This post was contributed by site supporter, Jennifer Bowen.  Jennifer used to work within the healthcare sector – working to help people with their diet, fitness and nutrition. After a short career break to become a mom she decided to turn to writing instead and now pens articles on the topics she knows most about.



(Picture is a Hiking Boot Wine Bottle Holder Sculpture available from Amazon.)



Wine Trails and Hiking: Enjoying the Great Outdoors

It’s good news for wine lovers; studies show that a glass of vino can increase your heart health by increasing levels of ‘good’ cholesterol to guard against thickening of the arteries, as well as improving your mental health.  In moderation (as in all things), red wine can be good for you.  This really complements the idea of the wine tour, and of drinking in the glorious sunshine, surrounded by rolling hills of vines.  Wine, combined with outdoor exercise, is an ideal way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Wine Vacations

A vacation centered around wine tours can actually be the perfect way to enjoy the sights and culture of a country and often combines quality tasting with solid exercise amid the verdant landscape.  As vines tend to be grown on high hillsides that offer the best drainage and sunshine, you will be walking a significant amount during your wine tour.


Napa Valley is an impressive region of California’s wine country, with its tiered hills and striking seasonal colors.  There is a plethora of wineries here to choose from and Calistoga is a particularly popular choice for visitors from around the world with its strong tradition of hospitality and superior wine tasting.  There are many recreational activities for wine lovers here and throughout Napa Valley, from hiking to biking and kayaking as well as hot air balloon rides.  Wine tasting and recreational activities combined create a vacation that is extremely healthy and in Napa Valley there are many towns and parks to visit to ensure you maintain that healthy workout.  The writer Robert Louis Stevenson visited the region in the 1880s and announced ‘wine is bottled poetry’.  Napa Valley is a highly respected area for wine making and this coupled with its breathtaking scenery has created a vision of wine tasting and walking in the foothills that is quite unrivalled.


Charlottesville, Virginia is a significant wine trail destination, as well as offering cultural history.  The Jefferson Vineyards is one of the wineries to discover, its land sold by Thomas Jefferson to an Italian viticulturist many years ago.  There are many vineyards to stroll through in this picturesque setting, where visitors absorb the heritage of the region.  The Monticello Artisan Trail connects many points of interest in the Nelson and Albemarle Counties, such as galleries, restaurants and farms against a backdrop of hazy mountains.  Monticello, the home of Jefferson, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a major attraction within Charlottesville for those exploring the region.  There are also hiking and horse riding opportunities, kayaking and rafting as well as high ropes adventures and skydiving.  The Rivanna Trail and the Appalachian Trail are ideal hikes close to Shenandoah National Park.


Outdoor Exercise

Hiking remains a popular outdoor activity, according to the paper Healthy Exercise for All Campaign – Physical Fitness Test for the Community.  Hiking demands a level of cardiovascular fitness, as it is a moderate aerobic exercise, and participating in 30 minutes or so of this type of physical activity each day brings health benefits to the participant.  Blood circulation is improved as well as cardiopulmonary function and heart disease, stroke, hypertension and certain cancers are reduced in risk.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims that bone health also benefits from exercise.  Bone density and strength can be improved from exercise such as hiking, which is seen as one of the best bone building exercises as it is weight-bearing.


Physical activity such as hiking offers a moderate level of exercise to help you maintain a healthy weight and to increase your breathing and heart rate and thus give you a cardiovascular workout, but at a gentle pace.  Hiking can burn 185 calories in just half an hour and 370 calories in an hour.


Advice for Hiking through Wine Country

Walking is the most popular form of exercise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 30% of people preferring this over running, cycling or using cardiovascular equipment.


Whether you opt for sunny California, cultural Virginia, mystical Oregon or perhaps further afield to Tuscany in Italy, wine country is an ideal setting for a hiking vacation.  Because the terrain among vineyards is naturally hilly, you will find yourself burning an ample amount of calories as you walk.  The wine tour experience is one to be savored and it can be a heady one too; remember to drink responsibly as you traverse through the vineyards.  You may burn off the calories you absorb, but wine should always be treated with respect and tasted rather than gulped down.  It should complement your inner strength and help you maintain that healthy lifestyle, and this is only achieved if wine is drunk in moderation, according to government advice.  The beauty of hiking while you enjoy these wine tours is that you will be exercising for recreation, rather than focusing on your workout.


Wine and outdoor exercise complements each other significantly and ensures that you maintain an appropriate level of physical activity during your tour through wine country.


Citations and Further Reading accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014 accessed September 2014




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.