"In Vino Homoeroticus," Black Book, September 2003

by david farley

There are some things that are just gay.
For example, Richard Simmons: gay.
Leather chaps: gay. Richard Simmons in
leather chaps: superlatively gay. But
save for the obligatory martini while
singing show tunes at a piano bar, there
are no distinctively gay drinks. 

Enter Roberto Massari. The Italian
publisher has recently produced the
world's first "gay wine"--that is, the
first wine dedicated to gay people.  The
red wine, called Gayardo Rosso, is the
eleventh in the "Wines to Read" ("Vini
da Leggere
") series. Past wines have been
dedicated to famed Italian feminist Rosa Luxemburg and Che Guevara, among others.

So what makes this wine so gay? For starters its label is crammed with verse written by Massimo Consoli, a famed Italian gay writer, who dedicated the wine to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a 19th century German who is considered to be the first gay activist.

Its bold flavor and high alcohol content (13.5%) are intentional: Massari wanted to make a statement that not all things gay are light and fruity. In fact, even the wine's name is a clever play on words. The Italian word gagliardo means "strong" and "brave" and when pronounced with a Roman accent, the result is gayardo.

Gimmicks aside, how does gay wine match up with "straight" wines? If sales of its first run are any indication, the answer is: fabulous! At the wine's unveiling, at
Rome's Mario Mieli Gay Association, all 160 bottles were sold before the night's end. But not to worry, Massari is currently producing a second run, which can be purchased only through his publishing house.

www.enjoy.it/erre-emme%20 (the Web site is in Italian). Or, call or fax (011 39 0761 79 98 31).