Olivia Brion (1884-1921)

This wine is an homage to Olivia Brion, suffragist, daring athlete, and descendant of a great French wine family. In 1905 Olivia, wearing long pants and short tresses, stunned the sporting world – and won a huge wager – by outrunning a locomotive from Canterbury to Maidstone. She later ignited a furor by publishing the love letters of her many paramours. Olivia was a lifelong adventurer, always pushing the boundaries and keeping the public on its toes. Each of our wines is inspired by her indomitable spirit.

Olivia’s storied race across England against a train…

The Inspiration for Olivia’s Origin Story


Annie Cohen Kopchovksy (known as Annie Londonderry, 1870-1947)

Our heroine, Olivia Brion, is our “based on a true story” Hollywood style retelling of many women’s inspiring tales. Her original story was inspired by Annie Londonderry, a Latvian immigrant to the United States, who in 1894 became the first woman to bicycle around the world. She was a revolutionary for her time, an entrepreneur, a voracious traveler, and a mother of three. At 5 feet, 3 inches and 100 pounds, Annie rode her 42-pound Columbia women’s bike around the world with only three days of prior cycling experience. Upon returning, she wrote “I am a journalist and a ‘new woman’, if that term means that I believe I can do anything that any man can do.” She ultimately won a wager for her trip around the world of $10,000, equivalent to 3 years of an average man’s salary.

First woman to ride her bike around the world…



Defiant and often mischievous (‘Taquine’), young Olivia caused an uproar in 1902 when she was spotted playing on the Côte de Lumière in her scandalous one-piece swimming costume. Her resulting arrest by the local gendarmes provoked a storm of gossip, and ignited her passion for the rights of women.

Olivia’s prequel story regarding her arrest for wearing a scandalous bathing suit…

The Inspiration for the “Taquine” story


Annette Kellerman (1887 - 1975)

was a professional Olympic swimmer, vaudeville star, film actress, writer and business owner. Kellerman was famous for advocating the right of women to wear a hydrodynamic one-piece bathing suit instead of the then restrictive full pantaloons. In 1907, at the height of her popularity, Kellerman was arrested on Revere Beach in Massachusetts for indecency – she was wearing one of her fitted one-piece costumes. Her resulting line of women’s swimwear, the “Annette Kellermans,” is the genesis of modern swimwear.

First woman to be arrested for wearing a “too-small” bathing suit



This wine celebrates Olivia Brion’s storied 9,000-mile road trip from Brooklyn to the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco and back again. Ever La Vagabonde, Olivia wagered a Harley Davidson Model 11F with Alexander Graham Bell, betting that she could beat Effie Hotchkiss’ transcontinental motorcycle record set earlier that year. As proof of her arrival in San Francisco, “The Jewel City,” Olivia made the world’s second transcontinental phone call, from San Francisco to New York City, exclaiming "Bike is mine, Graham. We'll toast my success on the eve of 1916!"

Olivia’s new transcontinental motorcycle record and visit to the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco..

The Inspiration for the “Les Vegabondes” story


Effie Hotchkiss (1895-1958) was a 26 year-old bank clerk from Brooklyn, New York. Having never left Brooklyn, Effie dreamed of seeing the world. Overstressed at work, she was counseled by a doctor to “...give up all work and take a complete rest.” She bought a motorcycle with money she inherited upon the death of her father and heeded her mother’s advice, as later quoted in an interview with The Harley Davidson Enthusiast of 1916, “Let’s go to California. It’s the furthest-place I can think of. We can see the exposition." That exposition was the 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco. The mother-daughter team left Brooklyn on May 2, 1915 on a Harley Davidson Model 11F with side-car combo. Fame was not their intention, Effie stated, “We merely wanted to see America…” Effie dispatched rattlesnakes and coyotes with a handgun, and wove around dirt roads and mountainous routes to become the first transcontinental female motorcyclist in August of 2015.

*As a side-note, the first transcontinental phone call was made in January 1915 from Alexander Graham Bell in New York to his assistant in San Francisco at the opening of the 1915 World’s Fair. This was the first time San Francisco appeared on the world stage after the 1906 earthquake and fire. It was dubbed “the Jewel City” due to the pioneering light display projected into the night sky.

First woman to ride a motorcycle across the United States…

Ancestry of Olivia Brion: How Cycles Brion Came to Be


During the high Middle Ages, three vineyards at the edge of the city of Bordeaux achieved fame for the exquisite quality of their red wines: Haut-Brion just north of the Pessac road, Laville Haut-Brion a quarter-mile to the south, and, between them, Basse-Brion. For fifteen generations these vineyards were lovingly cared for by the two branches of the Brion family– until the 1870s when the terrible advent of Phylloxera threatened to end forever this tradition of greatness.

The Haut-Brions dug in their heels: they mortgaged their chateaux to the hilt, tore out all their precious (but dying) vines, and replanted with the new American rootstock. Slowly they were able to restore their vineyards and winemaking.

Comte Pierre Gilles-Gascon de Blanquefort de la Basse-Brion, however, chose to abandon the wine world altogether. He sold his 32 acres for £200 to a British industrialist who built housing blocks for Bordeaux dockworkers. The Comte changed his name to Peter Brion and moved to Paris, where he invested the £200 in the new technology of bicycle making. His "farthing-penny" design did not sell well, and the disconsolate Peter declined into days of absinthe at the Lapin Agile. His daughter Mercedes took over the business and created a woman-friendly design with herself as model. This was a runaway success and restored the family fortune, paving the way for the even more brilliant success of Olivia Brion in the next generation.