Wine trade to cycle 350km for The Benevolent

Mentzendorff managing director Andrew Hawes has orchestrated a 350km bicycling challenge in aid of The Benevolent, and the riders will set off next week.

Mentzendorff MD Andrew Hawes outlines the route for 2015’s Tour de l’Oc, in aid of The Benevolent

In the tenth charity ride of its type, members of the Mentzendorff team will once again be donning their lycra and dusting off their bikes to ride long distances across winelands in a bid to raise money for the drinks trade charity, The Benevolent.

Starting next Monday, this year’s Mentzendorff Charity Ride has been dubbed the Giro di Toscana as it covers the hilly terrain of Tuscany, taking in some of Italy’s most famous wine regions.

Lasting for four days from 24-28 June, the challenge will be led, once more, by Mentzendorff MD Andrew Hawes, and will comprise a dozen riders from the wine trade; Mentzendorff’s own team – including ex-professional rider and owner of Ciacci Piccolomini, Paolo Bianchini – and private individuals supporting the cause.

The 350km route will include the legendary Strade Bianche roads of Tuscany, white take their name from a notoriously slippery white gravel surface, and will see the riders pass between supporting wine producers, starting in Fertuna in the Maremma and heading north inland to Ciacci Piccolomini via Montalcino, before ending in Siena.

All funds raised from the ride will go to The Benevolent, supporting new initiatives such as #NotAlone and #HeretoHelp campaigns – which target mental health issues within the drinks industry.

This year the riders are aiming to reach an ambitious £20,000 in support of this great cause.

I will be among the riders, and hope to raise over £1,000 for The Benevolent, and you can see my fundraising page here.

Mentzendorff’s James Mckenna and myself (right) atop Mt Ventoux, one of the climbs from the 2015 Benevolent charity ride

Mentzendorff have long been supporters of The Benevolent and the work they do to support the drinks industry.

The first Mentzendorff Charity Ride commenced in 2005 with a route taking participants from Calais to Champagne to mark the arrival of Champagne Ayala into the Bollinger Family Group (SJB). The theme of Mentzendorff’s charity rides has continued to focus on their family-owned producers.

Since 2005, there have been nine Mentzendorff Charity Rides, visiting some stunning winery locations including Bodegas Roda in Rioja, Domaine Chanson in Burgundy, and Taylor’s Port in the Douro Valley.

The most recent ride took place in 2015 riding from M. Chapoutier’s base in Tain Hermitage in the Northern Rhône via Mont Ventoux to Colliure on the Spanish border. All nine rides collectively have raised well in excess of £100,000 for The Benevolent.

Andrew Hawes, managing director of Mentzendorff commented: “Mentzendorff has supported The Benevolent with charity cycle rides for 14 years and we are delighted to continue to do so this year. I am very grateful to everyone in the wine trade who takes part in The Mentzendorff Charity Ride, as well as all the dedicated supporters who help us raise money for such a great cause. This year, I am planning to cycle the ‘Giro di Toscana’ on an old vintage bike from 1987, just to make the challenge even harder!”

Chris Porter, chief executive from The Benevolent added: “The Mentzendorff team have yet again raised their own bar and this gives them the sternest challenge yet. The Mentzendorff Ride is amazing on several levels – the route will be tough enough and with Andrew Hawes setting himself an even sterner test by riding a vintage bicycle for the duration – surely this is worth double sponsorship! On behalf of The Benevolent to Team Mentzendorff – good luck and thank you!”

Members of Team Mentzendorff will be posting regular updates on Instagram, and you can follow their progress @mentzendorff_co using #MentzGdT.

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