Exquisite food, exclusive wines and Tuscan atmosphere transports you to old world Europe right here in California.
One of the best things about living in California is there are so many great places to visit.
And one of those places is the wonderful Napa and Sonoma Valleys famous for their delicious food and award-winning wines.
This year is probably the perfect time for you to gather up your friends and/or loved ones and head up to Northern California for the Out in the Vineyard Gay Wine Weekend event going on from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16.
"It’s Sonoma Casual, understated luxury. It’s approachable and fun," says Mark Vogler, one of organizers of the event.
This annual affair is one of the most popular events in the community because it not only gives one a safe place to be yourself and meet others, but it gives you a taste of a culture and the wine country lifestyle.
Hills lined with lush vineyards rolling through the countryside as far as the eye can see, and beautiful tasting rooms and wineries inspired by those in Europe, the Napa and Sonoma region of California is like taking a vacation overseas without having to leave the country.
We asked Mark why he and his business partner, Gary Saperstein started Out in the Vineyard and the Gay Wine Weekend event.
"No one was speaking to the LGBT community from the wine industry or the wine country hospitality industry," he said. "I was in the wine business and getting calls and emails almost daily from gay friends across the country asking 'What wines support that LGBT community? What wines should we support? What restaurants in Sonoma and Napa can I take my boyfriend or a date to and feel comfortable? What hotels can I got to and not get asked when I check in if I want ’two beds?’ ”
This year, Gay Wine Weekend is going to be better than ever. It has always been the largest gay wine event in the world. Couple that with getting to visit the most prestigious wineries in the world and sip world-class wines, this event transports it visitors a part of California preserved by nature and uncluttered by modern woes.
Imagine taking a walk through the beautiful landscape with glass in hand next to someone you love, tasting the best culinary foods prepared by masterclass chefs.
Mark says the food will be exquisite, with "Culinary cuisine from some of the best restaurants and chefs in Sonoma, including The Girl & The Fig, Glen Ellen Star and Aventine Glen Ellen."
There is also plenty of music and dancing in a private estate vineyard with VIP receptions, wine tasting excursions and champagne brunch and even a pop up gay bar from San Francisco Castro, as The Midnight Sun takes their DJ’s to B&V Whiskey Bar on the Sonoma Plaza. There is also a live wine auction to raise funds for the local HIV/AIDS charity, Face to Face, Sonoma County HIV/AIDS Network.
If there is a particular wine that you enjoy, bid on it at the wine auction.
An estimated 600 to 700 people from the LGBT community will be in attendance this year, a group that is often overlooked in the wine tourism industry until Mark's company made it possible.
"Wine country is a global, luxury, travel destination and yet no one was talking to the gay traveler or helping us navigate it," said Mark. "We decided do change that and started Out In The Vineyard."
.Out in the Vineyard's Gay Wine Weekend event is going on from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16.
For reservations call Sonoma Valley Inn's Gay Wine Weekend Hotel Concierge, Lacy Swan, Sunday: Thursday 10 am-4 pm at 707-938- 9200 ext. 454
Ask for the Gay Wine Weekend rate!
- VIP Welcome Reception - EXCLUSIVE to Pass Holders and Host Hotel Guests
- LGBT Business Expo & Wine Tasting
- Twilight T-Dance VIP Reception
- Twilight T-Dance
- Apres T After Party
- Big Gay Wine Auction & Recovery Brunch
- Sunday Pool Soiree
For more information on Gay Wine Weekend click HERE.