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Now this is a public transit initiative we can get behind: on Saturday March 12, wine country's burgeoning gay events and tour organization Out in the Vineyard (OutInTheVineyard.com) is teaming with the Napa Valley Wine Train for a night of classed-up cuisine, fine pours, and fraternity.
A dinner party on rails, up to 182 guests choo-choo (and chew chew) throughout the 3-hour, 36-mile Big Gay Train Trip, in an old-world style atmosphere. Think Americana mixed with a dash of Orient Express (minus the murder) with twin antique locomotives pulling a collection of restored turn-of-the-20th-century rail cars through picturesque hills and valleys. Each of the four gourmet courses is paired with select vintages from local gay-owned vineyards – Sebastiania, Bjornstad, Poem, Hesperian – with some even incorporated into the dishes like lamb lollipops drizzled with a wine reduction sauce. Rest assured, this being the heart of bucolic Cali, it's all seasonal, sustainable, and locavore-leaning.
According to OitV founder Gary Saperstein, sales are moving along swiftly with both $125 Gourmet Express Car and $150 VIP Vista Dome Car levels available. A portion of the proceeds benefit the area's Queen of the Valley HIV/AIDS Care Unit. Train departs at 6:30pm, with a 5:30pm J Sparkling Wine reception at 5:30pm. Visit OutInTheVineyard.com to buy tickets.
Napa Valley is just an hour from San Francisco, but who wants to count their glasses at dinner? And with this winter being one of the area's mildest in recent memory ('70s and sunny, is this SoCal?), spring is primed to be amazing. I'd make a weekend of it. The new gay owners of the Chablis Inn in Napa (ChablisInn.com) are offering $99/night rates, a super deal as the area begins to enter high season.