Though the rainbow flag has long flown along the banks of the Russian River, increasing numbers of Sonoma County businesses are rolling out the pink carpet for gay tourists. Named one of the country's top 20 tourist destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, Sonoma's appeal is broadening beyond weekend retreats in Guerneville to wine- and food-tasting adventures throughout the county. 

“We want Wine Country to be a destination for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) crowd,” said Gary Saperstein, co-director of Out in the Vineyard, a gay-focused tour company based in Sonoma hosting Gay Wine Weekend which kicked off in June. He and business partner Mark Vogler found more than a dozen local wineries, restaurants and hotels eager to participate in the weekend-long celebration. Gay Wine Weekend attracted nearly 500 attendees, and featured upscale wine dinners, tastings, parties, an auction and gay-friendly activities throughout the valley. This is definitely an event to keep on your radar for next summer, especially because Sonoma County is really embracing gay travel and tourism!

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