Mendocino County isn’t just about that beautifully sculpted coast. The inland regions are also gorgeous in a green and hilly kind of way. The county is one of the largest wine producers in the state. Its 12 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs, or wine-growing regions) each have a distinct personality, terroir and topography, along with unique characteristics in the wines they produce. You’ll find plenty to sample and sights to see along the county’s Highway 101 or 128 “wine roads.”
The good news on both routes, as well as coastal towns: dogs are welcome at almost all Mendo wineries, either in picnic areas or tasting rooms or both. The ambience throughout is very laid-back, and there’s no such thing as a $50 tasting fee.
Mendocino County wine country can be broadly divided into two areas: the Highway 101 corridor encompassing Hopland, Willits and Ukiah; and the Yorkville Highlands/Anderson Valley growing areas along Highway 128. Most wineries are small and family owned, tasting is often gratis, and pets are considered part of the family.
For a memorable day on Highway 101, stop by Saracina Winery in Hopland, learn about organic grape farming and sample the goods while settled into a lounge chair in the shady picnic area. Wine tasting is free and the setting laid-back and dog-friendly at organic Yorkville Cellars in Yorkville, where every day is Earth Day in more ways than one.
Get a feel for Anderson Valley at any one of the Fido-friendly tasting rooms that line the valley floor. If you’re planning to stay in Boonville proper, check out Sheep Dung Estate where dogs can run free
For a trek up Highway 128, start in Cloverdale. This scenic route offers up many delights, including the Boonville General Store, a stellar pit stop for sandwiches, soups, pizzas and other deli delights. Continue north for coastal adventures in Little River and Mendocino town. If you’re planning to spend the night, check out the Anderson Valley Inn in Philo, the Boonville Hotel in downtown Boonville, or Sheep Dung Properties, a collection of rural retreats in the area where your dog can romp freely in the countryside.
For more on dog-friendly Mendocino County Wine Country, download the county’s Bring a Friend Pet Guide and check out the Mendo pages at DogTrekker.com.