Dogs have become de rigueur at California wineries, it seems, and Sonoma County’s are no exception. You don’t have to go far from the historic Sonoma Plaza to get started: Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery, at the corner of Fourth and East Spain, is both family- and pet-friendly (that said, you must be 21 and human to taste the fruit of the vine). Well behaved dogs are allowed in the winery’s spacious picnic area (little ones that can be carried can come inside, too) and also at the free Friday-night music events held on the grounds in summer.
Another winery that goes above and beyond when it comes to canine visitors is Kunde Family Estate in Kenwood, where well behaved dogs and their uprights are invited to join fourth-generation winegrower Jeff Kunde and his golden Lab, Riley, on a series of dog hikes through estate vineyards to learn about sustainable growing practices. The four-hour, $50 excursions, which include wine tasting and lunch, are scheduled May 19, August 26 and October 6 this year.
Two other Sonoma County wineries well known for pawsitive attitudes toward pups are Lambert Bridge and Mutt Lynch, both in Healdsburg. Lambert Bridge draws a crowd for its monthly “yappy hours” (reservations required) in summer, while Mutt Lynch, whose motto is “Bark Less, Wag More,” hosts many events supporting animal rescue groups along with yappy hours, a dog-friendly spring release party, a dog-art wine label contest and the very popular Dog Days of Summer gathering.
Image: "Out of Reach," winner in the 2011 dog art wine label contest at Mutt Lynch