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Your Guide to Bicycling Through Wine Country


From Napa to Tuscany and beyond, make a bicycling adventure out of your vineyard visits with these six globe-spanning travel destinations.

Become a living part of vineyard landscapes with a bicycle adventure around some of the world’s legendary wine regions.

Itineraries range from DIY day excursions on designated wine trails to guided weeklong explorations that feature gourmet meals and accommodations at top-rated hotels. Routes uncork a premier blend of experiences: breathtaking countryside views, quaint villages, castles and museums, all amplified by the adrenaline rush of coasting from one extraordinary vineyard to the next. Exhilarated by the sounds and scents of the region, you’ll savor the flavor of every sip.

C13XX2 vineyard Casablanca valley Chile South America
C13XX2 vineyard Casablanca valley Chile South America

Chile | Casablanca, San Antonio and Colchagua Valleys

Chile is a land of extremes. It stretches 2,700 miles long, but it’s just 110 miles at its widest point, squeezed between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the snow-capped, 13,000-foot Andes Mountains to the east. That multiplicity of landscapes yields an eclectic array of wine grapes: from cool-climate-loving Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to warm-weather baskers like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère (Chile has 98 percent of the world’s plantings of this variety).

Upscape Travel delves deep into several of Chile’s most lauded wine regions on a seven-day, six-night biking adventure. The route covers the Casablanca Valley (with visits to Kingston Family Vineyards), San Antonio Valley (Matetic Vineyards) and Colchagua Valley (Viña EstampaViu ManentNeyenMontGras and VIK). Riders also sweep down the Ruta de Fruta (Fruit Highway) to the dramatic Pacific coastline.

Memorable meals explore the pairing possibilities of top Chilean wines with delicacies like fresh local oysters, grilled sea bass and steak marinated in anise and sea salt. Accommodations range from a restored 18th-century hacienda to a casually luxe beachfront retreat.

Gear up to visit during the best seasons in Chilean wine country: spring (October to February) and fall harvest (March to May).

A6DEDC Kangaroo warning sign on road by autumnal vineyards McLaren Vale South Australia
A6DEDC Kangaroo warning sign on road by autumnal vineyards McLaren Vale South Australia

Australia | McLaren Vale

Nestled between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Gulf St. Vincent’s sandy beaches, McLaren Vale lies 20 miles south of Adelaide in South Australia. Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, McLaren Vale is one of the country’s premier wine-producing districts. Best known for Shiraz (roughly half of the area’s production), McLaren Vale also earns renown for Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Varieties on the horizon include include Fiano, Vermentino, Tempranillo and Sangiovese.

Several tour operators offer guided trips from Adelaide, with routes designed for maximum downhill coasting. The adventure often begins at Kuitpo Forest, where riders might share the road with kangaroos and koalas. From there, a gentle descent down Willunga Hill arrives in McLaren Vale for wine tasting.

The itinerary can include cellar doors (Aussie-speak for tasting rooms) likeKangarilla Road, with its views that sweep across vineyards to the sea; Angove, a fifth-generation winery founded in 1886; and ­Samuel’s Gorge, which overlooks the Onkaparinga River National Park and produces Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Tempranillo.

Detours might also include visits to a microbrewery, a stop for fresh-made chocolates or a swim at the beach. It all adds up to a very g’day, indeed.


South Africa | Stellenbosch

Encircled by mountains, the Stellenbosch wine region lies 30 miles from Cape Town in the heart of South African wine country. Grape-growing traditions go back more than 300 years, with many of the earliest plantings made by Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France.

Several tour operators offer guided trips to the winelands that wind through famed regions such as Paarl, Franschooek and Stellenbosh, with visits to famed wineries such as Backsberg and Vrede en Lust, among others, and stops to nosh on local chocolate, cheese and biltong (cured, dried meat) along the way. Rides through backcountry byways—flanked by rivers and forests of oaks and poplars—can offer additional stops at  a distillery or two.

Itineraries also visit the namesake town of Stellenbosch, founded in 1679 (the second-oldest European settlement in South Africa—the first was Cape Town). Set on the banks of the Eerste River, it melds the lively vibe of a university town with rich history, reflected in its whitewashed Cape Dutch houses with gabled fronts.

With mountainous terrain, good rainfall and diverse terroirs, the region favors a wide range of grape varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon remains a Stellenbosch star. Inland locations yield richer, more intense wines, while those closer to the sea convey fresh elegance. Bordeaux-style blends shine, as does Pinotage, a unique South African cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It pairs especially well with local specialties like bobotie (curried mince meats) and braai (barbecue).


By: Risa Wyatt

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