Photo: La Grande Maison © LA GRANDE MAISON
FOR MANY TRAVELERS, THERE’S NOTHING better than sitting back with a glass of wine and taking in the local scenery. And LGBTQ+ wine enthusiasts can find an array of interesting ways to enjoy fine wine with a rainbow twist.
California is a naturally popular place for wine lovers of every stripe. A company called Out in the Vineyard creates upscale itineraries and events in California’s wine country for LGBTQ+ travelers and their friends, including luxury hotel stays and exclusive winery tours. Its annual Gay Wine Weekend, in July in Sonoma, is complete with music, dancing, tastings, a Champagne brunch and a wine auction.
Accommodation options are extensive in Sonoma County; among those “TAG Approved,” indicating an LGBTQ+-friendly attitude, are the Applewood Inn & Spa in Guerneville, the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country and Hyatt Vineyard Creek Santa Rosa.
Across the Atlantic, wine enthusiasts can explore France’s famed product while staying at La Grande Maison, a bed-and-breakfast in the Loire Valley vineyards offering one- to three-day tours. And in Italy, travelers can sign up with Italy Gay Travels for a Foodies Tour that includes wine tasting.
South Africa’s wine country is another world-class destination with a decidedly progressive and welcoming vibe. Cape Town Gay Tours offers bespoke excursions, including a Winelands Tour that visits as many as four vineyards in one day, with a cellar tour, multiple wine tastings and stops in the scenic towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. For the most upscale experience, opt for helicopter transfers, allowing for sky-high views of one of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes. Another South African company, Friends of Dorothy, offers a Yellow Brick Road Tour that focuses on the Cape Winelands as well, with lunch on a wine farm or at an award-winning restaurant where local varietals are a specialty.
South America should also be on the wish list for travelers longing for fine wine. In Argentina, Mendoza Gay Tours focuses on LGBTQ+-welcoming wineries in one of the Americas’ most famed wine regions. The company also provides insider travel tips and arrangements during Vendimia para Todos, a “gay harvest festival” that takes place the weekend after Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, which celebrates the lives of those who work in the vineyards.