Dog owners who treat their canines like family no longer have to leave their pooches home when they head out for wine tasting. Dog-friendly tasting rooms—and tasting rooms exclusively for dogs—are popping up across the map, as wineries are tapping into the trend of offering more than just tastings, but addressing consumer lifestyles.
“We do allow dogs, but we do it on a dog-by-dog basis,” says Ron Williams, tasting room manager of Waterbrook (waterbrook.com) in Walla Walla, Washington. “If the dog is friendly and nobody in the tasting room objects, then we invite the dog in.”
Here are other dog-friendly tasting rooms to visit.
“It always looks like adoption day at the Humane Society in here,” says Matthew Rawn, winemaker and director of sales and marketing at Two Mountain Winery, located in Zillah, Washington. Rawn has four dogs of his own who call the winery their home—Bentley, Stoli, Gus and Rudy—and welcomes visiting dogs to roam the winery and orchards while their owners sip glasses of Brothers No. 2, a popular Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend ($47/750 ml).
As Karen Krug, winemaker and owner of Whidbey Island’s Spoiled Dog Winery in Langley, Washington, puts it, “How could we be anything but dog-friendly?” Indeed, with two Australian shepherds—Blue and Sami—greeting guests, the winery welcomes dogs to enjoy their Yappy Hour summer weekend festivity. At Yappy Hour, dogs enjoy treats and water while their owners indulge in seasonal wine-and-cheese pairings.
The official policy at Ste. Chapelle in Caldwell, Idaho, is that well-behaved dogs are welcome to relax on the patio while their owners sip their award-winning wines, like the 2007 Ice Wine Riesling Reserve ($24/HOT375 ml). Many come to sip wines and enjoy lunch at a picnic table overlooking the Snake River. But with the winery’s Vineyard Park and acres of orchards and vineyards to ramble through, it’s not rare to see a dog exploring freely.
Located in Gaston, Oregon, this winery features a fenced-in park for canines to romp, and dogs are also free to escort their owners into the winery. Inside, they’re served biscuits and meet resident winery Labrador, Ghost, while their owners enjoy Red Velvet 351 ($28/750 ml). Plum Hill also helps host a yearly event called Canines Uncorked, sponsored by the Oregon Humane Society, which combines wine tasting for guests with dog-friendly activities, such as consultations with pet communicators and behaviorists, doggy obstacle courses and doggy ice cream sundaes.
At this Healdsburg, California, winery, everything revolves around dogs. The winery hosts monthly events focused on dog-friendly activities, including open (dog) house, brunch with your pooch and Dog Art Day. Available bottles for tasting and purchasing include the 2009 Merlot Over and Play Dead ($14/750 ml) wine and the 2009 Out of Reach Muttitage Red Wine ($25/750 ml), a bronze medalist at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. A portion of proceeds from every bottle is donated to support local animal rescue organizations.
A tasting room designed exclusively for dogs, Frenchie Winery (named for and inspired by the French Bulldog of Raymond Vineyards Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset), located in St. Helena, California, features five individual kennel spaces containing specially designed wine-barrel dog beds and a chandelier that dispenses water for its canine guests. There’s also an outdoor play area, with views of the biodynamic vineyard. Visitors can also watch pets on a Web cam during tastings. The wines available for human guests include the 2009 Frenchie Napoleon Red wines, a special blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Franc ($30/750 ml), and the 2009 Frenchie Louis XIV Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 61% Sonoma County and 39% Napa County fruit ($30/750 ml).
Healdsburg, California, could arguably be named the dog-friendly capital of the world. “There are a number of pet-focused tasting rooms and restaurants downtown,” says Paul Hawley, assistant winemaker and marketer of Hawley Winery. Here are spots to consider in the area: