Big Gay Wine Train Comes Out In the Vineyard

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Gaytrain.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

On Saturday March 12, the Napa Valley Wine Train will make history with its first LGBT wine dinner, co-sponsored with Sonoma-based Out in the Vineyard.  The event brings together Sonoma's most prominent LGBT travel company, and one of Napa's most iconic and campy activities for the first ever big gay train ride.  

The evening kicks off at 5:30 pm with a sparkling wine reception at the train station lounge, featuring J Vineyards' fantastic brut.  I don't know if the piano player in the lounge will be taking requests from the audience, but I think it's worth asking.   The train departs at 6:30, with five gay vintners from Sonoma and Napa on board to schmooze and carouse with guests.  Specifically, Greg Bjørnstad of Bjørnstad Cellars, Mark Lyon of Sebastiani Vineyards, Philippe Langner of Hesperian Wines, and Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz of Poem Cellars will all be roving the train with wine in hand, answering questions and making new friends.

Chef Kelly MacDonald created a special five-course dinner to pair with the guest vintners' featured wines that night.  The first course will be a lobster cake with blood orange beurre blanc sauce and celery root salad, paired with Bjørnstad's 2008 Sonoma County Chardonnay.  Next, Sebastiani's 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir rounds out a duo of seared scallop and pork belly in a tarragon truffle puree.  

Shifting into meat mode, things get serious with the 2008 Poem Cellars "Tastevin" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (made by Jason Moore, of Modus Operandi and Troubadour), and a dish of lamb lollipops and potato-fennel gratin, with a reduction sauce of Tastevin wine.  The savory climax arrives with the petite filet mignon and seared foie gras, accompanied by braised baby beets, cabernet veal sauce, and Hesperian's 2006 "Harry's Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon.
For dessert, fresh pear cake and local cheese give guests the option of sweet or savory, paired with Sebastiani's 2007 Symphony--the late Sylvia Sebastiani's favorite wine.

Tickets are priced according to where in the train you'd like to dine--in the 1950s-era Vista Dome cars ($150 per person, but already sold out for this event), or in the Pullman dining cars from 1915-1917 ($125 per person).  Tickets include the sparkling wine reception, dinner with all wine pairings, and coffee or tea.  Cocktails and other beverages are available à la carte at an additional cost on the train and in the station.  And yes, they do take credit cards on the train.
A portion of the sale proceeds from this event will benefit the Queen of the Valley Hospital CARE Network's HIV/AIDS services.  More information about the evening and the participating wineries is available from Out in the Vineyard's website for the event, here.  Contact the Wine Train to book your tickets before they sell out.

Napa Valley Wine Train, 1275 McKinstry Street, Napa. 800.427.4124.

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