While water activities are of course a big attraction in Lake County, more than 30 wineries, most with dog-friendly picnic areas and tasting rooms, welcome visitors in what is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the country. While the region is best known for its sauvignon blancs, petit sirahs and big reds are gaining well deserved cachet. The Lake County wine-growing region blanketing the eastern portion of the county is divided into seven AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), or appellations, each with its own sense of place.
You and your dog will get a warm welcome at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, Steele Wines and Thorn Hill Vineyards, to name just a few of the many estates where you can taste with Lucky by your side. And how can a DogTrekker resist a place called Smiling Dogs Ranch, which has a tasting room (one of four) on Main Street in downtown Kelseyville, on the south end of the lake? (Answer: you can’t!)
Further down the road, Chacewater Winery and Olive Mill, renowned for its award-winning sauvignon blancs, has a tasting room where you can also buy locally produced oils and soaps. At Beaver Creek Vineyards, you can learn about certified organic and biodynamic winemaking and sample the difference at the tasting bar. To enjoy a little history with your award-winning petit sirah, head to Langtry Estate & Vineyard near Middletown, in the south county’s Guenoc AVA. This vast estate, named for British actress Lillie Langtry, who purchased it in the 1880s, encourages relaxation in a picnic area framing views of rolling vineyards and a reservoir tucked into the hills.
A novel option: the Red Hills Terroir Trail, a private, 1.25-mile path through vineyards and countryside connecting the dog-friendly Vigilance and Gregory Graham wineries in the Lower Lake area (open only during tasting room hours).
Want to sample several Lake County wines under one roof? Pop into the Lake Country Wine Studio in Upper Lake, a specialty wine-tasting room and retail shop that welcomes four-legged guests so long as their owners are considerate of folks who might be uncomfortable or allergic.
Photo Credit: @embeckwith