The art of pairing food and wine is definitely a thing in Napa Valley. And it’s a really good thing when you’re spending a day biking to wineries and bound to work up an appetite!
Surprisingly, finding a food and wine pairing experience in Napa Valley isn’t as easy as you might expect.
The reason for this stems from Napa’s unique designation as an Agricultural Preserve. Specifically, the Winery Definition Ordinance states that wine tastings “may include food service without charge except to the extent of cost recovery when provided in association with such education and development…”
In other words, wineries can only serve food when it is part an educational food and wine pairing designed to market their wines. And the food component cannot be marked up for profit. With this in mind, it starts to make sense why food and wine pairings are so rare despite Napa having hundreds of wineries.
But don’t despair! We’ve rounded up a list of Napa wineries that offer food and wine experiences – all within biking distance of our Yountville shop. Keep in mind, these food and wine experiences are offered by advance appointment with limited availability. Take care to plan ahead!
Note: The options outlined below are creative suggestions for your bike rental experience from our Yountville store. These are NOT guided tours or packages that we offer. If you’re interested in these experiences, your first step is to reach out to the winery to confirm your food and wine pairing experience. Then, circle back with us to confirm your bike rentals.
Piazza Del Dotto
Piazza Del Dotto is the third and newest winery by the industrious Del Dotto family. Located on the outskirts of Yountville, Piazza Del Dotto sets itself apart from its siblings in Napa and St. Helena, with its emphasis on food and wine pairings.
Guests can choose from two food and wine pairing experiences designed by Del Dotto Executive Chef Joshua Swartz (formerly of Bouchon Bistro, The French Laundry and Per Se).
The Poppers Tasting ($60, 45-60min) is a lighter pairing of four bite-sized treats matched with a selection of 6 wines.
The more decadent Delicacies Wine & Food Pairing ($175, 120 min) starts with a cave tour and barrel tasting, followed by a seated 5-course menu. Signature “delicacies” include caviar, a Maine “Lobster Roll” on toasted brioche and a Wagyu beef slider.
The bike ride to Piazza Del Dotto is a wine country dream-come-true. You’ll ride along a quiet country back road winding past vineyards framed by mature oak trees. Although the journey is only 3 miles, you should plan plenty of time for photo stops along the way.
The Oakville Trek ($80, 90min) is B Cellars signature food-and-wine pairing. You’ll begin with a walking tour of the vineyards, gardens and winery before reaching the caves, where you will have a barrel tasting. Next, you’ll enter the Hospitality House where Trek experience begins in earnest. Five award-winning wines are served alongside seasonal “B Bites.” It’s an experience designed to heighten your appreciation how much food accentuates wine.
B Cellars happens to be located at the midpoint our guest-favorite 12-mile Oakville Bike Loop. This makes for a perfectly balanced ride-to-wine experience. Plan about 75-min for the 6-mile ride to B Cellars. That may seem long for a 6-mile ride, but trust us. You’ll want plenty of time to stop and soak in the scenery along the way. You also won’t want to miss the chance to pop in to check out the historic Oakville Grocery along the way.
Round Pond celebrates the garden-to-table experience with its multi-course Il Pranzo Lunch ($150, 90min). This experience begins with a tour of the winery garden and olive grove, followed by a curated lunch on the winery’s beautiful terrace overlooking the vineyards. Executive Chef Jamie Prouten designs each course to showcase the beauty of each wine and delight the senses.
The bike ride to Round Pond in the heart of Rutherford is about 8 miles from Yountville, with an equal 8-mile journey back. We find that most casual riders are comfortable biking an average of 3 to 5 miles between stops. If you’re uncertain of your fitness for this longer ride, this could be the perfect time to try an electric bike! Another option would be to break up the mileage with an additional winery stop before or after your visit to Round Pond. Just be sure to plan accordingly, and taste responsibly.