There are only a few things better than firing up the Harley Heritage Softtail (with a Springer front fork, rented this weekend) and heading out for a motorcycle ride through Napa and Sonoma Counties in now-sunny California, where I happen to be right now.
It’s the middle of the wine harvest, most of the tourists are gone, and the weather is perfect, so the locals head out to see the harvest in action. Although Napa only produces 4% of California’s wine by volume (according to the Napa Farm Bureau), it’s definitely the heart of the wine industry here, and accounts for 27% of it’s wine sales volume. The trees are just starting to turn and you can smell the sweet smell of grapes in the sun. Just don’t get squashed by the massive trucks hurtling by, carrying juicy grapes.
Getting away from cities. Folks in costumes. Plenty of cheap wine to go around. If this concept frightens you already, you might as well stop reading now.
Most people visiting the Czech Republic–some 8 million annually–come only to Prague. For those trying to get away from all those tourists, I suggest heading to the south eastern part of the country: the wine growing region of Moravia. September is a great month to go because the wine harvest is in full-swing and wine-tastings readily available.
I am not going to lie to you. Don’t expect Napa Valley or Bordeaux. Don’t even bother with the red wines. Too cold for them. The whites, however, range from Pinot Blancs to Rieslings, and are generally very good. Above all, the wine cellars are all different and their owners tend to be generous, eclectic types.
You can also do a bicycle tour of Czech/Moravian wineries. Just remember as of last year, you can actually get a ticket when riding your bicycle drunk in the Czech Republic. Thankfully, no “open container” laws, yet.