Maya chillin' at Navarro Vineyards & Winery. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Nothing like a change of scenery to cleanse your soul of the pandemic blues (but don’t forget your mask)! If wine tasting is on your agenda, know that Mendocino County
is home to 10 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) lumped together under the Mendocino County label.
While there are many dog-friendly wineries
scattered about, it makes sense if you’re a newbie to the area to follow a designated “wine road.” There are two: One is the inland Hopland-Highway 101 Wine Road
, while the other cruises through the Yorkville Highlands and Anderson Valley via Highway 128
. On either, you’ll find a multitude of opportunities to sip and swirl with your dog by your side (either inside or outside; be sure to check).
As for highlights? The scenic Highway 128 Wine Road
stretches 55 miles from Boonville in the south to Leggett in the north. Star attraction is Anderson Valley wine region
, encompassing the Boonville, Philo, Yorkville Highlands and Navarro regions. Get a feel for funky Boonville
(ask a local to say something in “Boonting,” a jargon language spoken nowhere else) at Breggo Cellars
, where tastings can be conducted outside to accommodate visitors accompanied by their pets. Nearby Toulouse
offers another enthusiastic welcome, along with a picnic area with sweeping views of valley vineyards. Husch Vineyards
, oldest winery in the valley, makes more than 20 varieties of vino and welcomes furry friends in a pony barn converted to a tasting room.
Moving over to the Hopland Wine Road (Highway 101 from Hopland in the south to Willits in the north), you’ll find about two dozen tasting rooms, most of them dog-friendly. A standout is Campovida
, an organic food-and-wine complex on a former Fetzer estate. Sample estate-grown olive oils along with your wine, then stroll the 12-acre biodynamic gardens.
Nearby Terra Savia Winery
also makes wine and olive oils and maintains a press used to process much of the oil produced in the region (visit in November to see the press in action). Right in downtown Hopland, McFadden Farm Stand
and tasting room showcases wines and a variety of irresistible gift items including (just in time for the holidays) fresh wreaths and garlands.