Wine Tasting Experiences for Outdoorsy Oenophiles
Photo: Courtesy of Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Wine Tasting Experiences for Outdoorsy Oenophiles

From vineyard bike rides to yoga classes amongst the grapes.

Can you think of anything more idyllic than a picturesque outdoor setting complemented by wine tasting? We’ll wait. There’s something about hiking to the top of a hill or whisking off-road into the vineyards on a bicycle that makes that first (and second, and third) sip of wine taste all the more delightful. If your warm-weather plans include a winery visit or two, consider booking an experience that combines an outdoor activity with a tasting. Whether it’s a hike in the Alto Adige region of Italy with tasting stops along the way or an afternoon of shuffleboard in Sonoma County (with a glass of crisp white wine in hand, of course), find all the ways outdoorsy oenophiles can live it up this summer, ahead.

Vineyard Walks and Hikes

Photo: Courtesy of Alto Adige Wines

At Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley, guests can hike through the vines of Joseph Phelps’s home ranch in St. Helena and conclude at an outdoor wine tasting paired with Japanese barbeque ($250 per person). If a relaxing stroll is more your speed, Burgess offers a guided property tour where you can learn about their regenerative farming and vinification complete with a tasting of six wines in the garden ($85 per person).

Nearby at Heitz Cellar, the winery’s Vineyard to Bottle experience ($1,000 per person) introduces visitors to their biodynamic farm and historic cellar, where wine has been crafted for the last 130-some-odd years. You’re greeted with a glass of single-vineyard Quartz Creek chardonnay enjoyed in the garden alongside caviar canapes while being guided on a journey through their terroir and grape growing methods. Afterward, hop in a courtesy Lexus and visit The Trailside Vineyard and Linda Falls Vineyard (both exclusive to Heitz Cellar) to better understand the microclimates in Napa Valley. Return to the salon for library selections from these vineyards paired with cheese and charcuterie.

And lastly, if you’re heading abroad this summer, include Italy’s Alto Adige region on your itinerary. The area has several wine trail hikes travelers can explore, including the Terlano Wine Trail that has guided hikes from August to October and includes breaks for wine tasting along the way.

Off-Road Tours

Photo: Gundlach Bundschu

Embark on an off-road wine adventure with driving and ATV tours that give bird’s eye views of scenic vineyards. At Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, explore Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley on their privately-guided mountain excursion driving tour that winds through the unique elevation range, from 400 to 2,400 feet. At Quintessa in St. Helena, hop in an electric golf cart to enjoy a tour of the estate finished off with a tasting in a private open-air pavilion located on top of the hillside.

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, WillaKenzie does an Explore the Estate ATV tour ($425 per couple) that teams visitors up with a winery host to accompany them along an exploration of the vineyards. Taste six wines along the way with a picnic and finish with a seated tasting.

Gundlach Bundschu, California’s oldest family-owned winery, does a Pinzgauer excursion. Climb aboard this Swiss Army transport vehicle to go off road on this Sonoma winery’s estate and enjoy cheese, a charcuterie board, and wine throughout the journey ($105 per person).

E-Bikes and Exercise

Photo: Courtesy of JUSTIN

In the central coast California wine region of Paso Robles, JUSTIN offers an e-bike ride and cave tour and tasting. During the three-hour experience, cycle through vineyards and taste wine along the way. You’ll also visit their Chateau Patio and Barrel Chai, topped off with a private tasting overlooking the scenic route you took to get there.

Over in Austin, Texas, at Fall Creek Vineyards, guests can book a Vino Vinyasa class. Founder Morgan Perry combines education and yoga as she guides students through movement while teaching about wine, followed by a tasting afterward. Meanwhile, overseas on the iconic left bank of Bordeaux, France at Château de la Croix, the winery offers a relaxing yoga session in the heart of the vineyard ($15 per person) followed by a wine tasting.

Games and Events

Photo: Courtesy of Abbot's Passage Winery & Mercantile

Historic Napa Valley estate Charles Krug, established in 1861, hosts summer events like the famous Blue Note Jazz Festival, which takes place this year from July 30 to 31. Over at Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile in Sonoma County, California, you can flex your shuffleboard skills with two hours of court time to compete and sip wine, surrounded by mountain views of Glen Ellen and Sonoma Valley ($250 for two hours). The shuffleboard courts are situated among the property’s historic eight-year-old Zinfandel vines and the fee includes a seasonal farm-to-table picnic basket of house-made specialities and a bottle of their 2020 Sightline (Chenin Blanc and Verdejo).

At Saracina Vineyards in Mendocino, California, the winery will be hosting its first-ever Sunflower Festival this August where guests are greeted by a field of giant sunflowers and into a 400-acre estate filled with artisanal vendors, food trucks, and live music. (Oh, and plenty of wine.)

If you’re searching for an activity that feels slightly unusual, head to Medlock Ames in Sonoma County, California, and participate in their Immersive Sound Experience designed by local artist Hugh Livingston. For 90 minutes, guests are guided on an expansive property tour that’s narrated by the natural sounds of Bell Mountain that concludes with a seated wine tasting ($75 per person).

Food and Wine

Photo: Quintessa

If the words “bacon and wine experience” resonate with your interests, head to Priest Ranch in Napa Valley to partake in this winery’s uncommon tasting. It features fresh bacon prepared by a local sous-chef and is paired with Priest Ranch wines. Popular flavors include Aleppo pepper, Korean apricot glaze, herbs de Provence, and molasses cherry red wine glaze. Feeling hungry now? Robert Mondavi Winery hosts a Pinot and Paella outdoor event featuring a selection of their Pinots paired with the iconic, flavorful rice dish.

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