Washington-based E3 Wines is kicking off LGBTQ+ Pride Month with a new artist label rosé for charity, made at DeLille Cellars using Malbec from Gamache Vineyard in Columbia Valley’s White Bluffs AVA.
“This wine should give some reassurance that there are many in the wine world that actively support and welcome diversity and bridging gaps,” E3 co-founder Nick Bernstein told Wine Spectator via email. “Supporting and elevating the LGBTQA+ community falls right in line for what E3 Wines stands for.”
Sales of E3 Pride Rosé will support two efforts: Half the proceeds are slated for the Roots Fund, a non-profit dedicated to creating stronger routes into the wine industry for members of Black, indigenous and Latinx communities. The other half will help vulnerable LGBTQIA+ youths at Washington’s Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care center.
E3’s mission is to support minority communities facing injustice by encouraging awareness and education, helping the wine community evolve and creating a stronger platform for underrepresented voices, including featuring the work of minority artists on its labels.
New York artist Rory Berthiaume, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, created the label for E3’s Pride rosé. The charcoal-gouache painting was inspired by historical images of the Rebis (the ultimate stage of existence sought by alchemists, possessing both male and female characteristics). “I think of winemaking as alchemy,” Berthiaume explained. “The stages of purification, fermentation and distillation are all alchemical terms that describe a creative and spiritual process of art and craft and becoming.”
This is Berthiaume’s first wine label, though he’d like to create more, and he hopes that different people will be able to see themselves represented in the image. “[Queer culture] aspires to be unconditionally inclusive,” he said. “It operates from a core of love and a longing to express that love as freely and openly as anyone else.”
E3 released its first wine last year, a 2020 Riesling with a label from artist Aramis Hamer. Proceeds went to the Roots Fund and the Liink Project, a Seattle-based organization supporting Black artists and business owners. It’s offering another Riesling this year and plans to launch a Malbec in 2023 that will support vineyard workers. To date, E3 has raised approximately $5,500 for charity.
“Hopefully [people] will drink [Pride Rosé] with loved ones, while discussing the stunning label and wonderful organizations their purchase directly supports,” said Bernstein. E3 Pride Rosé 2021 ($20, 100 cases made) is available at the winery’s website.
Willamette Valley Celebrates Wine Country Pride
Pride month is coming to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in a big way this month, with a growing series of celebrations hosted by Wine Country Pride (WCP), a non-profit, volunteer organization founded in 2020 and dedicated to celebrating Oregon’s rural queer community. Wine Country Pride has also raised more than $35,000 to date for LGBTQIA+ youth scholarships and advocacy.
All June, more than 50 Yamhill County wineries, restaurants and retailers will be participating in Rainbow Quest, selling Pride-themed food, drinks and merchandise to benefit WCP’s scholarship program in partnership with PFLAG Newberg, the local chapter of the national organization dedicated to connecting the LGBTQIA+ community with family, friends and allies.
Remy Drabkin, owner and founder of Remy Wines, co-founder of Wine Country Pride and McMinnville’s first queer mayor, will host the Lez Brunch benefit at her winery in Dayton on June 12, and June 24 Remy Wines will host Queer Wine Fest, featuring 18 queer-affiliated wineries from California, Oregon and Washington, food provided by Caballeros Catering and the Stoller Family Estate winery kitchen and a live performance by Portland-based synth-pop band Camp Crush.
The city of McMinnville will celebrate Pride Month with a street fair June 25 featuring performers, a puppy parade and all the other delights one would expect to find at a street fair, and on June 26, Youngberg Hill winery and inn will host Dragstravaganza, a benefit brunch and drag show starring Miss Gay Oregon 2021, Nicole Onoscopi, and her Queens. Visit Wine Country Pride’s website for tickets and more information.
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