Wine dog in action. Photo Credit: SkyWideDesign (CC)
The Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, known primarily for producing pinot noir and chardonnay, is one of the oldest in the state. Close to 100 wineries and tasting rooms are sprinkled in nooks and crannies throughout Santa Cruz County, and dogs are welcome at many of them. DogTrekker.com has created a designated wine trail as you drive in on Highway 1 from the north.
Just north of Santa Cruz, pull off in Davenport and visit the Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room. It’s a lovely venue just across the road from dog-friendly (but leash required) Davenport Beach.
In the town of Santa Cruz, Surf City Vintners, near the famous Beach Boardwalk amusement park, is a micro-winery collective with a number of dog-friendly tasting rooms in a trendy retail complex that also includes several patio restaurants that welcome customers’ four-legged sidekicks. At MJA Vineyards, your wine-tasting experience ends with a taste of Kona coffee.
The foothills outside Soquel are another good place to center a visit. At Hunter Hill, high above town, you’ll sip wine at a redwood bar while enjoying views overlooking the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. With a visit to Poetic Cellars, on 33 redwood-studded acres, comes a romantic theme supplemented by ocean views.
Near the coastal enclave of Aptos, Nicholson Vineyards is relaxed, dog-friendly and unusual in that the rustic tasting room is right in the middle of the vineyard. Alfaro Family Vineyards, in the Corralitos area, likewise has a super-relaxed vibe—plus it’s not far from Corralitos Market and Sausage Company, a regionally famous deli. Stock up on picnic fixin’s and enjoy your feast at Aldridge Lane Park, just a short walk from the market.
Photo Credit: SkyWideDesign (CC)