Field Note #206: Cycling for a Cause in Italy

Group arrival at Pessione.jpg

Recently, 45 bartenders from Europe and the US came together to bike 240km through the Italian countryside for the La Classica cycling project. The grand race began south of Milan in Pavia on September 16 and concluded in Pessione on September 17. The event was hosted by Martini, a multinational Italian vermouth and wine-making company. As a part of a larger Martini Racing Ciclismo project, the company’s goal is to build community and improve wellness within the hospitality industry. Not only that, but this year’s La Classica event raised over $2,000 for Wine To Water.

Martini was drawn to Wine To Water’s mission during the planning stages of the La Classica, when Roberta Mariani, Martini Global Brand Ambassador, and Jacob Briars, Bacardi Global Advocacy Director, were searching for a way to give back through the company event. Briars suggested Wine To Water, as our founder was previously a bartender and they recognized just how precious the gift of water is for people around the world.

Wine To Water is thrilled to have partners with such hearts for service and adventure. Not only do we share with them our passion for wine as a celebration of life, but for experiencing the best of what life has to offer in community with others. Their spirit was evident throughout the La Classica event, pouring from each participant in celebration despite the challenge of biking for two days over arduous hills for such an extensive distance. Participants of the La Classica were in high spirits from beginning to end.

Rich Woods, Head of Spirit and Cocktail Development at SAMBA Brands.

Rich Woods, Head of Spirit and Cocktail Development at SAMBA Brands.

What has made this weekend so unique is the camaraderie: by the second day you are motivating people you’d never met before through the tough sections because you know you’re going to rely on them half a mile up the hill - we all now have this shared experience.
— Rich Woods

Bartenders from all over the world train for weeks as part of the Martini Racing Ciclismo program, which was recently launched during Martini Racing’s 50th anniversary year to build community and a healthy lifestyle among bartenders through group cycling. Each bartender earned their place in the La Classica based on their attendance on Martini Racing Ciclismo spin classes, organized rides and cycling performance tests.

Tim Etherington-Judge, who founded Healthy Hospo to build a healthier, happier hospitality industry, partnered with Martini to run spin classes in London and cycled in the La Classica. He was inspired by the dedication of everyone involved. Whether they were experienced athletes or new to cycling, he saw their passion and joy for what they could be a part of while contributing to something bigger than themselves.

Watching their grit over these two days, riding up each punishing hill, never complaining, being cheered on by their industry colleagues - and then telling me how their fitness has transformed them both mentally and physically - that makes me incredibly proud to be part of it.
— Tim Etherington-Judge

Roberta Mariani found herself emotional at the sight of her company’s project coming together in such a powerful way. She was moved by the support of every participant and seeing how every challenge was overcome by the power of community. Wine To Water is so grateful to have such a like-minded partner giving to our cause. From one global community to another, we are certain the Martini Racing Ciclismo program will continue to grow and serve others well.


Wine To Water

Carsyn Bernhardt