We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
606 posts
42 reviews
Save Topic
San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

My husband and I will have about 3 days free to visit outside San Jose (he is on a business trip). We like wine but have been to Napa & Sonoma numerous times -- looking for something new and closer to San Jose. And if possible, pick a destination where we might be able to bike....or hike. He also thought we should drive through Silicon/Palo Alto to see area and Google campus. Any thoughts on where to base ourselves outside San Jose for easy access? We also like to walk to dinner at night so something with local restaurants versus chains would be our preference. Thank you.

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
16,152 posts
111 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

There are many wineries in the Santa Cruz mountains as well as a small wine region in south Santa Clara county near Morgan Hill. For road biking, the area outside Morgan Hill is great - most of the wineries are along Watsonville Rd and you can branch out on bikes from there. For hiking, there is plenty of that in the SC mountains as well.

If you want something on the coast, both SC and Monterey fit the bill. Both are very bikeable.

Bay Area, CA
Level Contributor
149 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

For a combination of scenery, biking, and throw in some kayaking, Monterey/Pacific Grove/Carmel would be a good choice. I just did the 17 mile drive on bicycle with my wife, and it was a lot of fun. Coming from the Pacific Grove Gate, there's one climb up from the Carmel gate area of a few hundred feet, otherwise it was mainly small rollers. I know there some wineries in the area, but I don't really drink so someone else can provide info there.

But, if your focus is more on the cycling aspects (i.e., if you are fairly serious roadies), and you might be looking for some climbing, then there are some well-known classics in the area. Old La Honda (1300 ft of climbing) is kind of a benchmark climb. If you climb up MonteBello Rd. in Cupertino., you can visit Picchetti Winery on the lower slopes, or Ridge Winery about 2000 steep ft later. udctours.com rents road bikes locally. There's also good road riding in Santa Cruz, but I'm less familiar with that. I'm a roadie, but if you are into mountain biking, I've heard the Soquel Demonstration Forest is good.

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
1,260 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

Need some more detail about what kind of cycling, flat and casual? or more hilly and challenging? Does the route need to be near wineries, or are they going to be two separate activities?

Carmel / Pacific grove area is great. Livermore has a lot of wineries as well, and is popular with roadies. But for me it's flat and hot and no shade, so I'm not into it for cycling.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
28,447 posts
6,008 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

In San Jose, we just went to Big Dog Vineyards

http://www.bigdogvineyards.com/

Very nice tasting experience.

There is a very good county park to hike at along that route.

Ed Levin

sccgov.org/sites/…Ed-Levin.aspx

There is a lake, plus lots of hiking trails

Or you could consider if you want to bike to wineries go to Livermore area. This area is very good place to ride bikes between wineries as they have done a good job of putting in a paved bike/walking route (separate from the highway which makes it more pleasant). There is also restaurants, wine bars, etc. to enjoy.

www.yelp.com/biz/livermore-cyclery-livermore

http://www.livermorewineandcycletours.com/

Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
606 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

Lot of great information here...but in looking at Livermore, most wineries are closed early in the week. We are staying Monday through Wednesday. Would we have been wine tasting options in Santa Cruz? Thank you.

Oregon
Level Contributor
2 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

You can always visit J. Lohr, https://www.jlohr.com/. They are located in Downtown San Jose, are open daily from 10-5 and have a wide selection to choose from.

My favorite day in Santa Cruz is to hit up MJA vineyards, yelp.com/biz/mja-vineyards-westside-tasting-… There are like 3 other wineries right in the same area. So you can get your drink on, then go get some lunch at West End Tap & Kitchen, http://westendtap.com/. Then go for a walk on West Cliff to burn off your buzz.

Sunnyvale...
Destination Expert
for San Jose
Level Contributor
5,998 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

#2's post: "you can visit Picchetti Winery on the lower slopes, or Ridge Winery"

I believe that these two only have their tasting rooms open on weekends. You might want to check the hours for all of the wineries that you want to visit. Do you know what kind of wine you like?

I like Fogarty off Skyline in Woodside also, like their lighter pinots--speaking as someone who likes Burgundy. I like my Rhones too, that being said, Ridge gets a bit too full-bodied for me.

Edited: 11 August 2014, 16:09
Menlo Park...
Level Contributor
5,454 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

all good advice. I think that if you want a sense of the valley, you should base yourselves in Palo Alto and explore University Avenue to appreciate the vibrancy of the place. Also lots of great restaurants and stores. University Ave ends at Palm Drive where Stanford starts. Lots of road biking opportunity into the hills behind campus. Rolling hills or steeper climbs through the redwoods. maybe I'll see you out there.

Sunnyvale...
Destination Expert
for San Jose
Level Contributor
5,998 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

post #8: "you should base yourselves in Palo Alto and explore University Avenue to appreciate the vibrancy of the place."

Some of those locations in particular are big gatherings for VC's. That is indeed an interesting vibrancy to watch. As you bicycle from there through Atherton and Woodside on the way through the redwoods, you can look at how these VC's live too.

Milwaukee, WI
Level Contributor
606 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: San Jose...wineries, Silicon Valley, biking?

Thanks for all your suggestions. Right now, we are planning to stay in Santa Cruz for one evening and then start heading back towards San Jose (flying out of San Fran) for 1 night. We are hoping for a visit at Google headquarters (fingers crossed, we know an employee) and see the Computer History Museum. Since I am mainly finding large/expensive hotels in downtown San Jose....are there better cities near Silicon Valley to base ourselves? We might still like to do a short bike trip during the day (will need rentals) and possibly walk to dinner from our hotel. Any suggestions would be appreciated as this area is fairly unknown to us. We could stay in San Jose but what area???

Get answers to your questions about San Jose