Cheers to wine tasting with your hound!

September 30, 2016

Cheers to wine tasting with your hound!

It's grape harvest season! Although our pets can't enjoy the fall fruit themselves (grapes are toxic to dogs and cats,) they can enjoy an outing to our favourite local wineries!

From Dr. Jason & Arnica:
With a lot of practice, we've perfected the art of wine tasting with our best furry friends. Maggie, our ancient cocker spaniel, was all the way to Oregon for Pinot Noir when she was young and spry; our 1 1/2 year old wolfhound Tully has been cruising the Okanagan Valley's wineries since he was a pup. Our pooches get their love of wine travel from their pet parents: Arnica has her Level 3 WSET wine training, and she and Dr. Jason had their honeymoon in Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Winery pre-training

If you are taking in the Fall Wine Festival (event guide here!) or simply love to taste what the valley has to offer, don't hesitate taking along your well-behaved pooch.

To train them for the occasion, perfect your "lie down" command. We've done a ton of mat work with Tully, and we always slip him treats when he lies down in stores or on cafe patios to keep him horizontal. That way, we know he won't be putting his nose on a counter at a winery!

It's worth the pre-training so you can relax at the winery. If your dog isn't food motivated, take along something to amuse them like our awesome wine bottle squeaker toys.

Dog etiquette and safety

At every winery we visit, we always walk in first and ask at the front desk if they accept dogs. Honestly, with the exception of wineries with restaurants in the tasting room, we've never been refused!

Tully always visits the grape vines for a sniff and a quick pee before we go in. (Best to empty the tank first.) Then in the tasting room, he lies down beside the counter, enjoying the cool floor and the inevitable attention. That mat training pays off! so we can sip and spit in peace.

After we are done tasting, we wipe up any drool (the dog's, not ours) and take Tully outside to see any sights.

Fav wineries for your best furry friend

Some of our favourite dog friendly wineries include doggie attractions! Check out Covert Farm's desert trail... the map in the tasting room leads you through the gorgeous landscape. (Note dogs are welcome on the patio but not inside where they serve food.) Our friends at Summerhill have a kekuli in the vineyard to explore, and our friends St. Hubertus have an amazing vineyard walk and Cedar Creek dog beach across the street for a quick dip post-tasting.

Other dog-friendly wineries we love to visit (that have great wine too!) include Noble Ridge down at Vasceux Lake (mmmm Pinot Noir!) Deep Roots (see the picture of Tully and Arnica this summer,) and La Frenz in Naramata.

Two tasting room safety tips - if the winery room is congested with tourists, it's not the best idea to add a dog to the mix. No-one likes a stomped tail. The other time we leave our pooch in the car is if there is an unfriendly winery dog around... as sweet as they are to humans, many winery dogs don't appreciate another dog invading their vineyard. So keep your eyes open for any territorial canines.

Have fun exploring! 

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