BikeToursDirect Sees Wine and Bike Tours Boom as Two Passions Take Off

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BikeToursDirect reports increased popularity in 2011 for wine and bike tours, which combine the best of two worlds: unique access to some of the best vineyards and wine cellars and most breath-taking cycling landscapes in the world. Offering dozens of wine and bike tours in 2011, BikeToursDirect works with locally-based tour operators who can provide special access to off-the-beaten-(bike)-path vineyards and producers.

Wine and Bike in the Balaton Uplands

The Wine and Bike in the Balaton Uplands tour explores the many vineyards of Central Hungary.

A wine and bike tour offers both the intimacy of a bike trip and the fun of visiting a vineyard or winery.

Europe has long been a top destination both for travelers interested in its fine wines and for bicyclists wanting to explore countries at a leisurely pace. Increasingly, travelers are merging those two interests thanks to a growing number of wine and bicycle tours in some of the top wine-producing regions of the world. BikeToursDirect has seen increased bookings in 2011 for wine and bike tours as travelers discover how to combine the best of two worlds.

"Of course, almost any bicycle tour in Europe is going to offer opportunities for fine wines and food," says BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. "What we're seeing increasingly is tours focusing specifically on wines, vineyards and wine-tastings—where the riding is often secondary to the wine experience. And these tours are really taking off."

"Since another reason for exploring a region by bicycle is guilt-free dining," says Johnson, "nothing goes better with a fine meal than a fine wine!"

“A wine and bike tour offers both the intimacy of a bike trip and the fun of visiting a vineyard or winery,” says Robert Heiss, co-owner of teatrekker.com and a wine and food connoisseur who has participated in several wine and bike tours. “There is nothing like arriving at a vineyard on a bicycle—it makes you feel, just for a moment, as though you might really live in the village down the road and are just stopping by for your regular wine purchase.”

With a variety of terrain, food, wine and cycling options, bike tours in Tuscany are now the top choice for cycle tourists interested in wine and cuisine. Every tour BikeToursDirect offers in the region spotlights vineyards, wine and food in some way, with several tours that have a more concentrated “wine and bike” focus. Two popular options include the “Tuscany Wine Classic” or “Tuscany’s Crown Jewels” tours, which wind through the enchanting Tuscan landscape and incorporate wine tastings at several vineyards. One private tour offers tastings at a vineyard that sells to two primary clients: the Vatican and the lucky few who find the remote winery.

“The connection you make with the countryside from the seat of a bicycle can never be replicated in a car,” says Dominick Cerisano, founder of Best Tuscan Tours, LLC and Chief Cycling Officer. “The sights, the smells, the way the Tuscan sun reflects through the vineyards—these are the sensations you can only feel on a bike. Also there are no fines in Italy for cycling after enjoying a few glasses of Chianti. You can’t do that in a car!”

“For cycling wine lovers we provide special access to the best producers both large and small,” says Cerisano. “Our on-staff sommelier can further assist wine connoisseurs with purchasing advice and even assist with expert packaging and shipping right to your home.”

Fine wine is plentiful in France, another top choice, with tours in the Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley and Provence regions that include visits to some of the best-known wine producers in the world. Bike tours in Provence are especially popular because of the unique regional wines, historic medieval architecture and landscape that inspired artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse.

Other popular choices include tours along the Mosel, Rhine and Main River Bike Paths in Germany, which feature vineyards at almost every turn.

Hungary, a country not as well known for its fine wines as other countries—due to lower exports rather than lower quality—features “Wine and Bike in Hungary’s Balaton Uplands,” which includes two or more wine-tastings and vineyard visits every day and unlimited wine with dinner!

To help cycle tourists find wine and bike tours that fit their interests, BikeToursDirect offers a “Wine and Bike” page that spotlights several popular tours. BikeToursDirect also has a TourFinder that provides a detailed search of more than 200 tours offered on its website. With just a few quick clicks, a cycle tourist can create a list of tours based on key parameters (such as a wine and bike focus, country and level of difficulty) to help narrow down the search for the perfect wine and bike vacation.

About BikeToursDirect
BikeToursDirect, now in its eighth season, serves as a central resource for bicycle tours in Europe, representing more than 50 tour companies that offer more than 200 tours in 35 European countries and is currently expanding to Asia, Africa and Australia. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process. Learn more at http://www.biketoursdirect.com. Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email: info(at)biketoursdirect(dot)com.

*High resolution photos available on request.

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