They used to call it Steinbeck Wine Country, and the views celebrated in "East of Eden" are just as bucolic as in the famous author's time. Nowadays, 12 wineries hugging the hills above Steinbeck's old haunts in the Salinas Valley are known as the River Road Wine Trail, and word about their great wines and unpretentious tasting rooms is getting out. Travelers who explore these hidden gems along the River Road/Foothill Road corridor in Monterey County will find their four-legged companions welcome just abut everywhere, so don't even hesitate about bringing Spot.
One place where pooches are especially welcome is Smith Family Wines, an artisan operation in the Santa Lucia Highlands whose tasting room offers the most beautiful views overlooking the valley and the vineyards. Pull up a stool and sip Alexander-Smith, Paraiso and Irie wines at the indoor bar, lounge on the back deck with a picnic lunch, or get cozy at our giant stone fire pit while you take in the magical vistas.
Dogs are welcome inside and out, and members of the winemaking Smith family are happy to explain their sustainable farming methods. Don’t be surprised if you receive a tail-wagging greeting upon arrival from winery dogs Sam and Joe. Please check winery website for days and hours of operation.