Photo by Santa Cruz County.
There are so many wine-tasting choices in Santa Cruz County
– more than 70 small-production wineries and tasting rooms in all – that narrowing down a dog-friendly itinerary can be a delightfully difficult exercise. Might as well pick a region, a theme and a “wine trail” to stay on course. There’s the Organic Wine Trail
showcasing organic vineyards, for example.
Of the eight member wineries, those with regular tasting-room hours (most only on weekends) and dog-friendly environments include Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards
, Silver Mountain Vineyards
, Big Basin Vineyards
and Storr’s Winery and Vineyards
The Santa Cruz County Wine Trail offers more options. It’s a collection of wineries; not a literal “trail.” DogTrekker.com has mapped out a road-trip itinerary
that can guide you to 10 of them between Davenport and Watsonville. That’s too many for one day, of course, but you could always go “micro” by visiting two dog-friendly wineries on the Corralitos Wine Trail
, at the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, 10 miles south of the city of Santa Cruz. Alfaro Family Vineyards
and Nicholson Vineyards
, both open Saturdays in winter, are just minutes apart and welcome leashed canines with well-behaved people.
Try one or try them all; this dog-friendly county known for its offbeat culture has much to offer, both in the Santa Cruz Mountains and on the ultra-scenic coast. (Tip: autumn is a lovely time to visit, not just for the wines but for brilliant fall foliage in the hills).