Wine trade cyclists raise £35,000 for charity    

A group of cyclists have raised as much as £35,000 for drinks trade charity The Benevolent following a four-day, 350km ride across Tuscany earlier this month.

Chris Mathews from Berry Bros & Rudd reaches our finishing point at Castello di Fonterutoli, following a 500m, 7km climb

Organised by Mentzendorff managing director Andrew Hawes, and dubbed the Giro di Toscana, the challenge was the tenth of its type, and smashed its fundraising target of £20,000 to make a new record total of £35,000.

Taking part in the challenge were 12 cyclists, including myself, Chris Mathews from Berry Bros & Rudd and Matthieu Barrère from Provençal wine producer Estandon, along with members of Mentzendorff, and some of their customers.

The riders were also joined by representatives from supporting Italian wineries, in particular, former pro cyclist Paolo Bianchini, from Montalcino’s Ciacci Piccolomini.

Making the ride especially challenging was the hilly – at times mountainous ­– Tuscan countryside, the gravel roads ­– called Strade Bianche – and the extreme temperatures: with the cycling ordeal running from 24-28 June, it coincided with a heatwave across southern Europe, with daily highs surpassing 40 degrees Celsius.

Left to right: Paolo Rivella, winemaker at sponsor winery in the Maremma, Fertuna; Mentzendorff’s Andrew Hawes; Paolo Bianchini, former pro-cyclist and co-owner at sponsor winery in Montalcino, Ciacci Piccolomini

Commenting on the fundraising result, Hawes said, “I would like to thank the 12 riders, our support team and our incredible hosts, Ciacci Piccolomini and Fertuna, for their amazing efforts. Thank you also to everyone who has supported us and donated to this great cause.”

Ross Carter, incoming CEO of The Benevolent also commented on the impressive total: “We are incredibly thankful to Team Mentzendorff for their on-going support of The Benevolent and a huge congratulations for nearly doubling their fundraising target and for doing so in such intense climatic conditions! The impact these funds have on the lives of our colleagues and friends in the drinks industry is significant and we would encourage others to take their lead, don the lycra, swimsuit or even parachute, and follow suit!”

All proceeds from the ride will go to The Benevolent, supporting new initiatives such as #NotAlone and Here to Help campaigns, targeting mental health issues within the drinks industry.

Mentzendorff has long been a supporter 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 ten rides collectively have now raised in excess of £135,000 for The Benevolent.

Mentzendorff’s Just Giving Page will remain open until the end of July. If you would like to make a donation to The Mentzendorff Charity Ride in aid of The Benevolent then you can do so by visiting this link.

I would like to add my sincere thanks to the generosity of friends, family and members of the wine trade who donated to my JustGiving page, who are, in alphabetical order:

Aisling Neil-Gallacher
Andrew Hawes
Ben Smith
David Robinson
Garyth Stone
Gavin Disney-May
Gayle Bartscherer
Joanna Locke MW
John Schmitt
Jonathan Pedley MW
Lydia Schmitt
Mark Martin
Paul Symington
Peter Nagle
Robert-Jan Temmink QC
Rupert Lovie
Samuel Schmitt
Sheila Crisp
Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW

I wrote daily updates during the ride, which can be read by clicking on the following links, should you be interested in a more detailed account of the ordeal.

WINE TRADE DOES GIRO DI TOSCANA: DAY 1 – THE MAREMMA

WINE TRADES DOES GIRO DI TOSCANA: DAY 2 – MAREMMA TO MONTALCINO

WINE TRADE DOES GIRO DI TOSCANA: DAY 3 – STRADE BIANCHE

WINE TRADE DOES GIRO DI TOSCANA: DAY 4 – IL FINALE VIA FONTERUTOLI

Read more:

WINE TRADE TO CYCLE 350KM FOR THE BENEVOLENT

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