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.
It’s entirely possible France’s most noteworthy eateries define the term “destination restaurant.” Examples of how some of the more enduring Paris restaurants have approached this is compelling. While hot spots like Le Drugstore changed with the times and tastes of clientele, others, like Café de la Paix, steadfastly stay true to the roots and recipes that have delighted guests for generations.
Incentive travel has long been a way for organizations to drive sales and reward employees with opulent trips to exotic destinations. Today it encompasses even more.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s staying power is rooted in the way it delivers continuity and consistency for long-time loyalists of the Grand Velas brand and anybody else seeking a luxury, all-inclusive experience. One of Grand Velas’s hallmarks is its activities, amenities and restaurants across its three buildings can be enjoyed by all guests, enabling them to do the destination their way. This is particularly important when groups have different ideas of how they want to spend their vacation time.
In 2025, Riviera River Cruises will launch two ships with sailing itineraries on Europe’s Danube and Douro rivers. Riviera Radiance will sail the Danube and offer six itineraries, including one exclusively for solo travelers, and three holiday itineraries. Riviera Rose will be based on the Douro River and sail one itinerary.
JetBlue, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines are some of the airlines now charging passengers more to check bags at the airport than to purchase the service online in advance. In an effort to cover higher costs, more airlines increased baggage fees in 2024.
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Condor Airlines recently introduced Condor Cards, a membership program that allows frequent Condor passengers to receive additional benefits. The two card options include World Activity Card, tailored to the needs of sports enthusiasts, and World Family Card, offering benefits for families or friends traveling together on vacation.