These Active Wine Tours Are Perfect for Every Adventurer
Grab a paddle, a saddle, or a pair of snowshoes—you're going wine tasting.
There are a few things in life that are just meant to go together: Rachel and Ross, peanut butter and jelly, and wine and travel (okay, and cheese too).
Known as enotourism, hitting the road (sea, sky, rail) in the name of tasting and trying vino is a great way to explore a new area. Even better? Sipping on some Sauvignon Blanc after scaling a mountain. And thanks to the growing adventure tourism market, active wine tasting trips are more popular than ever.
This type of travel isn't just for rugged adventurers but rather explorers of any level—all of whom enjoy a glass, err, glasses of red. Skip the dated wine-tasting limo tour (*yawn*) and opt for an experience that mixes adventure with, of course, wines. Grab a paddle, hit a pedal, hop atop a horse and break a sweat. With these trips, there's always a glass of wine waiting upon your return. (And that's just one more reason adventure travel is totally worth your PTO.)
Kayaking + Wine
In Washington: On Outdoor Odysseys' three-day tour, you'll spot eagles, seals, and whales as you kayak your way through Washington's San Juan Islands. Upon arriving on Jones Island, you'll set up camp and then enjoy different reds and whites from award-winning winery Boudreaux Cellars of Leavenworth, Washington. On the second day, your group will choose to either paddle beneath the cliffs of Orcas Island or weave through the broken chain of Wasp Islands. You'll then arrive back at camp with ample time to hike the 4-mile trail around the island before drinks are poured.
In Virginia: For more of a micro-adventure, book the Paddle Your Glass Off Tour with Southeast Expeditions of Cape Charles, Virginia. This half-day kayaking tour includes a 45-minute paddle (each way) and a stop on the shores of Chatham Vineyards. There you'll be greeted with a glass or two—and maybe even a cheese board!—and offered a behind-the-scenes look at this coastal winery. Make it a weekend getaway and stay at the Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, a century-old B&B in the Cape Charles Historic District.
Hiking + Wine
In Napa: Get your body moving and your heart pumping well before you take your first sip with Active Wine Adventures' Napa Hike & Wine Tour. This five-mile guided hike will lead you through California's world-famous wine region to a secluded family-owned winery for lunch or picnic. Rather a shorter adventure? Or a more challenging climb? Choose from the other four tours varying in time, elevation gain, and types of terrain. (And while you're in Cali, you should definitely try combining wine and yoga.)
In Italy: Or, go international to Italy's iconic Piedmont region with Active Gourmet Holidays for a week of wine-ing and hiking. On the first day, you'll follow the Barolo Wine Trail to the famous Marchesi di Barolo winery for a tour and tasting. The next three days follow suit, trekking through the area's hills and finishing up with intimate vineyard visits. You'll then make your way to the Italian Riviera, where you'll conclude your trip hiking the cliffs of Cinque Terre. (Related: You Can Hike With Llamas And Drink Award-Willing Wine at This North Carolina Vineyard)
Horseback Riding + Wine
In Southern California: With Saddle Up Wine Tours, you'll venture across the pastoral hills of Temecula Valley. Home to more than 40 vineyards and wineries, this Southern California area is practically flowing with wine for the tasting. How many glasses you actually try, however, is up to which horseback tour you choose. Ranging from one to three winery visits, each Historical Wine Tour includes a guided trail ride suitable for every level of equestrian. And for those expert riders out there, the customizable Mountain Adventure Tour covers steeper inclines and more challenging terrain. Because San Diego is about an hour away, go ahead and spend the night at one of the wineries, such as the Inn at Churon Winery or Carter Estate Winery and Resort.
In Oregon: In the Willamette Valley, a guided half-day trail ride with Equestrian Wine Tours leads you through the Red Hills of Dundee, one of the world's premier Pinot Noir regions. As you stop at vineyards along the way, you'll glean insights about the region's grapes and the farmers behind their success. Stay the weekend at The Inn at Red Hills, just a short walk from a dozen tasting rooms.
Cycling + Wine
In Colorado: Head out West to Colorado's Wine Country for a weekend of biking and, well, boozing as part of the "Sip & Cycle Getaway Experience." Rent a cruiser bike from Rapid Creek Cycles and head to nearby Varison Vineyards, a family-owned winery in Palisade, Colorado. After exploring the property and tasting some wines with a picnic lunch. Relax there, or continue with a self-guided tour of the area, which has more than 25 wineries. You'll conclude your weekend with Sunday brunch, where you can take in the captivating flat-top mesas and rock cliffs before leaving town. Accommodations are not included, but a two-night stay at the Spoke and Vine Motel may be a perfect fit.
In Santa Barbara: For a longer and harder pedaling adventure, Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours offers a six-day Vines to Coast package that's ideal for intermediate-level cyclists (and above). Over the course of six days, you'll clock at least 100 miles (likely more) as you bike through the fragrant Santa Ynez Valley. You'll pedal alongside oak-studded vineyards on rolling back roads, stopping for farm-to-table lunches and equally fresh glasses of vino. By the time you make it to the Santa Barabara Waterfront on Thursday, your body will have definitely felt the burn. But, hey, you'll be stronger, happier (thanks @ endorphins), and that much closer to a wine connoisseur. (Related: The Best Bike Tours Around the World to Add to Your Travel Bucket List)
Skiing + Wine
In Michigan: Fasten your cross-country skis or tighten those snowshoes for a magical self-guided trek along the Leelanau Trail in Northern Michigan. Pick up your gear and a map at Grand Traverse Bike Tours in Suttons Bay, then glide your way a total of 6.5 miles to Shady Lane Winery. Warm up with a cup of hot mulled wine and a bowl of homemade soup before exploring Shady Lane's varietals. Don't worry about having to schlep your way back to the rental shop post-tasting—a van will come get you, so feel free to settle in for the afternoon.
In Chile: Looking to explore terrain outside of North America? Head south to Portillo Ski Resort near Santiago, Chile for a seven-day "Ski & Wine Winter Escape." The week kicks off with a historic walking tour of Santiago followed by three days of skiing. On the fourth and fifth day, you'll trade schussing on the ski slopes for sipping on some vino at renowned wineries, like the Errazuriz Winery in Aconcagua Valley, one of Chile's top wine-producing regions. (Want even more action? Here's how to plan the most epic adventure trip ever.)