For many, traveling with our pets is the optimal way to tour the country. We love having our furry friends tag along and partake in our experiences. Often our canine kids are happier joining us instead of being stuck in a kennel or at home with a pet sitter. Being the wine enthusiast I am, I have discovered that more and more wineries and wine regions are pet-friendly and I love my Salukis in tow. Recently I encounter pet-friendly Lodi and their pet-friendly wineries.
My visit to Lodi included staying at the pet-friendly Holiday Inn Express. The rooms were quite comfortable, and as I walked down the hall, I noticed a few canines enjoying their stay with their human parents. The hotel charges $25 each night per pet.
The center of Lodi is quite charming with its eclectic grouping of stores from cafes to wine bars and the perfect place to take a stroll with your dog. Of course, you cannot miss Lodi’s iconic arch that was created in 1907 for their Tokay Grape Carnival.
Lodi ‘s history began in the mid-1850s. The roots of many grape-growing families go back to the late 1890s. Most of the grapes planted in the 1800s were Tokay, a table grape. Today there is a wide range of varieties grown, which include Italian, German and Spanish varietals. Lodi’s notoriety comes from its old vine Zinfandel. In the late 1800s, the town was known as the Tokay capital of the world, and today, Lodi is considered the Zinfandel capital of the world especially in terms of old vine Zinfandel.
My recent trip to Lodi included several pet-friendly wineries, vineyard walks and wine tastings lunches and dinners as well as tasting individual wines from pet-friendly wineries. In many cases, the winery dog or cat is your ambassador to a fun-filled wine tasting.
Pet-Friendly Wineries I visited:
Harney Lane Winery:
You know you are at a pet-friendly winery when winery dog Charlie, a yellow Labrador of Harney Lane Winery greets you. Probably one of my favorite wineries visited was the Harney Lane Winery. The winery is quite appealing and the gardens are perfect to stroll with your dog. One must not forget to mention the wine. Although I loved most of Harley Lane portfolio of wines, some of my favorites were the Albarino, Dry Rosé made up of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo, the Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel and Scottsdale Vineyard Zinfandel.
Oak Farm Vineyards:
This property dates back to the 1860s when William DeVries purchased it. Sitting on the property is a grand colonial style home that is reminiscent of Tara in Gone with the Wind. The winery is situated amongst oak trees. The winery has two dogs, Maggie, a mix of Queensland and Australian Shepherd and Bernie, a Chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier mix.
On my visit, Bernie played the winery social ambassador and making sure our glasses were full of the great wine Oak Farm Vineyards has to offer. Don’t miss the Sangiovese and Barbera. Also, make sure and try the Tievoli, a blend of Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera and Petite Sirah. Tievoli is I love it backwards and send the message that you and your dog will love this winery.
Think Richard Neutra or Le Corbusier meets the industrial age of today and you have the sleek modern design of the M2 Wines building. When visiting one must try the Tannat. Sit out on the patio with your dog and enjoy the vineyard views while sampling the wine.
Walking the Vineyards:
My tour offered specific vineyard visits rather than winery stops. We tasted wine while walking through the grapevines. Many of those wines came from pet-friendly wineries, therefore, I suggest visiting.
Klinker Brick named after a high-fired brick that for winery owner, Steve Felton reminds him of the dark color of the wine. I mention this winery because if you are a fan of Carignane, you must try both the Bricks & Roses, a Rosé made of Carignane, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache and the Carignane. The Carignane comes from 100-year old vines.
For Old Vine Zinfandel St. Amant Winery a favorite offers wine from one of the oldest vineyards. Marion. They even have a wine label featuring their cat on their Barbera Rosé.
If you like wine made from the Dornfelder grape you must visit Prie Winery. Mettler Family Wines offers some unique reds so if you are into Pinotage or Aglianico they are definitely the place to go with your dog. Some other wineries I visited that were pet –friendly wineries were McCay, Michael David and Lange Twin Winery and Vineyards
Pet-Friendly wineries include:
Berghold Vineyards & Winery
Consumnes River Farm
Dancing Coyote Wines
Dancing Fox Winery & Brewery
Durst Winery & Estate
Fields Family Wines
GoodMills Family Winery
Hanford Ranch Winery
Harney Lane Winery
Heritage Oak Winery
Jeremy Wine Company
Jessie’s Grove Winery
Klinker Brick Winery
Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards
Lodi Wine Cellars
Lone Grape Winery
The Lucas Winery
Mettler Family Vineyards
Michael David Winery
Oak Farm Vineyards
Oak Ridge Winery
Peirano Estate Vineyards
Ripken Vineyards & Winery
St. Amant Winery
St. Jorge Winery
Toasted Toad Cellars
Twisted Barrel Winery
Upstream Wines & Watts Winery
Van Ruiten Family Winery
Viaggio Estate & Winery
Vicarmont Vineyards & Winery
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi
For individual websites, visit Lodi Wineries website. Make sure under categories to check pet-friendly.
Lodi may be one of California’s best-kept secrets especially when it comes to excellent quality wine. Not only do you find superb wine, but also the prices are very affordable for wine, dining, and accommodations, so why not let your pet joining you in your wine adventure.
Note: Common to the travel and wine industry, this writer was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.