Wines With Pride | The LGBQTIA2S+ Stories In Wine

The wine industry, long perceived as a traditional and conservative realm, is undergoing a transformative wave driven by diverse and dynamic communities. Let’s always remember that wine is for everyone. LGBTQIA2S+ winemakers, sommeliers, and enthusiasts are making their mark, bringing rich narratives of pride, resilience, and innovation to the world of wine. 

With Pride Month here and the big celebrations on the way, this queer sommelier is keen to shine a light on some fabulous LGBTQIA2S+-made wines as well as ally wine projects that are keeping conversations of inclusivity and representation in the industry at the forefront and embrace the true diversity of wine.

Camins 2 Dreams

Photo credit: Camins 2 Dreams

Owners of Camins 2 Dreams, Mireia Taribó and Tara Gomez, had unique journeys in the wine industry. While working at J. Lohr, they met with Gomez as the enologist and lab manager and Taribó as a cellar and barrel intern. Although not immediate friends, Tara introduced Mireia to the wines she was crafting under the Kalawashaq’ Wine Cellars label, named after the Chumash village her band originates from. After Mireia returned to her homeland of Catalonia to continue her work in wine, they stayed in touch. They later reunited to work together at Castell d’Encus. Their shared passion for winemaking led to extensive travel, tasting, and forming a solid bond, eventually creating Camins 2 Dreams.

“Camins” means “path” in Catalan, reflecting the journey that brought them together. Mireia and Tara focus on creating wines from Grüner Veltliner and Syrah as a couple and winemaking duo. Their winery in Lompoc, California, produces wines from both the Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Barbara regions embody their commitment to quality and innovation.

Adobe by Emiliana Organic Vineyards

Emiliana Organic Vineyards, a pioneering force in sustainable viticulture, embraces a holistic winemaking philosophy centered on organic and biodynamic practices. Based in Chile, their approach is rooted in the belief that high-quality wines arise from a harmonious relationship with nature and the world around us. This ethos is exemplified in Emiliana’s Adobe line, and their Love Is Love, Love Is Organic project.

Adobe, a Reserva line produced with organic grapes, reflects the vineyard’s quality while maintaining a deep respect for the environment and its workers. This year, the Adobe Sauvignon Blanc is making an impact beyond its delightful complexity. In Ontario, $0.50 from each bottle sold through the LCBO is donated to Rainbow Railroad, supporting LGBTQIA2S+ individuals seeking safety and peace. The wine offers a beautifully complex nose with citrus notes of grapefruit and lime, subtle green chillies, and delicate herbs, leading to a smooth, well-balanced palate with good volume and persistence. Each sip not only brings pleasure but also contributes to a vital cause.

The Old Third Vineyard

Photo Credit: Daniel Vaughan

The rustic charm of country wine life is perfectly encapsulated at The Old Third, a boutique winery housed in a cathedral-like barn from the 1860s in Hillier, Prince Edward County. The Old Third is Canada’s only LGBTQ-owned winery, owned and operated by partners Jens Korberg and Bruno Francois.

Since 2004, Jens and Bruno have crafted a name for themselves with their unfined and unfiltered wines from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Gamay, and occasionally Riesling. Their offerings include a traditional method cider made from locally grown golden russet apples. Bruno is the winemaker, while Jens handles marketing and designs the bottle labels.

Harmony&Terra Wines

Harmony & Terra passionately focuses on crafting wines that embody sustainability and exceptional quality. They are cultivated in collaboration with Thomas Allan Vineyards in the heart of Lodi, California. Their portfolio showcases balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, distinguished by rich plum and blackberry nuances, alongside vibrant Chardonnay delights with tropical and citrus notes.

Beyond their commitment to producing fine wines, Harmony & Terra stands out for their dedication to social responsibility. They pledge to donate 25¢ from each bottle sold to various nonprofit organizations, with this June’s proceeds earmarked for Rainbow Railroad. This vital support aids LGBTQIA2S+ individuals worldwide who face persecution, aligning with Harmony & Terra’s mission to make a meaningful impact within their community and beyond.

Ruth Lewandowski Wines

Photo credit: Ruth Lewandowski Wines

California producer Ruth Lewandowski has been making waves for some years. The winery has a valid California natural winemaking philosophy: crafting heartfelt, honest wines that show the terroir and expression of Mendocino, California. Winemaker Evan Lewandowski hails from a Mormon upbringing but ventured beyond to pursue his passions. The winery’s name pays homage to his past, drawn from the poignant Book of Ruth in the Bible, a source of inspiration and hope for him.

As an LGBTQ winemaker, Evan brings a unique perspective and personal journey to his craft. Evan infuses his winemaking philosophy with the profound cycles of death and redemption seen in both the physical and spiritual realms, giving his creations a rich, vibrant depth. His wines transcend mere beverages; they evoke artistry—poetic, pristine, and profoundly stirring in their graceful simplicity.

Renée has dedicated her life to grapes. As a Court of the Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier, she has made wine her life’s work, and her entrepreneurial spirit has driven her to be a curator of wine experiences. In her work as a Wine Communicator, Curator of Virtual Experiences, Brand Consultant, Educator and Wine Writer Renée brings to life her love of wine in a way that is contagious. She has a flair for making wine fun and understandable, sharing her passion for the vine.