I recently had the privilege of taking a family vacation to Europe. We met up with friends and family along the way and enjoyed both “touristy” and local experiences. One of the most amazing and authentic was part of the Second Annual Gastronomic Corpinnat Festival held at Llopart winery just outside of Barcelona. We got a fantastic tour (Gracias Marti!), a delicious meal (Gracias Osmosis), and learned about the history of the winery, which dates back as far as 1385.
Llopart primarily produces sparkling wines. As many know, “Champagne” comes from the Champagne region of France, whereas sparkling wine from Italy is known as Prosecco and Spain is known as “Cava”, the Spanish word for cave. All three wines are unique based on region and types of grapes. What I didn’t appreciate is the way in which the harvesting, fermentation and aging processes impact the quality.
As I learned, Llopart is 100% organic and harvested by hand. Unlike many other producers, Llopart owns the process end-to-end, from the growing of the grapes to the fermentation and bottling. Quality and transparency is of utmost importance. Llopart prioritizes the whole process and would rather produce fewer cases of wine at a much higher quality than to mass produce and sacrifice quality. Frustrated with the declining quality of other producers in the Cava category, they chose to break off and establish their own category of sparkling wine, along with 11 other members, called Corpinnat.
As I listened to Marti share the history of Llopart, I couldn’t help but observe his passion for the product and the pride he took in the process. I can only imagine how difficult it was to leave a category as well known as “Cava” behind and to forge forward with the whole new, and much lesser known, category of Corpinnat. However, these wine growers made this bold decision in the name of staying true to their beliefs around quality, transparency and differentiating from the competition rather than a “race to the bottom” seen with cheaper brands, many of which are now selling for €4 or €5 (or approximately $4-5) per bottle.
What the heck does this all have to do with Alkalign?
I feel the same way about Alkalign as it relates to the fitness industry. Like sparkling wine, not all fitness offerings are created equally and not all companies prioritize quality over the bottom line, or the impact to the end consumer. There are as many mass-produced brands in wine as there are in fitness, and the more mass-produced, the more difficult it is to maintain quality.
Alkalign’s priority has always been quality, both in terms of the product we deliver and the service and personal attention we provide to our clients. An extensive amount of research, exercise science and planning goes into what we teach, how we teach, including training and mentoring our instructors, and, most importantly, the WHY behind everything we do. I always say that it would be sooooo much easier to jump on the fast-fitness bandwagon and advertise what is proven to sell in the short-term vs invest in what is proven to work in the long-term. But it goes against everything in my constitution and against everything Alkalign was founded upon. I wouldn’t feel right about teaching exercises that are unsafe or that accelerate wear and tear on joints. I wouldn’t feel right participating in the toxic messaging and culture that has preyed on our insecurities for far too long. As much as I know that not everyone appreciates the difference between Cava vs. Corpinnat, barre vs. Alkalign, or flashy vs. effective, I know that it will not stop Alkalign from swimming upstream. Since our inception in 2015 we have been establishing a new category of fitness that focuses on the longevity of joints and the improved quality of life by reducing risk of pain and injury, both mental and physical. While this shift may not matter to many (yet), we are motivated and inspired by those for whom it matters A LOT.
I’ve tried *almost* as many sparkling wines in my lifetime as I have workouts. And to be honest, despite loving wine,I have never loved anything bubbly because it gives me a headache and generally leaves me feeling icky. The same can be said for most workouts I’ve experienced. Despite loving movement, most forms of exercise leave me feeling worse, with the exception of Alkalign, and now, Llopart.
Llopart is to sparkling wine what Alkalign is to exercise. Despite sampling several flights of Llopart, I felt amazing. Not tipsy. Not over-sugared. And absolutely NO headache. Like Alkaign, it felt good in my body and was truly enjoyable both in the moment and the next day.
I hope to follow in Llopart’s footsteps and that Alkalign’s commitment to quality and willingness to put people in front of profits will secure us a place in history for generations to come.