Uncork the Burn: Try Wine Workouts with Venus Williams, Dries Mertens, Guy Called 'Winestache'

Cellar rats and celebs alike are trading dumbbells for magnums to stay fit during COVID-19 lockdown

Uncork the Burn: Try Wine Workouts with Venus Williams, Dries Mertens, Guy Called 'Winestache'
Work those Cabs: From left, winemaker Tom Monroe, soccer star Dries Mertens, tennis champ Venus Williams and comedian Amy Schumer get fit. (Instagram / @winestache, @driesmertens, @venuswilliams)
Apr 23, 2020

Wine has been doing a lot of heavy lifting for many of us passing the time while sheltering in place, but some enterprising fitness buffs have made wine a literal heavy lift. Over the past few weeks, wine lovers, celebrities and athletes all over the world have been sharing their secrets for staying fit at home—by incorporating wine bottles, and even cases, into their workouts.

Oregon winemaker Tom Monroe and his partner, Andrea Slonecker, were shocked by the expensive prices for weights when they searched online, so they turned to their basement stash of bottles to stay fit. They went so far as to create wine-workout follow-at-home videos for their friends too, and Monroe, co-owner of Division Wine Co. in Portland, has been sharing them online under his nom d'Instagram @winestache. “We were like, why don't we do something that’s uplifting or inspirational for how we're gonna get through this time and stay healthy, and encourage people to stay in?” Slonecker told Unfiltered.

Slonecker said she likes bottles of Roilette Fleurie 2018 for burning those shoulders, while Monroe works his core with Raveneau magnum “wood choppers.” Monroe has even been using cases of sample wines from his winery for squats. “It is a surprisingly good workout. We use magnums and boxes of wine to increase the weight, but even if you just have single bottles, just increase the reps,” Slonecker advised. No bottles have shattered so far, thanks to their carpet floor.

Professional athletes have also been hopping on the latest fitness craze. Dries Mertens, Belgian soccer player and striker for Italian club Napoli, showed off his one-legged squats with a large-format bottle hoisted over his head in a video he posted on Instagram with the caption “a little bit of wine is the solution to a lot of problems #quarantinelife.” Swimmer and Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson has also been lifting bottles in her (dryland) workouts.

Tennis champ Venus Williams made it a group effort, hosting her sister Serena and comedian Amy Schumer on one of her daily Instagram livestream workouts. We were particularly impressed when Venus and Schumer balanced bottles of Champagne on their heads as they practiced squats.

Up for the challenge? Some pointers: An average bottle of wine weighs about 2.75 pounds, while a case clocks in at 40, though some can be closer to 50. And if you're new to this, best to keep it on carpet, just in case.


Wine Storage Hack: If You've Got Nowhere, Pull Out the Stairs

Murray Berrill hates dead space. So when his sister-in-law’s family asked him to build a wine cellar into their stairs, he was happy to step up. Berrill, a veteran contractor in Victoria, Australia, told Unfiltered it isn’t unusual to have storage in staircases. But as for slotting wine racks right into the steps, that was a first.

Staircase wine cellar
Murray Berrill's stairway to heaven (Murray Berrill Constructions/Facebook)

“I don’t mind a drop on the odd occasion, but not enough to warrant a cellar,” Berrill said via email. “My clients, on the other hand, are big lovers of good wine.”

For this project, Berrill had a wide staircase to work with, approximately five feet across, which allowed him to fit two drawers side by side and offer easier access to the wines; each drawer has a capacity of nearly 200 pounds. As for temperature control, Berrill is unsure of how ambient temperature will fluctuate with the seasons. But “it is well insulated, with the concrete at the base as thermal mass,” Berrill said. “We have a temperature sensor in the cellar, and power if a temperature-control unit is needed.”

The total cost of the project was AUS$5,900 (US$3,700), and the "cellar" holds 156 bottles, most of which will be from the local Central Victoria zone, according to Berrill’s sister-in-law. Berrill's not looking to hide his secrets as well, though: He's working on a video to show others how to build a wine stash into their own staircases.


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