Family & FriendsOutdoors

The 10 Best Pet Friendly Wineries in Napa Valley

  • Aug 30, 2019
  • By Rebekah Stoltz Weeman

When you visit Napa Valley, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to leave your fur baby. Napa Valley loves dogs. Find out the paw-fect wineries where doggies and their humans can be together!

I get it. Napa Valley gets it, too. Winemakers love dogs. You love your dogs. Our doggies really are important to us and many of us love to travel with our pets. I think it was Rodger Caras who said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” In Napa Valley most folks believe in that statement.

While many do allow pets, there are still plenty that do not allow pets of any kind and limit access to certified service dogs only. There’s also many limitations to what parts of the properties and the experiences that you book, so when in doubt, call ahead and get prior permissions well before your arrival. Local ordinances typically ban any pets from attending events or experiences where there’s food service, so again, be sure to plan accordingly.

Because we know that you probably would like to take your pooch with you while you wine taste, we’ve put together a list of the best pet friendly wineries for you. Most wineries and tasting rooms have vineyard dogs of their own and are well prepared to host you and your four-legged family. And to give you a glimpse into the world of winery dogs, many of the wineries carry the best-selling book – Wine Dogs – in their gift shop. Be sure to check out the book as the pictures and stories are very entertaining (the book makes a nice gift, too).

Always remember while tasting at Napa Valley wineries with your pet to keep him or her on leash at all times. Also, be considerate of other guests at the winery. If your dog starts to bark at visitors, you should be respectful and find a way to redirect and calm your pet. Probably goes without saying, but with the summer heat in Napa Valley, it is never advised to leave your dog in the car. We hope that you will enjoy the read and find a few new places to visit while you are in town.

10. Tres Sabores located in the south part of St. Helena, is a winery that humans and four-legged friends will both fall in love with. Owner and winemaker, Julie Johnson, is a dog lover herself. If her winery dogs aren’t around when you visit (or come out to greet and tour with you), you can be sure that they are out of town. On most days, the sweetest pack of golden retrievers and labs will trot out and welcome you to the lovely Tres Sabores farm. The grounds are alive and vibrant with all the things you would expect to find on a rustic working farm. The attention and care that Julie and her team puts into caring of the vines, wine production and her home (she lives there) are second to none. You can feel the harmony of all things coming together in the overall vibe and look of the estate. Tucked into the rolling hills of the infamous Rutherford Bench soil, you would never guess that you are in one of the mostly widely-visited wine regions in the world. At Tres Sabores, you feel special and as if you are one of the lucky few who have discovered this extraordinary, untouched place. The wines are outstanding and hard to get anywhere but directly at the winery. Tres Sabores offers a Tour and Tasting ($50) seven days a week from 10:30AM – 3:00PM. You and your dog will never want to leave! Reservations are required.

9. Black Stallion Estate Winery in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley has a lot of interesting history. Before it became a winery, it was a well-known equestrian center called Silverado Western Center. Over the years the paddocks and barns that were once filled with prize-winning horses, became vineyards producing award-winning wines. With the history in mind, it only seems natural that our doggie companions should be allowed to join us when we taste. There is a lovely outdoor area where you can sit with your beloved hound or lap dog and comfortably taste the beauty that surrounds the Black Stallion property. The winemaker, Ralf Holdenried, has a great insight into the unique terroir and creates seamless, easy-to-drink varietals. You can select a walk-in tasting ($45) or if you have time, try the wildly popular Many Faces of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Tour & Tasting ($85). The latter choice (following a tour) will fill you with knowledge about four different Napa Valley appellations where Cabernet is grown. This side-by-side tasting is great for comparing and deciding what attributes you prefer in a Cabernet. If you are thinking about staying for a while, you may want to reserve a picnic lunch ahead and have a beautiful lunch (doggie bag included) at the estate. Check out website for seasonal picnic lunch options. Must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. You will no doubt create memories to last FUR-ever at Black Stallion Estate Winery. Reservations recommended.

 8. Swanson Vineyards may have an address that says Napa, but it’s really on outskirts of Rutherford just off Highway 29. At Swanson your well-behaved dog is always welcome (leash required). Together, you can do a Salon Tasting ($65) in the posh salon room. At the Salon Tasting you will enjoy small bites paired with exclusive Swanson wines, around a delightful and well-dressed circular table. If you prefer to have a more casual experience, you can choose a Sip Shoppe Tasting in the whimsical gift shop (they have some really fun things to look at). Try the Bon Vivant Tasting ($40) for a taste of Swanson’s limited production wines. There is a charming garden (with lots of shade) to lounge around in and savor your selections. Towards the end of August, Swanson has a marvelous event called La Boheme Celebration - a circus themed event with magicians, acrobats, small bites, wine and more. And yes, doggies are welcome! Whether you are planning to join Swanson for a fun event or a tasting, you will be pleased you decided to go – and so will Fido. Reservations recommended.

7. Frog’s Leap Winery located in Rutherford is a picture perfect, completely sustainable and organic winery. The vintage barns and farmhouse setting are an idyllic locale to taste wine with friends and your pooch. Frog’s Leap has three tasting options, but only two of those experiences welcome your pets. If you are planning to do the Guided Tour & Tasting ($35), you will need to make arrangements for your dog. However, if you want to do the Signature Seated Tasting ($35) or the Garden/Cellar Tasting ($25), your dog (and you) will be welcomed with open arms (and probably a doggie treat). The wine at Frog’s Leap is excellent and loved by all. What you also need to leave time for is a leisurely tour of the gardens at Frog’s Leap as they are absolutely stunning and will offer a nice respite from the summer sun. The winery gets super busy on the weekends during summer and fall which is peak tourist season for Napa Valley. Be sure to make your reservations well in advance and let them know you are bringing your pooch. The reservationist will then be able to seat you in an ideal place for dogs and humans to sip, swirl and sleep (if you are the dog). Reservations required.

6. Laird Family Estate (North Napa) is one of my favorite places to taste wine with my friends and my dogs. Located right off of Highway 29 in north Napa, Laird is easy to spot as the copper-roof structure you can see from the road is shaped like a pyramid. Laird has been around since the 60’s and was originally built for other wineries to custom crush and produce their grapes from smaller farms. The back of the property is massive and has a ton of square footage where many vintners still make their wine and the Laird family also create their own wine. Recently remodeled, the back patio and tasting room are expansive, comfortable and overlook the vineyards and production facilities. You can do a Mixed Wine Tasting ($30), a Red Wine Tasting ($40) or my favorite – buy a bottle of wine, grab a blanket in the tasting room and go sprawl out on the luscious lawn. Everything about Laird is honest, down to earth and real. My dogs love it at Laird and so will you! Reservations recommended, but not required unless group is six or more.

5. Frenchie Winery at Raymond Vineyards was designed as the ultimate destination for doggies. In fact, I have never seen such a well thought out play area for pups. It’s obvious that Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo adore their French Poodle to the moon and back! They have named an entire brand after their famed Frenchie, who is quite the character and plays his part well. The doggie space is an open-air and shaded glorified kennel where you can leave your pup while you taste through their portfolio of wines. The décor is all about Royal French Bulldog history and is opulent to the max! Any dog that visits Raymond will surely leave a little bit more spoiled than he or she already is! Clean and with plenty of water, your precious doggie will be beyond thrilled to relax in the doggie oasis while you taste your heart out. Be sure to try the Frenchie wines – they are some of my favorite every day selections – red and white varietals are great for hot summer days by the pool or bocce ball nights in the park. If you prefer something else, there are many choices at Raymond and I am certain that you (or your fur-baby) will never forget your time at the winery. Who knows – maybe one day soon, we will see your dogs face on one of the labels! Reservations are required.

4. Bouchaine Vineyards located in the Los Carneros region of Napa Valley is an iconic hidden gem. It takes you a bit of time from downtown Napa, but once you arrive, you’ll immediately know it was worth going off the beaten path. Situated close to the lower wetlands of the Napa River, the weather is much cooler at Bouchaine. In fact, other parts of the valley can be almost 40 degrees warmer in summer! The vibe is casual and laid back, which we can all enjoy after a rough week at work. You and your group (plus dogs) can sit outside on the patio or in the beautiful garden (Dee’s Garden). Your wine educator will be full of stories and facts about the region. Bouchaine is cherished for its unique wines that are a reflection of the vision, hark work and finesse that goes into intelligent winemaking. Unlike many of the bigger places you will see further up the valley, Bouchaine is a hidden garden of earthly delights, filled with smiling people and happy dogs. For a bit of activity, try the monthly walk and tasting called Happy Tails and Trails. On this refreshing adventure, you and your doggies can explore the Carneros countryside, taste wine and make new friends. Patio Tastings ($20/ 60 minutes) and Winemaker/Somm Tours & Tastings ($50/ 120 minutes) are offered daily. Reservations recommended.

3. V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena is no doubt a destination that offers the whole wine tasting package. Located on Highway 29, it’s difficult to miss the sprawling grounds as you drive into town. Expect a crowd - V. Sattui is almost always full of people, children and dogs at any given moment because you can only purchase their wines at the tasting room- no where else! Being one of the long-standing wineries in town, they have been grandfathered in to the permitting matrix and are able to offer more than most of the newer establishments. At V. Sattui there is an artesian deli (with lots of selections and tasting stations), a stand up tasting room (where you can sample some of their wines, splurge for some bottles or simply wines by the glass), a huge indoor/outdoor space to picnic and ample space for events and even weddings (only five wineries in the Napa Valley have a permit to do weddings)! Of course, our furry well-behaved friends (dogs) are welcomed to join in on the fun. In fact, at V. Sattui they have an entire day dedicated to doggies called Pamper Your Pooch Day! It’s genius. And, this ‘dogs day out’ exceeds the standard in doggie delights with doggie swag bags (call winery to get current dates). Stop by V. Sattui and enjoy a picnic, award winning wines and some of the best people watching in Napa Valley. Reservations recommended.

2. Plumpjack Winery located in Oakville District is a perfect (or pawfect) winery destination to bring your dog along. Located on the valley floor, there are lots of trees and shade on the property for you and your pooch to enjoy. The folks at Plumpjack are happy to have well-behaved dogs on the property, both inside the tasting room and outside on the shade-covered patio. When Governor Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty discovered the Plumpjack grounds, I am sure they both had dogs in mind – right after the wine – which is nothing short of magical. Winemaker, Aaron Miller, makes it easy to enjoy bold and beautiful reds from Howell Mountain, Oakville Estate and Napa Valley. His commitment to the vineyards and his expression of their bounty come together in just the right way. The wine educators are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. You will be happy you booked and so will your fur baby! Reservations are required.

 1. Trefethen Family Vineyards has been a crown jewel of the Napa Valley since 1968 and was almost lost in the 2014 earthquake. After two years of major remodeling and putting the historical landmark back to the original design as it was one of the original gravity-fed wineries that were build back in the day. Trefethen is a destination that you could spend the entire day at and is still family owned and operated, today. The Trefethen’s have kept their vision on sustaining the land, the vines and the Napa Valley way of life. Of course, this means that they love dogs! At Trefethen, they realize that dogs are part of the family and farm life. So long as your doggie is on a leash and doesn’t bark at other guests, you are welcome to bring your dog along with you while you taste at Trefethen. You can choose from the Tasting Flight ($25 - $35), the Reserve Tasting ($50) or the Vineyard and Winery Tour ($45). I’d go for the Vineyard and Winery Tour where you can learn about the original winery from 1886, its recent renovation and then taste the Estate wines – which are so delicious! I am paw-sitive you and your pooch will have a blast at Trefethen. Little known fact is the long driveway leading to the winery was once the family’s private runway for Trefethen’s to visit the property by airplane in the early days.  Reservations are required.

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