This June marks 53 years since the historic Stonewall Riots. This transformative revolution is one of the most well-known events contributing to LGBTQ civil rights, and it sparked the queer pride movement we still celebrate today.
As a proud queer lady, I celebrate pride month by reflecting on the joy in our community and showing gratitude for those who have asserted power, inspired resistance, and paved the way for a harmonious future. I’ve gotten to meet many new queer individuals in wine this year already, and I’ve tasted lots of different styles made by queer winemakers.
Gentleman Farmer Wines promotes a serene lifestyle dedicated to working with agriculture and nourishing relationships through food and wine. Their wines, ranging from deeply complex red blends to French-oak Chardonnay, reflect this aspirational lifestyle and influence drinkers to savor the pairing experience.
This year, Gentleman Farmer has a 2021 bright pink rosé bursting with bold Napa Valley flavor. It’s got toasty aromas, a hint of earthiness and a fusion of ripe fruit flavors from watermelon to peach to strawberry.
Proud lesbian winemaker Remy Drabkin is well-known in wine for her activism, sincere tasting experiences and exceptional wines under three labels: Remy Wines, Three Wives and Black Heart. Remy Wines is also taking big steps toward enhanced sustainability this year. Over the summer, Drabkin plans to open a new winery constructed with her “Drabkin-Mead Formula sustainable carbon-neutral concrete.
But winemaking isn’t her only passion. Drabkin is a member of her city council and is leading a new task force for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She co-founded Wine Country Pride, and at the end of this pride month, she will host the world’s first Queer Wine Fest where queer winemakers can professionally network and feature their wines.
Remy Wines is all about celebrating pride, from hosting pride events to selling rainbow half-cases to support the queer community. Their Black Heart series features a classic, traditional-method sparkling made from Pinot Noir. They’ve completely mastered the traditional technique, so this bottle is perfect for anyone who likes that classic, toasty style of sparkling.
Led by Vivianne Kennedy, RAM Cellars works with local growers to produce bright, terroir-driven whites, rosés and orange wines. Their reds focus on the underdog Bordeaux varieties like Petit Verdot and Cab Franc.
Kennedy has a taste for the science of wine and studied enology before launching RAM Cellars. She is involved first-hand in all parts of the grapes’ life cycles, and she often employs a technique of picking grapes slightly earlier than usual to lock in the acid. This winemaking style produces sharper, dryer wines that authentically express the terroir and season.
RAM’s VIV label lumiére rosé is a perfect pride month celebration wine. This rosé’s wild berry aroma epitomizes the height of strawberry season, and its fruit complexity includes tastes ranging from pineapple to watermelon.
This wine also reflects Kennedy’s support for the transgender community. Kennedy says that coming into her light as a transgender woman allows her to live an authentic life, and she cares about giving back through her platform. She donates a portion of the funds from these bottles to the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund to support queer and trans individuals.
Last week, I had the opportunity to join a fantastic wine tasting at 3 Parks Wine in Atlanta led by Luk Wylde of Statera Cellars and Lares Wines. Not only did Wylde introduce me to the first Chardonnay I’ve enjoyed in years, but he guided our tasting group through a selection of many unconventional blends with electrifying flavors.
“This wine was born from a dream,” Wydle said, introducing his 2020 Chimera sparkling fruit wine. He poured a hazy, green-orange liquid as he recounted a dream of making sparkling wine and blending it with fermented apple cider. “So then, that’s what I did!”
Chimera has a pungent aroma: overripe apples and spices rounded out with petroleum. The taste is subtler but incredibly complex, with flavors ranging from cantaloupe to jasmine to citrus peel. Wylde is happy to explain the details of all the wines and the stories behind them. His inspiration for these many winemaking projects comes from the community developed through wine.
“Communication builds community,” Wylde says. “I like opening up a bottle of wine with people and being in community with them.”
My fiancée and I will be celebrating the kick-off of June 2022 with one of these Lares bottles and their sentiments about community, especially as we reflect on the historic importance of Pride Month and the progress of the queer community ahead.
“It’s not all celebrating. Sometimes it’s commiserating. I like being in community with people—whether that’s having a party or doing the hard work,” Wylde says. “Either way, there’s time and space for showing pride.”