Grape Crusher, Napa Valley. Photo Credit: @crazyblondie021
The Napa Valley wine harvest is in full swing right now, but not for long. Come October, the vines will be blazing orange and high-season crowds will have dissipated. Go midweek if you can—and if time is short, consider staying at the Meritage Resort in the south end of the valley, just an hour from San Francisco or Sacramento.
The valley’s largest hotel (more than 300 rooms) is also one of its most dog-friendly, and it offers something many others don’t: an opportunity to walk in the vineyards. After visiting the dog-friendly tasting room in the cave complex out back, climb the stairs up a hill, stroll between vines and look for the path leading to an easy-to-crawl-through fence. You’ll come out right below the landmark Grape Crusher statue overlooking Highway 12/29. Talk about a photo opp!
A new Napa Valley opportunity for DogTrekkers awaits along a six-mile segment of the newly inaugurated Napa Valley Vine Trail between Napa and Yountville. Eventually, the ambitious bike and pedestrian path will stretch 47 miles from the Vallejo Ferry Terminal to Calistoga, at the far north end of the valley. For now, start at the park-and-ride lot near the Marriott Napa Valley Hotel & Spa on Solano Avenue and stroll about two miles to Laird Family Estate, a dog-friendly winery and tasting facility in an architecturally intriguing structure built to an I.M. Pei design. The patio (dog-friendly, of course) overlooks a custom crush pad that processes grapes for more than 60 labels and is very busy in September.
Alternatively, make lunch reservations in Yountville (Bouchon, Bistro Jeanty, Redd Wood and Addendum are among restaurants with dog-friendly patio seating) and work off a few calories beforehand with a Vine Trail walk of less than a mile to Domaine Chandon, a sparkling wine specialist where dog-friendly options include a sleek tasting room, expansive patio and landscaped grounds.
Photo Credit: @crazyblondie021