Photo Credit: JJ
The Napa Valley wine region boasts about 120 wineries that welcome dogs on their grounds and/or their tasting rooms, and you’ll find brief descriptions of most of them in the listings on DogTrekker.com. Where to start? To minimize driving, choose several in the same general area. Many wineries require appointments for reasons of crowd control, so be sure to call first to ensure a personalized experience. Be prepared for tasting fees ranging from $20 to $50.
The Carneros region, at the southern end of the valley, is quickest to reach from Sacramento or the Bay Area, and makes for a great day-trip destination. Dog-friendly wineries here include Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, whose tasting facility resembles a western mountain lodge and features a covered veranda overlooking the vineyards; Trinitas Cellars at the Meritage Resort, whose tasting room is located in a cave; and nearby Falcor Wine Cellars, just down the street from the famous Napa Grape Crusher statue.
Moving up-valley, Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards three miles outside St. Helena area enjoys a secluded setting that feels miles away from the hustle-bustle of Highway 29, while historic Flora Springs Vineyards, just outside town, summons food trucks on weekends through October and welcomes dogs on its patio, in its picnic areas and on the trails that wind through the property. Nearby Inglenook is a stunning Napa Valley estate dating to the 1870s and restored by Francis Ford-Coppola. Dogs aren’t allowed inside the imposing chateau, but the fountain-bedecked grounds are worth strolling nonetheless, and you can taste al fresco at the Bistro.
The Rutherford wine-growing region presents still more opportunities for exploration with your pup. Tres Sabores, small and family owned, is a leader in biodynamic farming. Your dog can’t accompany you on the indoor portion of tours, but you can both meet the resident farm animals and enjoy libations in the vineyard picnic area. Honig is another winery that never disappoints, whether or not you’re with a dog. It’s stylish tasting lounge is in the middle of a vineyard, and if you’re interested in sustainable farming, you can join a tour with your pup by your side.
Photo Credit: JJ (CC)