8 LGBTQ+ Winemakers You Need On Your Radar
The LGBTQ+ community has always shaped our culture, and wine is no exception. Take a look at eight of our favorite queer makers representing excellence – and pride – from coast to coast.
By Author: William Smith
May 08, 2023
Happy Pride, everyone! We wanted to take a beat to acknowledge eight amazing LGBTQ+ winemakers who have been integral in pushing culture — and the wine industry — forward. Support these makers and LGBTQ+ owned wineries using the guide below or check out our Natural Wines Mixed Pack for three unique, natty wines made by LGBTQ+ identifying winemakers. Cheers to them, cheers to you, cheers to love!
Theresa Heredia of Gary Farrell Winery left her chemistry Ph.D. to work on what she really loved: making wine. Theresa hasn’t only been nominated for Winemaker of the Year, but she’s also led a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. Her work with HRC ensures that those fighting for equal rights can always count on a great glass of Pinot (try ours).
If you’re headed to the Russian River Valley, you can sit down with Thesera as she takes you glass by glass through the best Gary Farrell Winery has to offer.
Tara Gomez and Mireia Taribó met as co-workers in J. Lohr’s cellar but fell in love while traveling across Mireia’s native Europe. Now married, their label, Camins 2 Dreams, brings their natural, European sensibility into Califonia sunshine. You can taste the game-changing results for yourself in Maker’s latest collab. The Camins 2 Dreams’ Albariño is a Spanish-style white wine that’s perfect for sipping all summer long.
Husbands Joe Wolosz and Jeff Durham started off making wine in a garage in 1999. Over 20 years later, they’ve grown their micro-operation into the small production, big impact Gentleman Farmer label.
During the month of June, Joe and Jeff donate a percentage of the proceeds to LGBTQIA+ supporting organizations like Queer LifeSpace and It Gets Better Project – just one of the many ways they give back. Soon, they're opening “The Bungalow," adding a new tasting experience to their gay-friendly winery. Members can anticipate the couple drawing on their roots in the hospitality management to provide great wine, music, and hors d'oeuvres straight from the kitchen.
Zafa Counterspell Wines founder Kritsa Scruggs likes to keep things simple. “Just fermented juice,” reads the headline of her website. As an LGBTQ+ owned winery and vineyard, Zafa has three guiding principles—diversity, equity, and regeneration. This approach to justice both for people and for the land makes for an operation that treats its makers as well as its natural wine.
If you’re feeling bold, check out Zafa’s Co-Cellars Project to find non-prototypical fermentations that experiment by bringing in apples and peaches to the fermentation process.
Krista Scruggs, founder and lead winemaker at Zafa Wines. Photo credit: Robb Report.
Remy Drabkin grew up in the Willamette Valley – the heart of Oregon wine country. Her gay-friendly vineyard prides itself on looking forward to emerging varietals while keeping a healthy respect for traditional Italian grapes. Remy’s passion for her community extends beyond winemaking. She was elected mayor of McMinnville, Oregon, in November 2022, and is cofounder of Wine Country Pride, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing pride celebrations to rural Oregon.
If you plan a visit Remy's LGBTQ+ winery during pride month, you can even join in on “The World’s First Queer Wine Fest” and stick around for “Lez Be Smart: Brunch, Wine and Gay Trivia.”
Terah Bajjalieh started Terah Wine Co. from humble and heartfelt beginnings. After completing 13 harvests covering five countries, she made her first vintage out of a friends’ garage – going old school in production with just buckets, her hands, and help from friends who felt like family.
As a woman and openly LGBTQ+ winemaker, Terah has had to pave her own path in an industry that often physically underestimates her – and one that’s challenged her (and other minority winemakers) with a lack of connections and opportunities. Her wines are a true reflection of the spirit of Terah Wine Co., blending innovation with tradition to create exceptional flavors that leave a lasting impression.
Annette Bergevin has deep roots in Oregon’s Walla Walla Valley. Her ancestors have tilled the soil their for five generations. Despite their acres in wine country, it wasn’t until Annette approached her father about the idea of a vineyard that they made the jump from wheat to grapes.
Twenty years after that leap of faith, Bergevin Lane Vineyards boasts its own lab, a 20,000 square-foot facility, and a new tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, Washington. Stop by from Wednesday to Saturday to try their Cab Reserve or treat yourself to a glass of their limited-production Syrah.
Mark Lyon founded Eco Terreno vineyards after witnessing a bird forage for food on a fungicide drench field. To him, this made clear that a vineyard should be nurtured as a part of the greater ecosystem, not at its expense. Eco Terreno embraces this philosophy by using cover crops and allowing goats and chickens to graze the vineyards freely—controlling pests and weeds. This ecosystem-first approach has allowed Mark’s LBGTQ+ owned winery to thrive without relying on harmful chemicals.
Devotees to this natural method will be able to sample the breadth of Eco Terreno’s wines as they prepare to open their SF tasting room in summer 2022.
Mark Lyon, Founder of Eco Terreno Wines. Photo Credit: Edible Phoenix.
We're excited for you to check out and support these LGBTQ+ owned wineries and queer winemakers. Here's a map that you can save for later:
Know any LGBTQ+ wineries that we missed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Updated June 2023