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BICYCLING THROUGH NAPA: A WINE COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

 NAPA VALLEY, Calif., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Bruce Cakebread is disappointed that so many of his guests turn down his invitation for a spin around the Napa Valley. "They love the idea of seeing the Napa Valley with an expert," says Cakebread, winemaker at his family's winery, "but they don't like the idea of supplying the horsepower themselves."
 Despite the appeal of hot air balloons, gliders or stretch limos, Cakebread firmly believes that the bicycle is the perfect way to see America's most famous wine region.
 "When is comes to really seeing an area, getting a feel for it, and getting to know it first hand, nothing compares to a bicycle," says Cakebread.
 "Everyone always talks about microclimates -- the small variations in temperatures and sunlight that make each vineyard unique," he says. "But you don't really understand them until you come around a corner on a bike and FEEL the difference on your own face."
 To avoid the sometimes overwhelming weekend traffic, Cakebread recommends an early start. "I suggest staying at one of the great bed and breakfast inns we have in the Napa Valley, and then getting on the road before eight in the morning. That sounds early, but it gives you two full hours to cover the busy section of the road before the traffic. And you'll get to see a quiet, peaceful valley that the others miss."
 An early start can lead to a break for coffee and associated delights at the Oakville Grocery, or a deli lunch at Pometta's Deli. "It's perfect. We start in the cool of the morning, watch the fog burn off the valley, and then stop for a snack. By the time we're done, the sun is out, it's warming up, and the wineries have opened their tasting rooms, and we can take it easy on the way back."
 Of course, Cakebread highly recommends his own wines, but adds: "There are a lot of good wines in Napa these days. When we opened Cakebread Cellars 20 years ago, you had to search for the top wineries, but these days, you can find many more good wines."
 To really capture the essence of the Napa Valley, Cakebread suggests taking a road less traveled. "Highway 29 can be crowded, especially on the weekends," he notes. "But if you take the trouble to plan your route along the side roads, you'll find a very peaceful ride, some wonderful wineries, and great picnic spots under almost every tree.
 "During the harvest, you can stop and see the grapes, you can even smell the grapes fermenting as your ride by the wineries," says Cakebread. "It's a magical time in a magical valley. It's really what Napa is all about."
 For those first-timers who would like a guided tour, Cakebread recommends Backroads. "They really know the area, and they have a great system. They follow you with a support van, so they can give a lift to anyone who is getting tired, as well as carry the supplies for the trip." Supplies include everything from a delightful picnic lunch to the bottles of wine the cyclists buy during their tour.
 "They have a great system," says Cakebread. "It's the next best thing to living here!"
 Supplemental information to Bicycling in Napa:
 Food:
 The Oakville Grocery 707-944-8802
 7856 St. Helena Highway
 Oakville, CA
 Pometta's Deli 707-944-2365
 7787 Highway 29
 Oakville, CA
 Bicycling Packages:
 Backroads 510-527-1555
 1516 5th Street
 Berkeley, CA 94710
 Bicycle Rentals:
 St. Helena Cyclery 707-963-7736
 1156 Main St.
 St. Helena, CA 94573
 Palisades Mountain Sports 707-942-9687
 1330 Gerrard
 Calistoga, CA 94515
 Winery Tour/Tasting:
 Cakebread Cellars 707-963-5221
 8300 St. Helena Highway
 Rutherford, CA 94573
 -0- 9/3/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications, 707-255-7667, for Cakebread Cellars/


CO: Cakebread Cellars ST: California IN: FOD LEI SU:

TM-LH -- SFFNS01 -- 8680 09/03/93 07:32 EDT
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Date:Sep 3, 1993
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