We don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule on the Defense of Marriage Act, but the wineries have already spoken.
Many in the industry have been coming out loud and proud on the side of same sex marriage. They’re contributing to LGBTQ advocacy groups, hosting same sex wedding parties in their vineyards, and even putting their politics on the label.
Some of the recent gay-friendly bottlings:
- Same Sex Meritage: as the winemakers say, “United States citizens should have two irrevocable freedoms– to marry the person they love and to purchase an awesome wine at a reasonable price.”
- Égalité : “A toast to equality.”
- A reference to the genetic origins of sexual orientation, Genetic Pinot Noir comes from the LGBTQ wine label Stand Tall Wine Co.
One part social statement, one part savvy sales strategy.
When they broadcast their pride-friendly slogans and messages, the winemakers conveniently tap into a large and growing consumer segment that is more affluent and consumer driven than the average. It’s the so-called ‘pink dollar,’ the $790 billion U.S. LGBTQ market that’s heavy on the DINKs (Double Income No Kids) with a powerful inclination to favor businesses that favor them.
Raise a glass to the newlyweds.
A few years ago Forbes speculated that if marriage laws change nationally, the potential market for same sex weddings could be $16.8 billion annually. Imagine the windfall to a company like Stein Family Wines with its Same Sex Meritage— tailor-made for toasting the happy couples.
There will undoubtedly be some pandering as the barriers to marriage fall and the LGBTQ celebrations market picks up steam. But for the most part the early wine entrants have demonstrated a genuine commitment to the struggle for gay rights. For every bottle of Same Sex Meritage sold, Stein Family Wines donates $1 to the advocacy group Freedom to Marry; Égalité gives a portion to organizations benefiting LGBTQ youth; and Genetic Pinot Noir’s maker is aligned with Napa Valley’s LGBTQ Connection.
And it’s not just new bottlings with their message-specific labels. Plenty of heritage winemakers, especially in California’s gay-friendly wine country, have quietly supported the LGBTQ movement for years, even decades.
Find the wine.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation rates corporate policies and practices as they relate to the LGBT community. Its 2013 Buyer’s Guide gives highest marks to dozens of wineries.