Noted award winning winemaker Adam LaZarre started Cycles Gladiator in 2005. His goal: to use 20 years of Central Coast vineyard experience to produce authentic wines connected to the land. It didn’t hurt that the provocative packaging had an iconic image of a naked red-headed siren on a bicycle to attract as many wine lovers as possible to Cycles Gladiator wines.
And it worked. Cycles Gladiator is the most risque wine label to ever get through the TTB (it’s also the most common wine label hung on wine retail shop walls).
Cycles was once one of dozens of bicycle companies during the Belle Epoque that plastered Paris with posters depicting women bearing it all – on bikes. Of course, bike sales flourished prompted by the momentum of the women’s suffrage movement. Bicycles, as Susan B. Anthony praised, literally liberated women from domesticity to work and vote.
Over a century later, the iconic image still resonated with wine lovers across the country.
The brand was so successful that corporate strategy dictated that LaZarre ramp up production to bolster sales – a win-win scenario for everyone except LaZarre and the wine-loving consumer. He moved on to make real wine elsewhere, and Adam’s Cycles’ story ended there.
Until 2013, when wine entrepreneur Dennis Carroll called him. “I want you to rescue the woman on the bike.”
Dennis Carroll had just acquired Cycles under his Wine Hooligans artisan wine brand reinvention project, and he needed to reunite the iconic siren and LaZarre to resurrect Cycles. He agreed without a moment’s hesitation (she is irresistible, after all), and now he’s back at the helm.
And the wine is back to its iconic roots. A new stamp adorns the back label that guarantees the wines’ Vineyard to Table™ sourcing, because LaZarre guides the whole process – from selecting the Central Coast’s best vineyards to overseeing the farming to complete control of the winemaking.
The result? Five expressive and tasty Central Coast wines – Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon – that match the label itself. They can stand on their own, or liberate your favorite Tuesday (and Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…) night dinner.
LaZarre’s philosophy: “It’s one thing to sell $300 bottles of wine to a few people. I love to produce really great wines that taste two to three times the price and to know that, on any given night, someone somewhere is enjoying my wine.”