What does wine pair best with? Yoga, of course. Local yogis and oenophiles alike recently gathered on the Hotel Alessandra rooftop to get their sip and flow on for National Stress Awareness Month at Vino Vinyasa. The vinyasa-based yoga class, which doubles as a tasting, is the brainchild of Morgan Perry, a certified yoga instructor with a background in the wine industry, who's blended her two passions into a meditative mission one glass at a time. She's brought Vino Vinyasa to Los Angeles, Austin, and now Houston.
Yoga mats covered the chic downtown rooftop as the crowd flowed through the poses and learned wine tidbits along the way. Perry seamlessly peppered information on wine varietals and more while swapping out common yoga language like “standing splits” for “corkscrew poses.”
As the class wrapped up with a relaxing savasana, a pleasant surprise appeared next to the mats: two Texas-made white wines. After yoga, Perry led an informative and descriptive tasting, offering fun wine facts and party tricks along the way.
“[Yoga] was a really good way to relax before the wine tasting,” said Christie Hopson, who's practiced yoga for three years. "It was super chill and had a really good vibe."
Laura Pennino, an avid wine lover, saw an ad for Vino Vinyasa and felt compelled to try it out, especially once she learned of the charity tie-in—proceeds benefited The Women's Home. Once she got to class, Pennino said she felt transported to a “rooftop in LA,” and she left with a better understanding of white wine. "Being willing to try new experiences makes life more interesting,” she said.
We spoke to Perry, the brains behind the bottle, about the origin of Vino Vinyasa and its future in Houston.
What led you to start Vino Vinyasa?
I have a background in wine PR and marketing, so I started taking wine classes casually and eventually through Wine & Spirits Education Trust. While working in New York City at a creative agency, I got really into yoga as a way to decompress my mind and body. Once I quit my job, I decided to do a yoga teacher training and during the final class I had to teach, I incorporated some wine facts and ended with a wine tasting. Everyone in my training program loved it and convinced me that I needed to do something with the idea!
Why do you believe wine and yoga go hand-in-hand?
Yoga is a mindful practice, and so is wine tasting. Our goal is to tie it together purposefully, provide education and make both wine and yoga approachable. Vino Vinyasa classes give students something to focus on while they're holding the yoga poses, allowing them to absorb the information about the wine. The comparative wine tasting that happens after yoga allows students to tangibly see, smell, and taste what they learned on their mats. Having just come out of savasana means that they’re better able to focus on what's happening in their glass. Plus, everyone appreciates a glass of wine after a bit of work.
How did you choose The Women's Home as a beneficiary?
Monica Jones from Born Identity Project, which helps to bring awareness to nonprofit organizations and social causes affecting developing communities, actually chose The Women's Home as our benefactor because of their mission to build whole lives for women battling substance abuse, mental illness, and chronic homelessness. One of its most beneficial services in the residential treatment program aligned with our purpose to promote mental wellness during National Stress Awareness month.
Why are charity partnerships important to you?
As a female entrepreneur, I feel a close connection to nonprofits that help to strengthen and support women. Vino Vinyasa does several charity events each year. I love connecting with the community and being able to give back by doing something I love.
What's your plan to expand into the Houston fitness scene?
We have a strong presence in Austin after only a year, and I can only hope to hold as many events in Houston one day. I am on the lookout for a yoga teacher with a wine background or wine certification. Until then, I will be holding events in Houston every few months; we already have another in the works for June.
We have to ask: What's your favorite wine?
That's a tough one. I love champagne, but for a less pricey option, I go for a Crémant (made in the same method as champagne) or something like Ferrari Trento, which is a traditional method Italian sparkling wine. I have also recently discovered Pinot Bianco, which is a white grape that's a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir (a red grape) and may be my new go-to spring sipper. And of course, Domaine Tempier's Bandol Rosé—I am on the wait list for a bottle this year. Reds are a whole other story, but for spring and summer reds I drink a lot of Beaujolais Cru wines (Morgon, Fleurie, Saint-Amour...all different and all delicious!).
Follow @vinovinyasayoga on Instagram to learn about upcoming events in Houston.