#PRIDE Month 2022: Celebrating Queer Winemakers in Napa & Sonoma

Pride Month 2022
As we’ve been spending time developing our Napa Valley wine tours program, we wanted to take this moment to highlight a few members of the queer community making an impression in the wine industry in Napa and Sonoma counties (as well as right here in San Francisco!)

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#PRIDE Month 2022

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Winemakers in
Napa & Sonoma

This Pride Month we’re thinking about wine tasting.

Well, let’s be honest – we’re kind of always thinking about wine tasting.

But as we’ve been spending time developing our Napa Valley wine tours program, we wanted to take this moment to highlight a few members of the queer community making an impression in the wine industry in Napa and Sonoma counties (as well as right here in San Francisco!)  

Meanwhile, be sure to connect with us about setting up your own private Napa wine tour centered around these LGBTQ+ destinations if you’re ready to celebrate the winemakers and what they’re pouring for yourself! 

 

Brad Beard  |  Mercury Wine  |  Geyserville

A Phoenix transplant and Navy veteran, Brad Beard has been establishing his presence here in California since 2008. His label is named for the mercury mines that originally made the establishment of Geyserville possible – specifically the influence of the Italians who worked them, and introduced grapes to the area. In addition to his time in the service, Brad has restaurant experience and spent time as a regional wine buyer, further informing his love for the industry and aspirations of starting from the ground up in winemaking. 

He and his husband Danny Fox married in 2015, and now operate their brand together while running Mercury’s Geyserville tasting room. They keep their wedding album on the tasting bar as a reflection of how their small farming town has embraced them, proving to be both progressive and accepting. 

Brad and Danny are also active with Face to Face (f2f.org), which focuses on outreach and prevention of HIV / AIDS in Sonoma County, with a portion of the winery profits enabling them to more fully emphasize the great work and mission of the organization. 

 
Theresa Heredia  |  Gary Farrell  |  Russian River

As head of the cellar at Russian River Valley’s Gary Farrell, Latina vintner Theresa Heredia has gained a following around her thoughtful and deliberate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay expressions. Established in 1982, the wine label she has helped gain modern renown in an admittedly crowded space is also emphatically LGBTQ+ friendly, making it clear that all are welcome in the tasting environment they’ve created for wine lovers in the queer community and beyond. 

With a background in chemistry, a Master’s Degree in enology and viticulture, and after spending a decade learning winemaking at Joseph Phelps and Freestone Vineyards in St. Helena, Theresa has channeled her love for the industry and the process into a unique and nuanced career that continues to blossom with each year. She joined the team at Gary Farrell in 2012, married her partner Gilda Estevez there in 2016, and has continued to use her position to not only explore and grow, but to give back. The label has been a major donor for the Human Rights Campaign, and has also participated and donated wine for “Out in the Vineyard,” the annual gay wine weekend in Sonoma. 

 
Mark Lyon  |  Eco Terreno Wines & Vineyards  |  Alexander Valley

As founder and vintner of Eco Terreno Wines, Mark Lyon brings over 40 years of experience and happens to be one of the most well-known LGBTQ+ winemakers in North America. His biodynamically-farmed Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red blends are true expressions of their terroir, and serve as just one reflection of the regenerative farming practices that are infused into his entire business ethos. Mark is using his expertise and personal passion to help change the narrative of what working with the land can look like — in winemaking and beyond — even beginning with his label, Eco Terreno: a Spanish phrase that translates to ‘ecology of the land.’ The name embodies his dedication to and reverence for the natural world, and his desire to care for its longterm health and wellbeing.

Eco Terreno also operates an ‘Urban Tasting Room’ in San Francisco at 140 Columbus Ave, San Francisco CA 94133, and this year are planning to expand it into a more extensive tasting and event space called Lyon & Swan. 

 
Jeff Davis and Greg Brickey  |  Majuscule Wines  |  Downtown Napa & Mount Veeder

Majuscule — a French word to describe ‘the opposite of minuscule’ — is crafting elegant, single-vineyard Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon out of grapes sourced from Mount Veeder. The husband-husband team of Jeff Davis and Greg Brickey have been working together on this shared dream since they first fell in love with Napa on a vacation there in 2004: first by purchasing their own wine bar at home in Arizona, and then eventually quitting their white collar careers and moving to California to pursue professional winemaking full time. They officially started their own vineyard in 2018 alongside a supportive community and friends they’d been collaborating with for years as they prepared for the realization of Majuscule. 

Since then the two men have found their niche in the Northern California winemaking landscape, utilizing the renowned microclimates on Mount Veeder to cultivate consistent vintages of exceptional and acclaimed reds and rosés, and collecting a variety of awards and top ratings along the way. Jeff and Greg personally host all of their reservation-only tastings and tours, whether walking through the vineyard itself or at their downtown Napa tasting room. 

 
Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham  |  Gentleman Farmer Wines  |  Yountville 

Embracing the idea that ‘winemaking is at the crossroads of nature and culture,’ partners and co-vintners Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham of Gentleman Farmer are known for the their warm brand of hospitality. Based in Napa Valley since 2005, their label specializes in Bordeaux-style red blends, chardonnay and rosé, and they keep their vintages to less than 1,000 cases so they can maintain an intimate relationship with every step of growing and production. Competing with the scope of some of their Napa neighbors isn’t the point — it’s the conversation, the experience, and the humanity of the process that they hold reverence for. 

Joe and Jeff have also worked actively with LGBTQ+ youth outreach organizations, including the It Gets Better Project, which was founded in 2010 and has since developed a global presence that continues to save lives. 

This year for their fall harvest, Joe and Jeff will also be opening The Bungalow by Gentleman Farmer, a private tasting room and dining experience for their Gentleman Farmer Wine Club Collective members in downtown Napa where they will personally host private and entertaining experiences of food, wine, and music. 

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