Theme Ride Thursday: Spill the Red, Red Elderberry Wine

From the rich notes of Cabernet to the crisp tones of Chardonnay, join me in raising a glass to National Wine Day on May 25! Hey, did you even know there’s a day dedicated solely to our beloved wine? It’s like uncovering a hidden gem in the cellar of holidays! And of course, I’ve got a bucket playlist for your listening pleasure with 120 songs to choose from.

You’re probably well aware of my penchant for themed rides by now! Here at ICA, we’ve curated a treasure trove of hundreds of bucket playlists covering a vast array of engaging themes. While some are perfect for crafting entire playlists tailored to a specific profile, others lend themselves better to popping just a few select tunes into your playlist, offering a subtle nod to the occasion. Think of those quirky, offbeat celebrations like National Donut Day*—they may not be as mainstream as the big holidays, but they sure are a blast to sprinkle into your playlists now and then, adding a dash of fun and flavor to your rides. National Wine Day falls into that category—I typically will warm up with “Red Red Wine” by UB40, climb to “Spill the Wine” by Eric Bourdon, and then add another two or three songs to my playlist. 

(*and, no, I do not have a bucket playlist for donuts!)

Another option is to lead my popular, challenging, and enjoyable profile, Progressive Meritage. This profile has a wine-tasting theme (though the songs are not about wine), drawing inspiration from the term “Meritage,” which refers to a wine blend. Each long interval segment within the profile mirrors a different wine tasting; the “Meritage” at the end is a blend of the three preceding intervals. The intervals are long; I use four lengthy songs of 9–10 minutes each. As such, the only songs available for substitution from the wine-themed playlist would be the two warm-up tracks and the cool-down song, but that can be easily done to give a tasteful nod to National Wine Day!

Whatever you decide to do for National Wine Day, you may want to drop some wine knowledge on your fellow riders during your recoveries with these fun trivia tidbits:

  • Did you know that in ancient Rome, women risked their lives just to enjoy a sip of wine? Yes, in early Roman times, a husband was at liberty to kill his wife if he found her drinking wine. Thankfully, times have changed!
  • Speyer, Germany, holds the crown for the oldest bottle of wine, dating back to AD 325. Talk about aging like a fine wine!
  • Ever wonder why we raise our glasses and toast to health? It’s a tradition dating back to ancient Greece where the host of the dinner would have the first sip of wine to assure his guests that the drink was not poisoned.
  • And here’s a sobering thought: to match the antioxidants in a glass of wine, you’d need to guzzle down seven glasses of orange juice or a staggering 20 glasses of apple juice!
  • There were 1,500 bottles of wine on the Titanic when it set sail. Surprisingly, when divers went down to the wreckage, they were surprised to find that most of the wine bottles were still intact and drinkable after 100 years underwater!
  • There are some people who are actually scared of wine! It is known as oenophobia.

Now, let’s pour ourselves into some fantastic tunes from our wine-themed playlist:

Red Red Wine, UB40, 3:03, 89 bpm
This well-known reggae-inspired song sets the perfect tempo for a warm-up, recovery, or endurance track. (How about using it as a warm-up in the Progressive Meritage profile mentioned above?!) There is a longer version that is 5:20. 

Spill the Wine, Eric Bourdon, 4:02, 120 bpm
I’ll be playing this song in my class for a slow, moderate climb. The lyrics are funny, and my classic rock lovers will get a laugh out of it. It’s a track that is recognizable by most people, even younger riders since it’s been used in numerous movies and shows over the half-century since it was released in 1970, including Boogie Nights and Remember the Titans. Here’s some trivia to spill to your riders: the song was inspired by an accident when keyboardist Lonnie Jordan spilled wine on a mixing board!

Elderberry Wine, Elton John, 3:33, 127 bpm
How about this Elton John classic for a climb?

Grigio Girls, Lady Gaga, 3:00, 128 bpm
Lady Gaga sings about girlfriends who always have each other’s backs and pour their hearts out over Pinot Grigio wine; she wrote this song about her good friend who had breast cancer. 

Rosé, Melanie Pfirrman, 3:04, 88 bpm
This fun song combines English and Spanish and is a great recovery or endurance track. 

Chardonnay, Conor, Karra, 3:28, 96 bpm
Use this for some high-cadence leg surges to 96 rpm on the chorus.

Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Jerry Lee Lewis, 2:33, 92 bpm
This fast-paced ditty from the 1960s is made for having a little fun. Use it as a pre-class song, recover to it and giggle, or even try it for a hard, fast interval. 

One way to use some of the shorter silly songs in my bucket playlist below is as recoveries in between harder efforts. That’s when you pull out the Frank Sinatra, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, or other country songs about cheap wine.

There are over 120 songs in this playlist but in case I’m missing your favorite, let me know in the comments.

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