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Wine tasting isn't just about thoughtfully sipping vintages to look for hints of cherry, pepper and blackberry.
These days, it's also about bringing your best buddy along — the four-legged kind.
Vetstreet rounds up eight wineries across the country that not only allow pooches on property, but also work doggedly to welcome canine visitors with special events, including "Yappy Hours" and dog-friendly vineyard strolls.
Set in California’s fabled Sonoma County grape country, Mutt Lynch Winery is as dog-friendly as its name implies. Owners Brenda and Chris Lynch started their operation in 1995, with their ex-racing Greyhound rescue Patch in tow. Their motto: “Apply Dog Logic to Life.”
The couple regularly hosts and participates in dog events, like their annual “Barkus” open house, featuring “Yaps & Apps” and vineyard walks. As a bonus, these gatherings often support animal charities, like Adopt-a-Pet and the Green Dog Rescue Project. In the tasting room, animal lovers will find water bowls, dog beds and cookie jars filled to the brim with pet treats (there are even snacks for pups with food allergies) while the humans sip the “best doggone wine” ever.
Tip: Not too dog tired yet? Head to nearby Lambert Bridge Winery for more four-legged fun with resident dogs Bernadette, Wiley, Gus and Heinzy, who welcome visitors to a tasting room stocked with treats and water bowls. Starting in July, the winery will host a "Yappy Hour" on the first Friday evening of every month, which includes pizza, wine, pet adoptions and freshly baked treats for pups.
When Andy Troutman and his wife, Deanna, took over the Winery at Wolf Creek in 2002, they were already intimately acquainted with the property — he'd been Wolf Creek's longtime vineyard manager. These days, the couple throws regular animal-related events: “Hog Day,” featuring celebrated porcine guest of honor Baconstein; The Goat Derby, with resident animals Peanut, Cashew and Mona, and, most notably, “Yappy Hours” on one Tuesday evening each month throughout the summer. Guests and their pups pay $10 to sip vino and nibble on dog treats — and the proceeds benefit Give Pets a Chance, an adoption charity.
Spoiled Dog Winery (the name says it all) is located on a sustainable farm in a “rain shadow” on lush Whidbey Island, which gets less rainfall than the surrounding Puget Sound area. This is apparently good for the grapes — and also for pups, who come calling with their human companions, hoping to snag some tasty treats and romp with Australian Shepherds Sami and Blue in the farm’s new tasting room. The winery also throws an annual Spoiled Dog Contest — people send in stories about spoiling their dogs, and the top three winners receive bottles of wine.
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