Although wine tasting and touring has traditionally been a people-only activity, more and more California wineries are opening their doors to pets — okay, mostly dogs — as tourists show a penchant for taking Fido on the road. At the same time, many California vineyards and wineries are catering to families by offering special activities and refreshments for those not old enough to taste wine.
"Because wine has become an integral part of American culture and lifestyle, we are seeing more and more people choosing California wine country as a weekend getaway and vacation destination for the entire family," commented Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.
"Many California vineyards and wineries keep dogs and other pets on their properties, and because so many of these businesses are family-owned, children are an integral part of wine country as well," said Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. "Welcoming dogs, pets and families to wine country is a natural."
While some wineries have dogs who act as mascots and friendly greeters, others welcome pets into their tasting rooms, offering water and even the occasional doggie treat. Still others take dog-friendliness to a whole different level. Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy has eleven acres of grass and fields, and often hosts dog clubs, dog rally and agility events and championship practices. "We’ve found that among all the other things we could do to promote the winery, being good to dogs carries the most goodwill," says Maria Bruhns, Kirigin’s tasting room manager.
Children are also finding more to do at wineries. Venezio Vineyards & Winery in the Sierra Foothills offers tie-dying with wine, pumpkin painting, and barrel bung tossing at an annual fall festival, while Bianchi Vineyards in Paso Robles has remote control sailboats on its lake. Many vineyards offer crayons, chalk, coloring books and kid-friendly snacks. And at some, there’s a lot more to see than the inside of a tasting room: An active beehive is one of the features at OnTheEdge Winery in Calistoga, and pygmy goats, a pot-bellied pig, llamas, sheep and large land tortoises are part of the scenery at Milano Family Winery in Hopland.
So grab the entire family and head on out to California Wine Country. Here are just a few of our personal favorite pet-friendly wineries. To book, contact our general manager, Chris Edwards direct at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personalized tasting.
- Article courtesy of http://www.wineinstitute.org, Revised on Aug 8, 2011
St. Helena, CA
Basil steals the show in this lovely recipe highlighting the sweet, tender herb which is so bountiful this time of year. The combination of the refreshing, crisp lemon and cool, sweet basil make this an excellent match with Sauvignon Blanc.
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to basil mixture, turning to coat.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.
While chicken cooks, prepare aioli. Combine 1/4 cup basil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with chicken.
Wine Pairing Recommendation: Vina Sutil Sauvignon Blanc (Chile)
Noticeably less acidic than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, this Chilean shines a yellow gold color with hints of green. An expressive nose of citrus and tropical fruit leads you to a palate replete with herbs, grapefruit and ripe pineapple, along with notes of fresh grass. Well-balanced and lively in the mouth, it has a good acidity and a long finish.
Only $15.99 Bottle