Gay Wine Weekend Was the Summer Wine Tasting Event of 2023

Jul 20, 2023

Gay Wine Weekend, a cherished annual gathering that forms part of the prestigious Out in the Vineyard events, was held July 14 – 16, 2023. Amidst the landscapes of Sonoma County, Gay Wine Weekend took place just a 1.5-hour drive north of San Francisco. 

Wine tasting during Gay Wine Weekend in the Sonoma Valley.

Here lies a wine lover’s paradise! Renowned for its beauty and fabulous wines, this picturesque destination has become synonymous with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and effervescent bubbles. For those seeking an opportunity to indulge their love for wine while forging new connections, Gay Wine Weekend is it!

Vineyards of the Sonoma Valley.

In the heart of it all, the exquisite Vintner’s Resort serves as the perfect host property! Vintners Resort is deeply rooted in the art of winemaking. With its own vineyards, the resort offers guests an immersive experience! They offer guided tours through lush vineyards, where expert vintners share their passion and the region’s viticultural heritage.

Lush gardens at the luxurious Vintners Resort in Sonoma. Valley.

Gay Wine Weekend entices queer wine enthusiasts with its inviting atmosphere, fostering friendships and providing a sensory feast. As a cornerstone of Out in the Vineyard, it has earned its must-attend status. Delightful encounters, exceptional wines, and Sonoma County’s beauty create a lasting magical experience. 

Rows of vineyards in Sonoma Valley.

The allure lies in social camaraderie, remarkable wines, and the stunning setting, drawing participants back time and again. With vibrant connections, unparalleled wine experiences, and Sonoma County’s awe-inspiring backdrop, it’s no wonder they return eagerly.

A group of friends at the Twilight T-Dance during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Gay Wine Weekend’s VIP Welcome Reception

The VIP Welcome Reception began Gay Wine Weekend, captivating magnum and VIP pass holders, Vintners Resort guests, and sponsors. On Friday, July 14, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, the Event Center buzzed with anticipation. 

Bottles of white wine in an ice bucket.

Guests enjoyed delectable bites and exquisite wines sponsored by the Russian River Winegrowers Association. Participating wineries like Ancient Oak Cellars, Cartograph, and Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery delighted attendees. 

The VIP Welcome Reception during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Chef Tom Schmidt crafted tantalizing bites, complementing the wines. DJ Matt’s vibrant beats added an upbeat atmosphere, setting the stage for a celebratory weekend.

Winemaker’s Dinner

A winemaker’s dinner is a fabulous experience that combines the artistry of fine cuisine and the craftsmanship of local wines. It’s meant to be more laid back and accessible to everyone!  As part of Gay Wine Weekend, these dinners took place at a selection of restaurants in the Santa Rosa area. 

A group of friends toasting at a winemarkers dinner during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Each dinner showcased the talents of renowned chefs, who curated a menu that complemented the flavors of Sonoma County wines. 

A beautifully plated dinner at a winemaster dinner.

The Winemaster’s dinner at John Ash Restaurant in Vintner’s Resort was an exceptional highlight. Co-hosted by Jim Obergefell and Matt Grove from Equality Vines, guests savored their exceptional wines. Executive Chef Tom Schmidt crafted exquisite culinary creations. 

Jim Obergefell and Matt Grove at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Jim Obergefell’s name resonates with many. He played a pivotal role as lead plaintiff in the landmark 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. This led to legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. His presence at this event truly brought the importance of community and understanding.

Gary Obergefell regaling a group of people about his landmark 2015 US Supreme Court case win establishing new same-sex rights.

Following the Winemaster’s dinners, guests were invited to continue the celebration at a free pop-up party hosted at Little Saint in Healdsburg, adding an extra touch of revelry to an already memorable evening. 

Gay Wine Weekend Saturday Tours 

Gay Wine Weekend continued on Saturday, July 15, with the highly anticipated Wine Tours. Departing at 10:00 am from Vintner’s Resort, attendees were able to take shuttle buses to each stop. 

A large group raising their wine glasses during a wine tour at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Five distinct tours offered personalized experiences, exploring diverse vinicultural offerings in the Sonoma County region. With knowledgeable hosts, guests enjoyed casually paced wine tastings, appreciating bubbles, chardonnay, and pinot noir. 

A group tasting white wine during a wine tour at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Some tours included winery tours, providing insight into the winemaking process. Surrounded by stunning vineyard views, participants reveled in the beauty of Sonoma County’s renowned modern wineries. Truly the best way to experience the county!

A group of friends enjoying a red wine tasting during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Twilight T-Dance Reception and Party 

Guests enjoyed an enchanting evening at the Twilight T-Dance VIP Reception held at the exquisite La Crema Winery Estate. The event gathered in a historic wood building, formerly a goat milking barn, transformed into the La Crema event space. 

A group of friends tasting wine at the Twilight T-Dance during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

With scenic balconies, the beautiful venue set the stage for an unforgettable gathering. The VIP Reception offered networking, delectable bites, and premium La Crema wines. Open bars served Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to please every palate. 

A violinist plays during the Twilight T-dance reception at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Chef Chad of Classic Culinaire catered the culinary experience, delighting the senses. Afterwards, guests followed a pathway to the highly anticipated Twilight T-Dance for an evening of revelry.

A group of friends pose for a photo during the Twilight T-Dance reception at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Gay Wine Weekend reached its pinnacle with the much-anticipated Twilight T-Dance! The evening, Richard’s Grove at La Crema Winery transformed into an electrifying dance floor under the stars. 

Gay Wine Weekend Was the Summer Wine Tasting Event of 2023

Friends, old and new, united to dance, celebrate, and forge lasting memories. This exceptional event was elevated by the presence of GLAAD’s Board of Directors, fostering a sense of community and togetherness. 

Frankie Grande made an appearance at the Twilight T-Dance during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

With acclaimed DJs Ryan Kenny and Jamie Hannah, alongside captivating performances by Debby Holiday, the Twilight T-Dance proved truly unforgettable. 

A group of friends cheers during the Twilight T-Dance at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Esteemed members of the LGBTQ+ community, including Frankie Grande, added glamour, embracing the essence of Gay Wine Weekend.

Après T-Party

Following the exhilarating Twilight T-Dance, the festivities continued with the vibrant Apres T-Party at Lo and Behold in Healdsburg. This free event welcomed attendees to keep the celebration going in a lively atmosphere. 

The talented DJ Dle Wies set the mood with an infectious blend of beats, ensuring that the energy remained high! Participants danced, mingled, and reveled in the joyous ambiance, creating unforgettable memories as the night unfolded.

Drag Queen Brunch and Wine Auction

Continuing the weekend, Gay Wine Weekend featured the highly anticipated drag queen brunch and wine auction. And let’s be honest, no gay event would be complete without drag brunch. 

A drag queen performs during the Drag Brunch fundraiser at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Held at the event center of the Vintners Resort on Sunday, this event had a lot going on! Guests indulged in a spectacular buffet brunch, with sparkling wine from Bricoleur and Still Wines, and a Bloody Mary bar. 

A drag queen performs during the Drag Brunch fundraiser at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

The brunch was enlivened by mesmerizing performances from drag queens Ruby Red Munro, Fertile Liza, Mahlae Balenciaga, and Sasha Devaroe. 

A drag queen performs during the Drag Brunch fundraiser at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Led by auctioneer Michael Tate, the charity auction raised over $52,000! All proceeds benefited Face to Face, a local organization supporting individuals affected by HIV and AIDS in the Sonoma County community.

A drag queen performs during the Drag Brunch fundraiser at Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Gay Wine Weekend’s Must Attend Pool Party 

Bringing the weekend to a close in spectacular fashion, Gay Wine Weekend concluded with an unforgettable pool party! Hosted by GED Magazine at the vibrant R3 Hotel in Guerneville, guests soaked up the sun! 

DJ Juanita More set the perfect rhythm, providing an irresistible soundtrack that kept the energy high throughout the afternoon. To complement the festivities, Mercury Wines graciously poured complimentary wine, ensuring that attendees could savor the delightful flavors. A full bar and delectable food options were also available for purchase, allowing guests to indulge in their favorite refreshments. 

Adding an extra touch of glamour and entertainment, drag queen performances by Teresa Giudcoochie and Tony OMFG captivated the crowd! They brought life to the pool party with their dazzling charisma and talent!

Gay Wine Weekend 2024

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan ahead for Gay Wine Weekend 2024! It’s an extraordinary event that awaits gay wine lovers. This fabulous weekend promises an enchanting experience filled with delightful wines and unforgettable moments. With its growing popularity, it’s no surprise that tickets sell out early! 

Lavender blooming at a Sonoma Valley vineyard.

It’s highly recommended to secure your spot in advance. For an elevated experience, consider upgrading to VIP, allowing you to enjoy exclusive perks and privileges. Enhance your stay by making reservations at the luxurious Vintners Resort! It’s the perfect setting to immerse yourself in the magic of Gay Wine Weekend. 

A group of gay men at the Twilight T-Dance during Gay Wine Weekend 2023.

Don’t miss out on this extraordinary celebration of love, community, and exceptional wines. Visit the official website at http://www.outinthevineyard.com for more information and updates.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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