Canadian making awesome Bordeaux-style wines and running an equally tasteful art gallery. Salut!
TIP: For an on-the-road lunch break, pack up a picnic at the popular (and original) Oakville Grocery.
Napa Valley Bike Tours, 6488 Washington St. at Hwy. 29, Yountville; 707-944-2953. Comfort bikes for self-guided tours start at $20 for two hours, $30 for the day (tandems $40/$65). They also offer fully guided wine tours; these start at $65 for a half day, $125 for full day (per person, tasting fees not included).