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Summertime is the time for a great road trip. For some people, the perfect summer getaway means a trip to the beach or a drive through the mountains. For others it means a leisurely tour through wine country. If you love bringing your pet along when you travel, but your dream vacation involves sampling fine wines in charming, scenic vineyards, you needn’t worry. Many vineyards around the country will welcome you and your pooch with open arms.
Not only can your dog come along on your tasting trip – he is sure to actually enjoy it. Some pet friendly vineyards allow dogs to run free in enclosed areas set aside for just that purpose. Others allow dogs to come in with you to the tasting room, and still others provide perks for four-legged visitors, such as water bowls and treats.
Then there are those truly dog friendly vineyards – those whose owners love dogs just as much as they love crafting excellent wine. Owners who understand that, while enjoying the perfect vino with friends in a beautiful setting is a lovely experience, having your best furry pal by your side is the icing on the cake.
To help you with your travel plans, we searched high and low to find the most dog friendly vineyards. Here is our list of the top five, in no particular order:
Located in the lush and scenic Finger Lakes wine region of upstate New York, Americana Vineyards offers visitors a great selection of upscale, yet affordable wines, served by attentive and knowledgeable tasting staff members. If you’re feeling peckish you can dine at the winery’s café, which serves delicious fare made from the best fresh, locally available ingredients.
Americana’s idyllic location in an early 19th-century barn gives it a charm that’s all its own, and its family-style tastings are cozy and inviting. Live musicians often play, creating a great ambiance, and the winery regularly holds holiday celebrations and festivals.
Americana’s owners are tried-and-true dog lovers. Their two beloved chocolate labs, Max and Rubie, have some of the most important jobs at the winery: greeting human and canine guests, and authoring their very own blog.
Well-behaved, happy dogs are allowed on the vineyard grounds, and Max, Rubie and their human parents enjoy meeting new canine friends at festivals and concerts. Once a year, Americana holds Woofstock, an all-day extravaganza featuring live music, games, food, and – of course – wine. Visitors to Woofstock can browse fun doggie-themed treats, crafts and novelties, and feel good about knowing that all proceeds go to the support of local pet shelters.
Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane
Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, Virginia welcomes whole families, including their dogs, with open arms. Guests are warmly invited to tour the vineyards, enjoy a picnic on the grass, sample great wine, or browse "The FarmFarm" farmer’s market.
The owners of Barrel Oak, Brian and Sharon Roeder, are passionate about dogs – a fact that’s evident everywhere. Even the winery name has a dog theme: the first letters of each word spell out “bow,” as in “bow wow.” Brian and Sharon have four dogs, and their presence is reflected throughout the winery -- their likenesses even grace the wine bottle labels. One of their dogs, Birch, works as a greeter, and even has his very own “work desk.”
Leashed dogs are welcome both inside and outside Barrel Oak, and the winery invites well-behaved and friendly dogs to socialize and play on the property.
Mutt Lynch Winery
When an establishment’s motto is “Bark Less, Wag More,” you know you’re in a dog friendly place. The Mutt Lynch Winery certainly appreciates pooches -- even its wine names pay homage to the canine set. There’s Chateau D’og Cabernet, Portrait of a Mutt Red Wine, and our personal favorite, Merlot Over and Play Dead.
At Mutt Lynch, leashed dogs are allowed throughout the establishment. The winery is typically only open by appointment, but it does host several dog friendly events throughout the year. One of their most popular events is the annual Dog Days of Summer, which features food, fun, live music, and a charming dog art exhibit.
Kunde Family Estate
Located in Sonoma Valley, California, the Kunde Family Estate has been enchanting wine lovers for more than 100 years, and is currently run by fourth and fifth generations of the Kunde family. This vineyard is lush, beautiful, and upscale, and the family takes pride in crafting beautifully-balanced wines from hand-harvested grapes grown entirely on the estate.
While this winery isn’t as overt in its affection for dogs as some others on our list, it does offer a thoughtful experience for pet parents and their faithful four-legged companions. Winegrowers Jeff and Roberta Kunde and their dogs Cooper and Marley offer four-hour hiking tours through the estate for pet parents and their dogs. The tour ends with a tasting, a scrumptious lunch, and treats for the pups.
Located in Napa Valley, Frenchie Winery was named for the owners’ beloved French bulldog. Frenchie has become the face of the vineyard – he appears as different classic characters in charming portraits throughout the winery, and he is the proud host of his own YouTube channel.
Human visitors to Frenchie are treated to a delicious tasting of fine wines, while their pups are treated to luxury accommodations in the winery’s outdoor dog suite. Canine guests can play in the sunshine or lounge on specially-made wine barrel beds, and pet parents can watch the fun from tasting room.
While they may not all feature dog portraits on their walls, many wineries everywhere are in fact dog friendly. As you plan your trip, make a quick call to any winery that piques your interest. You may just find that they are as happy to welcome your pooch as they are to welcome you.