Cyclists near Siena, approximately 20 minutes from Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany Italy / Photo by Paolo Ciaberta, inGamba
Michelle La Sala has been running in Napa since she moved there in 2015. “Running here is a complex connection to land, agriculture and its workers, and it feels impossible not to appreciate every bit of your surroundings via your daily run,” says La Sala, who became the race director of the Napa Valley Marathon in 2018.
While Napa has its own special brand of beautiful, wine regions around the world are ripe for discovery by runners and cyclists alike. Exploring wine country on foot or by bike offers a unique way to see the land and local community.
We asked locals for their favorite routes in four wine regions around the world, with GPS-ready maps to help guide your next adventure.
Napa Valley, California
Runners looking to hit the double-digit mark would do well to follow Cliff Lede’s lead. The winemaker recently celebrated his 65th birthday with a 10-mile run in Napa, home of his namesake winery.
“A jaunt through the Town of Yountville, Napa Valley’s culinary heart, allows for glimpses of the town’s sculpture displays and hints of the daily specials at my favorite dining establishments,” says Lede. His preferred route begins at vineyard-lined Yountville Cross Road. Don’t forget to look up and take notice of impressive views of the Stags Leap District palisades to the east.
La Sala seconds the Yountville route though she offers a suggestion for runners. “What most people don’t associate with Yountville are great running routes, but there are several,” she says.
A local favorite is to do an out-and-back on Yount Mill Road, says La Sala. “This route has a little of everything including shady oak trees, cows, vineyards, Valley and Mount Saint Helena views, and unbelievable mustard blooms in the spring.” You’re unlikely to be passed by any cars on this stretch, even though the bustle of Napa’s wine country is a stone’s throw away.