No wine county bike tour is complete without spinning through California’s Dry Creek Valley. Bicycling Magazine ranks this part of Sonoma County among its top ‘must ride’ biking vacation spots in the world. The terrain is diverse and beautiful and “…there’s a wine tasting, it seems, on every mile.“
Viticulture and wine making in this part of Sonoma wine country date back to the early European settlement of the Dry Creek Valley in the 1850’s. The dream that started with Gold Rush fever, mellowed and aged to perfection in a glass of dreamy Zinfandel.
Zinfandel grapes were planted here as early as 1864. Because these grapes can be grown without special equipment such as timber and wire, scarce during the Gold Rush, Zinfandel was the ultimate grape of choice. By the 1880’s there were 54 vineyards in this region. During Prohibition, many of these entrepreneurial vintners turned to the sale of fruit.
Though home wine making was illegal under the 18th Amendment, a family could enjoy grapes and raisins. According to Wine Maker Magazine, many these fruits were delivered with stern instructions: “Do not add this to five gallons of warm water,” they stated, “and do not add ten pounds of sugar, and yeast, or it will become wine, which would be ILLEGAL!”
Today there are 60+ wineries and 150 growers in the Dry Creek Valley. Though Cabernet Sauvignon now occupies more acreage in the Dry Creek Valley (by about 100 acres), Zinfandel continues to reign as the region’s most adored wine – enjoyed by oenophiles and cycling enthusiasts alike.
Sojourn’s wine country bike tours provide a first-hand understanding of the terroir of Dry Creek Valley. Terroir is the complete natural environment in which a particular vine is grown, it includes the soil, topography, and climate. The depth of first-hand knowledge gained on the bike tours often leads to first-hand enjoyment of the luscious bounty of the Dry Creek Valley.
Cheers, Santé, Salud, Cin Cin!
Dry Creek Valley image credit: Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley