Every California winery association, it seems, has developed a wine road or trail to guide visitors to tasting discoveries they might otherwise have not known existed. Santa Clara County is no exception. Its Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail is an association representing over 30 wineries between San Jose and Gilroy. Some of them are among the oldest wine producers in the state, and many are dog-friendly. Here is DogTrekker.com’s list of affordable places to stay in Gilroy.
Among the 20 wineries rolling out the red carpet for visiting canines and their peeps are Kirigin Cellars, Satori Cellars, and Sarah’s Vineyards, all of which welcome dogs and may even have special treats and activities waiting for them!
Santa Clara’s wine history is fascinating, starting with Spanish padres taking a clue from flourishing wild grapevines and planting grapes of their own. Then, during the Gold Rush, came the French, who brought their winemaking skills and growing techniques.
By the 1850s, the valley claimed more than 100 wineries and more acres of cultivated wine grapes than any other county in the state. But then came Prohibition, the Great Depression and phylloxera, a disease that wiped out the majority of vineyards in California. The industry all but dried up, only to make a roaring comeback in the 1980s.
Today’s 30-mile wine trail encompasses both established wineries with century-old roots and innovative newcomers experimenting with new varietals and growing techniques. If you plan repeat visits, consider a Wine Trail Passport, $90, good for a year and providing access to member wineries with no reservation fees and an included tasting. (Some establishments require reservations, some don’t. Click here to see and go to individual websites for the pet-friendly lowdown).