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Your dog is more than a pet. Pups are beloved family members and it's natural to want to include them in our favorite activities ... including wine tasting!
Many vineyards invite guests to sniff and sip wine while savoring a day with their pet, too. If you want to visit a dog-friendly winery, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. Here are some notes on what you need to know before you go to some of the nation's best dog-friendly wineries and vineyards.
What to Do Before You Take Your Dog to a Winery
Visiting a winery is likely new territory for your pup. You'll want to add a these tasks to your pre-trip to-do list.
Brush up on basic training. At least six to eight weeks in advance, practice some basic skills to ensure your dog has a safe and fun trip. Joan Hunter Mayer, a certified professional dog trainer and founder of The Inquisitive Canine suggests, teaching your dog cues like down, sit, stay, and how to leave things alone when they're dropped on the ground.
Have a dress rehearsal. A winery is going to feel different from home. Mayer recommends doing a practice run by inviting friends over and seeing how your dog reacts, then graduating to a nearby dog-friendly restaurant that allows pets on the patio.
Call ahead to ask if the winery is dog-friendly. Policies are constantly changing, so before you load up your pup in the car, just double check to make sure you can being them along.
Pet Safety Tips at the Winery
Even the best dog-friendly wineries may pose safety hazards for your canine best friend. Here's how to keep them happy and healthy.
Watch what they eat. Grapes and raisins are toxic for dogs and any alcohol, wine included, can also make your pup severely ill.
BYOT, BYOW. Since your dog can't have what you're having, Elizabeth Schneider, an author, host of the podcast "Wine for Normal People," and dog mom says it's best to bring food and beverages for them. "Don't rely on these dog-friendly wineries to have water and treats," she says.
Know your dog's limits. If your fur baby seems tired or cranky, it may be time to pack it in early. Also understand that some dogs will just not enjoy a crowded winery environment, and that's OK! There are a ton of other fun, safe outdoor activities pups and their parents can do together (and the winery will still be there another day after you find a good a pet sitter).
Be respectful. Sometimes, things don't go according to plan. Schneider says the safest thing to do is to be respectful of any requests the winery staff makes. "It's the staff's prerogative," she says. And not being respectful could ruin the fun for other dogs in the future.
Best East Coast Dog-Friendly Wineries
Some like to say, "West coast, best coast" for wine, but east coast wines have a character all their own. Don't believe us? Taste for yourself—with your pup—at these wineries that allow dogs.
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars of Lodi, N.Y.
Schneider recommends this New York spot, one of a few Finger Lakes wineries that are dog-friendly. The rieslings inside are rivaled only by the gorgeous views of Seneca Lake on the outside. Your pup is welcome to peer out onto the sprawling vineyard and waterfront right alongside you. Set on more than 100 acres, there's plenty of space to sit back and relax with your pup.
Working Dog Winery in Hightstown, N.J.
New York often gets a lot of the credit for east coast wine. But neighboring New Jersey has some muscles to flex, too. The appropriately-named Working Dog Winery in New Jersey is a small but mighty vineyard situated on 17 acres. The winery doesn't just have dogs on its label. It welcomes pups to roll around on the lawn portion of the property (on a leash) while the humans toast to their four-legged companions.
Best West Coast Dog-Friendly Wineries
Napa Cabernet Sauvignons are bold and fruit-forward, and Sonoma's chill vibes and Pinot Noir hit all the right notes. The possibilities for west coast wine tasting with your pet are endless. Allow us to help you narrow your choices.
Longboard in Healdsburg, Calif.
The recommendation for Longboard Vineyards one of several dog-friendly wineries Sonoma is home to, comes from Schneider. People say it's a hidden gem that not only boasts creative wines but first-class service, the latter of which both humans and pups lap up. You may even catch glimpse of Fog, the adorable vineyard dog.
Frog's Leap in Napa, Calif.
Schneider says dog-friendly wineries in Napa are harder to come by than those in Sonoma, but Frog's Leap is her pick for this area. Despite its wide distribution throughout the country, the vineyard manages to maintain an intimate feel. Stepping into the outdoor area feels like entering a Zen garden. It's in full bloom in spring and summer, providing a scenic backdrop.
Tablas Creek in Paso Robles, Calif.
Pets are permitted outdoors at Tablas Creek, a favorite spot dog-friendly winery in Paso Robles. The patio is shaded, providing protection from the elements on a warm afternoon. And environmentally-conscious animal lovers may especially appreciate this place. While there, you can learn how a herd of free-roaming sheep and alpacas plays a role in keeping the vineyard soil healthy.
Best Great Lakes Region Dog-Friendly Wineries
This under-the-radar wine region includes Michigan, Ohio, and parts of New York. It gets an assist from the surrounding lakes, which retain heat and aid in protecting vines even during the colder months. And some wineries that allow dogs get an extra star from pet parents for their Fido-friendly policies.
Left Foot Charley in Traverse City, Mich.
When it comes to dog-friendly wineries in Traverse City, Left Foot Charley is a go-to. The vineyard boasts something for multiple types of imbibers, as it not only serves red, white, and sparkling wines, but ciders as well. Pups can sip water outside.
Fox Run Vineyards in Penn Yan, N.Y.
While several wineries are dog-friendly outside, Fox Run also welcomes dogs inside at the main tasting bar. (On a nice day, a seat outside on the patio or lawn is highly recommended, though, if only for the fresh air and sprawling vineyard views). While your dog indulges in whatever goodies you brought, there's also the option to treat your pup to a fancy house-made Bark-Chew-terie board made with delicious dog-safe snacks like a peanut butter pumpkin ball and apple slices.
Best Midwestern Dog Friendly Wineries
The Midwest may be better known for its humid summers, cold winters, and amiable locals than its wine. But these dog-friendly wineries are proving that Midwestern vino is a hidden gem for pet parents.
Chandler Hill Vineyard in Defiance, Mo.
When Chandler Hill Vineyard says it's family-friendly, that means dogs are welcome, too. Dogs can chill on the back deck and in the vineyards with their oenophile parents. The gorgeous views include a pond and acres of vines. Rosé is among the favorite wines to try.
Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery in Galena, Ill.
This laidback vineyard loves dogs so much, it includes a photo of one on their website. What's more, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery is one of a few vineyards that doesn't prohibit guests from bringing in outside food. Consider packing a picnic full of your favorite foods, dog treats, and water (outside beverages aren't allowed for humans). But the vineyard produces a special jalapeño wine that Bloody Mary lovers adore and a sangria that hits the spot on a summer day.
Best Dog Friendly Wineries in the South
The Southern part of the U.S. is typically lauded for its sweet tea. But quality local wine is on the menu, too. Bask in all the southern comforts at a couple of dog-friendly wineries.
Augusta Vin in Fredericksburg, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the views, wine, and love of wine at Augusta Vin certainly fit that bill. The covered outdoor deck provides shade from the summer heat and gives way to sprawling vineyard views. As for the wines, the silky, elegant Augusta Vin Estate Aglianico pairs perfectly with Italian fare, while the Latitude 45 is an easy sipper.
Engelheim Vineyards in Ellijay, Ga.
Does Engelheim Vineyards allow dogs? The vineyard gives an enthusiastic yes. "We love your furry four-legged friends," reads the website of the dog-friendly north Georgia winery. Perhaps the only thing sweeter than the service at Engelheim is the 2020 Sweet Molly wine. The fruit-forward sipper balances out spicy dishes.
Best Southwestern Dog Friendly Wineries
Tex-Mex fare and gorgeous desert landscapes give the Southwest region a special charm. And so do these beautiful wineries you can enjoy with your canine companion.
Enchantment Vineyards in Portales, N.M.
This Southwest vineyard loves sharing southwestern hospitality with guests and their dogs and vinos inspired by the region with you. In addition to the wine, Enchantment Vineyards' guests also rave about the cider and beer the vineyard provides, as well as the menu that includes cheat-day favorites like sausage sliders and pretzel rolls. And apparently, the dogs are barking—happily—about the large grassy area.
Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery in Cornville, Ariz.
Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery invites dogs to sit on the patio, allowing pet parents to truly plan a family outing. Bottles and glasses are available for purchase and ideal for sitting, sipping, and staying a while. If you get hungry, the vineyard kitchen can fix you a cheese plate, hummus, or even a cheesecake.
Best Rocky Mountain Region Dog Friendly Wineries
After hiking, heading out for an afternoon of wine tasting with your pup is the perfect way to wrap up a trip to the Rocky Mountain region. Plan to pull up a chair at one of these two spots.
Carlson Vineyards in Palisade, Colo.
The vineyard cats have a starring role on Carlson Vineyards' Instagram feed, but the staff has a soft spot for your canine friends, too. Dogs are allowed to accompany their humans to this winery in Palisade, a town in Colorado known for both its vineyards and peach farms. Guests can get the best of both worlds by sampling a peach wine that's known for being bright and sweet. Other creative wines include a cherry and chocolate and cherry wine (just keep those out of the pups' reach!).
Telaya Wine Co. in Garden City, Idaho
Carrie Sullivan, a co-owner and winemaker at Telaya, actually used to be a veterinarian. These days, she uses her passion for science to create award-winning wines like the Syrah, which won Best Red Wine at the 2021 Idaho Wine Competition. But she hasn't forgotten her true roots as an animal lover, and pups are allowed to sit with their humans at the winery. There are also multiple dogs on staff, including Donut the accountant and Cookie the bean counter.