Fuel Up: As we rolled into the second half of the Fruit and Wine Byway, we started thinking about lunch. Sure, we’d been grazing as we went, but all that pedaling works up an appetite. After a stop at Mesa Park Vineyards, a family-run operation with a half-dozen reds and whites to try (our favorite, the Barn Owl Red), it was time to cross over the Colorado River and plan for a refuel.
You can cross the river on 32 Road, but it’s basically a highway. Instead, follow the dotted red line on the Fruit and Wine Byway Map that shows the “preferred bike route,” a bike and pedestrian path accessed from C ½ Road. From there we regrettably blew right past Dreamcatcher Alpacas and Parker Pottery in our quest for food. Fortunately, we found it around the corner at Maison La Belle Vie Winery, which fittingly translates as “The House of the Good Life.”
We ordered fresh bread, prosciutto, and cheese, and a sampler of three red wines. We could have sat outside under the willow trees, but stayed in to talk with owner John Barbier. He grew up in the Loire Valley in France, where his family has been making wine for 150 years. Barbier planted his 4.5-acre vineyard eight years ago. He introduced his first vintages in 2006 and now produces Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot, several red blends, rosé, and the notable Vin de Peche—a Muscat fortified with peaches using a family recipe that has been around since the late 1800's.
Do Over: Maison La Belle Vie was a fitting finale to our bike tour of the Grand Valley on the Fruit and Wine Byway. We had only two more miles to pedal to our accommodations at the Wine Country Inn, and enough time to circle back and check out the alpacas and pottery we’d missed on the way to lunch. Now, if only they’d create a Fruit and Wine Byway in Paonia...
Jayme Moye writes about all things adventure. Follow her on Twitter (@JaymeMoye).