When we are traveling around the country we always try to take full advantage of everything and on our last trip to San Francisco we drove on up to the Sonoma wine country and took a “wine tour” with “Out in the Vineyard” which is a company that is owned by Gary Saperstein and Mark Vogler. They offer luxury travels and exclusive adventures for the LGBT community in regards to wine.
Our day tour with them began at the Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyards. Our tour guide, David has been there a number of years and is extremely passionate about the making of wine. He gave us an excellent history lesson about grape growing, wines, bottles and even the corks.
In our travels from coast to coast, he was the most interesting and knowledgeable tour guide that we have ever encountered. Brent Burch, the Accounts Manager at the Winery was extremely helpful and professional as well. They are located in Sebastopol. Check them out at www.ironhorsevineyards.com
Our next stop was La Crema Winery and we went first to their tasting room where we were hosted and entertained by two VERY passionate people, Brandii and April. They LOVE wine and being around people and they are truly remarkable and FUN !!!!! It is located in downtown Healdsburg at 235 Healdsburg Ave. You can check them out at: www.lacrema.com/tasting-room-overview
After tasting several wines, we went a few doors down the street and had a fabulously delicious lunch at their restaurant, Partake by K J., which is Kendall-Jackson’s tasting lounge and restaurant. We indulged in their “Chef’s Tasting” which included food and different wine pairings. Among some of the exciting things we had were, Oysters, Estate Fava Beans and strawberries, a fine selection of cheeses, whole vine Tempura Maitake mushrooms, Smoked loin of lamb, heirloom beans, spring vegetables, beef and Pomegranate relish. All with wine pairings of course! Our server was exceptional and so professional ! They are located at 241 Healdsburg Avenue and you can check them out at www.partakebykj.com/
Our next stop was in Geyserville visiting the Mercury Wine tasting room at 21015 Geyserville Avenue. You can visit them for a complimentary tasting of small-lot Pinot Noirs, Bordeaux-style blends and esoteric white varietals. The owner, Brad and his brother Grady are two great guys. They love what they are doing and have “the passion”. You can check them out at www.mercurywine.com
If one were to try to take in the wineries at their own schedule it would be a nightmare. Gary and Mark do it the right way and take care of everything. Their itineraries are designed to provide intimate and exclusive wine country experiences and are strictly limited to small groups. They are offering a special South Africa Wine Safari in October which will be an intimate wine journey thru South Africa. If we were not going to be attending parties in the Hampton’s at that time, we know that we would want to go with them.
That trip is limited to only 12 guests, so book now ! Out In The Vineyard has lots of activities year round so be sure and check their website: www.outinthevineyard.com to see their upcoming events. Thanks Gary and Mark for having such a great tour company ! We highly suggest that if anyone is going to the Wine Country north of San Francisco to be sure and take one of their tours.
We seldom get to use the word “passion” when it involves our travels but the people that we met in the wine country all have PASSION and that is a good thing! It is extremely enjoyable being around people with passion who are so enthusiastic about what they are doing.
When in that area, be SURE and stay at the Village Inn Guesthouse in Monte Rio. It is THE best. Owner Mark and his staff also have “the passion” and that is why guests keep returning year after year after year. Their website is: www.villageinn-ca.com/
Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
This post originally appeared on the Purple Roofs Gay Travel Blog.