20 pages, color printed on Felt Weave. 8.5 x 11 ''
For the past three-and-a-half years, I’ve wanted to publish a newsletter that’s all about cycling. Bikes have always been a core part of our ethos. Our name stems from the French term (literally ‘servant’) that’s come to represent the grunts in professional cycling who are solely devoted to helping the team leaders cross the finish line. The workhorses who traditionally might fetch beers and cigarettes, or give up their own bikes so the team's stars could shine. We’re all about service. We operate behind the winemakers, behind the labels. We’re the grunts of wine. (at least, those were our lofty founding ideals.)And cycling heavily influenced our aesthetic, from our colors to our website design to the look and feel of our shop (I even wrote a piece about that last point for Peloton Magazine). Bikes are everywhere at Domestique, even though our business relies solely on selling bottles of wine.I’ve been obsessed with bikes for most of my life, so the concept of the domestique was an easy analogy for me. But I don’t think I’d fully realized the connection between bikes and wine. On a surface level, the wine trade is full of people who ride bikes, often through some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. The vineyards and cellars we visit in Europe usually have stacks of bikes, from rusted beaters to carbon fiber wraiths. In a more philosophical sense, wine and bikes are both tools of pleasure that serve to illuminate the human experience. They allow for exploration at a specific pace, whether that’s cycling’s noteworthy straddle between running and driving, or the amount of time it takes to empty a bottle of wine with a friend. They slow time down and get our neurons firing.Anyway, up until now, publishing a “cycling newsletter” felt like a bit of a riskier proposition. Would we get a wave of unsubscribes? But at this point, our newsletter audience has come to expect that our newsletter kind of does whatever it wants. We do this to put out content that’s interesting to us, and hopefully our audience, not to promote inventory. Nonetheless, we think all of these pieces about cycling can also be read as reflections on wine. There’s the similarity of the urge to take photographs of your bike and your bottles. The experience of taking something that’s a hobby for most people and turning it into a profession. And that one bike accident – like that one bottle – that can change the entire trajectory of your life.We finally did a cycling newsletter (it's actually a beautiful digital zine, link here). And now, we've printed a small amount of hard copies, for putting on coffee tables and shoving into messenger bags.
And we’re really proud of it. The lineup includes some of our favorite people in bikes/wine/life, from professional cyclists, to professional winemakers, to professional somms, to our favorite DC wine bike messenger.