Winery rich Mendocino County is home to 10 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), a half-dozen of which are smaller regions lumped together under the over-arching Mendocino County label. While there are many dog-friendly tasting rooms scattered about, it makes sense for newbies to follow one of two designated “wine roads,” one tracing Highway 128 through the famed Anderson Valley, the other centered around the Hopland area on Highway 101.
The Hopland Wine Road, stretching roughly from Hopland in the south to Willits in the north, is the more remote of the two, but its 18 tasting rooms, most of them dog-friendly, engage on many levels. Just east of Hopland and across the Russian River is one of the standouts, Campovida, an organic food and wine center on the sprawling campus of the former Fetzer Valley Oaks estate. Dogs are welcome in the tasting room (where you can sample estate-grown olive oils as well as wine), in the picnic area, in the strollable,12-acre biodynamic gardens as well as at patio tables at the associated Piazza de Campovida restaurant in town (try the polenta fries and pepperoni pizza with jalapeños and pineapple).
Just south of Hopland, the Milano Family Winery, whose tasting room is housed in an old hops kiln (Hopland is named for this essential ingredient in beer), beckons with history as well as a warm welcome to dogs who set paw in the tasting room, patio and covered picnic pavilion. Nearby Terra Sávia Winery makes wonderful estate-grown wines and olive oils and maintains an Italian olive press used to process much of the olive oil produced in Sonoma County (olive-harvest season is November if you’d like to see the mill in action). The property also features an art gallery showcasing paintings, furniture and other creations by local artists (dogs welcome in the tasting rooms and on the grounds but not in the gallery).
Right in “downtown” Hopland, McFadden Farm Stand and Tasting Room showcases organically grown wines and a variety of irresistible gift items including garlic braids, fresh wreaths and garlands, organic herbs and wild rice.
Photo Credit: @suki_theshiba