Winemakers are a fit bunch. They hike steep vineyards shouldering bins of grapes. They crush, punch and pump thousands of gallons with their hands and feet. They shoot buzzer-beating three-pointers in the NBA, or intercept Peyton Manning and win the Super Bowl.
But to our knowledge, Margaux Alvarez is the only winemaker to carry a 100-pound log up a steep incline, then grapple with 240 pounds of chain links, army-crawl up and down three ramps in a cage, drag a 200-pound ball and chain, and smash through a concrete slab to conquer "Mount Olympus," all in under three minutes. By day, she runs a modest Paso Robles winery. But on Monday nights, Alvarez can be seen crushing tests of strength, speed and endurance on her quest to win season 2 of NBC's The Titan Games, hosted, naturally, by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
Alvarez (yes, it's "Margaux," like the Bordeaux first-growth) is a veteran CrossFit competitor and avid all-around trainer, but she also touts a diet including that sports drink of fellow peak performers like Lebron James and Dwyane Wade: wine. “As an athlete, wine helps my mental health. It helps me appreciate and celebrate the day while also acknowledging the struggle, embracing it and putting it on notice: Tomorrow, I will be back stronger,” she told Unfiltered via email. “I've learned as an athlete, and now a business owner, the journey is better appreciated if we celebrate the daily successes rather than waiting for those three minutes on top of the podium."
Alvarez, founder of the G.O.A.T. label, has embraced some particular struggles in winemaking as well. She started out planting grapes in the region of … Utah. “My winemaking started in 2011 when we began planting grapes just outside of Zion National Park," she recounted. She and her husband-partner "noticed our home wine we would make each year was gaining complexity with the red sandy soil and diurnal shifts; the Petite Sirah, in particular, was fantastic." The state's regulatory conditions were less favorable, so Alvarez began crushing, and then sourcing, grapes in Paso.
Of her shift from the grueling world of small-scale winemaking to big-time obstacle-course tackling, Alvarez explained, “I have found I gravitate to challenging situations to see what I am capable of achieving." The myriad, well, obstacles of obstacle-course racing especially appealed to Alvarez, as they pushed her to "grow and adapt physically and mentally.”
Adaptability is key to navigating the wine world's obstacles as well, and Alvarez has put a fitness spin on G.O.A.T. to make it stand out from the pack, hosting yoga-and-(then)-wine sessions. "[Yoga] is soothing, relaxing, and the transition to wine tasting is more comfortable than a highly metabolic workout,” she said. Now (spoiler) the Titan Games West Region Champion, Alvarez will take on the country's most elite athlete-masochists in the coming episodes—and then another vintage in the "highly competitive" arena of wine.
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