Wine Tasting and Horseback Riding

Wine tasting and horseback riding make a wonderful mix.  Oenology and equestrianism are both as much art as science and they attract enthusiastic fans partly on account of their tremendous aesthetic appeal.  Thus it seems appropriate that many riding tours should include visits to wineries where wine tasting is offered.  It gives riders a chance to practice a sport they love and at the same time to explore the tastes of different wines while touring beautiful, rural countryside, often winding through vineyards.  Somehow too it seems fitting that in visiting these wineries (many of which are centuries old) we should do it on horseback as travelers did of old.

A prime example of an equestrian wine tasting tour is in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France; famous for its wine since Roman times.  One of my personal favorites is our trip in the Malbec area of France, admired for its grapes and also for the foie gras and other delicious local dishes.  The castles and medieval walled towns on this riding tour are as picturesque as a dream from a delightful fairy tale.  This is rural France at its best with deep river valleys, oak forests favored by wild truffles and wide vineyards on fertile hillsides.

Tuscany is also famous for its fine wines as well as its superb cuisine.  The Feast of the Conquerors offers the perfect chance to savor some of Tuscany’s best wines accompanied with fabulous menus while enjoying the luxury accommodations of a remodeled castle.  Consider also the Villages and Vintages Ride in the renowned Chianti region of Italy where tasting a variety of wines and using them in harmony with sumptuous meals is one of life’s great pleasures.

Of course California is also quite well known for its fine wines, but the wine country there is so built up now that there are few rights-of-way for horses and extended riding tours are not possible.  Nevertheless there are excellent wine tasting rides available in some of the world’s best vineyard country without crossing the Atlantic such as the delightful wine tasting tour in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  As on all these rides, an exhilarating day in the saddle will give you a marvelous appetite for the food and drink.

The wonderful old custom of the stirrup cup runs deep in the history of the Western World, perhaps in France more than anywhere although it was certainly de rigeur at fox hunts in England and Ireland and remains so today.  This charming old custom closely intertwines drinking a glass of wine or spirits with horses and riding.  It also symbolizes a comforting good luck toast before embarking on a journey.  As they say in French, “Vive le coup de l’étrier”, “Long live the stirrup cup.”

We offer riding trips related to "Wine Tasting and Horseback Riding" in the following destinations:

Castles and Caves in Malbec

Trip: Castles and Caves in Malbec

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The ride traverses a region of spectacular scenery considered by National Geographic to be one of the world’s last unspoiled and undiscovered earthly paradises. Begin in the fertile vineyards of Cahors with its famous... Read more

Trails of Andalusia

Trip: Trails of Andalusia

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This is an exciting offering in the provinces of Seville and Huelva, a great destination for horseback riding in Andalusia during the winter months. This region is the cradle of the Andalusian horse, a... Read more

Tuscan Villages and Vintages

Trip: Tuscan Villages and Vintages

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The Villages and Vintages horseback riding holiday in Italy is based out of a comfortable and elegant 18th century farmhouse in Chianti, Tuscany. Daily rides on well-trained horses allow you to venture through vineyards,... Read more

Willamette Coast Ride

Trip: Willamette Coast Ride

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Enjoy all Oregon has to offer by horseback, complete with wine tastings and beach riding. During this riding tour in the Pacific Northwest you will stay in comfortable inns starting in the burgeoning wine country of... Read more

Guest Reflections

"We had a wonderful time. The horses were so well trained, yet lively and eager to go at any pace, so it was exciting riding yet I felt secure. The food and wine were of exceptionally good quality; and the picnic lunches were... Read More"

Ellen Briggs May 2013

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