October is prime time to pack the corkscrew, the leash and your four-legged friend for a trip up north to Mendocino County, where the vineyards are blazing with fall color and the mood everywhere is as mellow as can be. The county’s 11 diverse appellations each express a style of their own, and while you can hardly sample them all in a weekend, you can choose an itinerary along one of the county’s “wine roads.”
Beginning in southern Mendocino County, the Highway 128 Wine Trail stretches a very scenic 55 miles from Cloverdale to the coast, where it meets Highway 1. Dog-friendly wineries abound as you travel its length from Yorkville to Philo to Navarro, passing through the Yorkville Highlands and Anderson Valley wine region, known especially for its pinot noirs.
Favorite stops for DogTrekkers include favorite Navarro Vineyards, which has an enclosed area where dogs not ready to settle down can have a quick romp. Nearby Toulouse offers just an enthusiastic a welcome, along with a warehouse-like tasting room and shaded pinic tables with sweeping view. Husch Vineyards, oldest winery in the valley, makes 22 varieties of vino and also welcomes furry friends.
Turning inland, the Highway 101 Mendocino Wine Trail, also known as the Hopland Wine Road, starts in the historic town of Hopland on the west bank of the Russian River and continues to Ukiah and the Redwood and Potter valleys, where you’ll encounter many family-owed winery tasting rooms where pets are considered part of the family. McNab Ridge and Terra Savia Winery & Olive Mill in Hopland are good places to put on your wine-tasting itinerary, along with Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley. This is a historic area so far as wine growing goes, with remnants of wineries abandoned in Prohibition days still evident.
For more on Mendocino County’s dog-friendly wineries, click here. If you are wondering which lodging property to make your home base while you visit the Mendocino Wine Country, try one of the three Beachcomber properties: the Beachcomber Motel and the Surf and Sand Lodge, both on the beach, or the Beach House Inn, across the street on Pudding Creek.