NEARLY EVERYONE LOVES a good toast. And when it comes to finding a welcoming place to savor the best wine, LGBTQ+ travelers are finding more options than ever.
Multiple tour operators focused on the LGBTQ+ market create vacation itineraries that include wine tastings. HE Travel, for example, offers a Colors of Burgundy Gay Biking Tour in France that incorporates tastings of the region’s legendary varietals and cycling through the vineyards of the wine village of Pommard. At Detours Travel, meanwhile, a South Africa itinerary features stops in the famed wineries near Cape Town, with a ride on a winery train.
In the United States, Northern California proves a hot spot for LGBTQ+ wine enthusiasts. Napa Sonoma Pride, taking place every year in June, is an especially festive time to visit. This year’s celebration, for example, included LGBT Night at JaM Cellars Tasting Room, a “Drag Queens of the Valley” show, brunch at the JaM Cellars ballroom and a pride fundraiser at Tannery Bend Brewery.
An annual summer event in Sonoma, Gay Wine Weekend, is a three-day celebration hosted by an organization called Out in the Vineyard. This year it included a comedy night at Deerfield Ranch Winery, a dance party at Chateau St. Jean Winery and plenty of opportunities for tasting.
Travelers looking to explore Washington state’s wine country will do well if they check into Meritage Meadows Inn, a gay-owned property in Redmond, outside of Seattle, that can provide insider tips and recommendations about the best wineries.
LGBTQ+ wine enthusiasts may be surprised by the number of welcoming wine destinations. Oliver Winery, for example, is located in Bloomington, Indiana, ranked the fourth-gayest city in the country by The Advocate, the LGBTQ+ news magazine. The vineyard recently formed a partnership with Cardinal Spirits, which donates 10 percent of the proceeds from its Pride Vodka to LGBTQ+ organizations in various regions of the country.
In New York state, wine lovers head to the Finger Lakes region for tastings and events at venues like Ravines Wine Cellars, which reports an impressive number of LGBTQ+ members in its Wine Club. Ravines also supports FLX Pride, the annual Finger Lakes LGBTQ+ pride festival.
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A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.
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