Andy Levine says that he created DuVine Adventures at his kitchen table with a website and a glass of wine in 1996. Fifteen years later, Levine has built the Boston-based DuVine into one of the leading biking companies in the US, offering wine-infused cycling trips to Italy and France, the Czech Republic and Argentina, not to mention Croatia, Utah and Napa/Sonoma. Levine is serious about the bikes he uses, about the wine his guests drink, and about the hotels where they sleep. He’s clearly doing something right. National Geographic Traveler singled out DuVine's Mendoza, Argentina trip as a Tours of a Lifetime in 2009 and National Geographic Adventure dubbed DuVine one of the Best Adventure Travel Outfitters for 2009. I recently had a chance to ask the perenially enthusiastic Levine about his company.
Andy, I like your new mailing piece, a spiral-bound catalog that's part calendar, part postcard collection, with lots of great color photos of castles, wine bottles and shiny, happy people on bikes. I even like the photo of you in the red Alpha Romeo. What's your background and how did you get into this business?
I am an adrenaline junkie. I love moving fast. I am not a fan of sitting still and I love competing. I am on a mission to learn every day, yet I fully understand the rewards of enjoying a peaceful moment in a gorgeous location.
I have always been a planner and producer. I have always loved putting on events and shows. I did it in college –bicycle races, film festivals and so on. Although during that time I never made a dime and usually lost money, I had a blast seeing people enjoy and connect. This laid the groundwork for my future. I wanted to bike around Europe and to be a stranger in a foreign country. While I was doing this, the internet started and I put up a website, simply wanting to share the love. Fifteen years later, with hard work and great people, we are making an impact in the travel industry and a major impact in the lives of our guests and our vendors. Never will I buy lists or trash my competition. I like my business like my food – organic, real and simple.