It’s not like they’ve declared “Yappy Hour” yet, but North Carolina’s wineries — most of them — are decidedly pet friendly.
And why wouldn’t they be? For the most part, wineries are set in rural settings. For the most part, they’re event-oriented with live bands, food trucks, and picnic table lounging outside.
North Carolina’s wine trails, for the most part, simply dig dogs.
“Can’t say we’re all that cat friendly, though,” jokes Ken Gulaian, owner of Round Peak Vineyards. The vineyard sponsors the Dog Days of Summer, which supports the Santa Paws Rescue adoption event.
At Round Peak Vineyards, which is located close to Mount Airy, three rescue dogs greet visitors returning from the nearby hiking trails, and there’s a fenced-area for off-leash dogs. And most of North Carolina’s 200-plus wineries list themselves as pet friendly because visitors often make a day or a weekend touring wineries; they’re loath to leave their dog behind. Most winery owners discourage dogs in the tasting room but are happy to have leashed dogs outdoors.
“The vineyards are a great place to walk the dog,” says Max Lloyd, owner of Grove Winery. “We just ask that folks don’t clean up the free fertilizer.”
The Guilford County winery sponsors several dog rescue and adoption events each year, and has water bowls and dog treats for guest pets.
Near Elkin, Grassy Creek Vineyards provides an environment “that is calm, relaxing, and you stay awhile among friends,” says Andrae DeHaan, tasting room manager. “Our dogs are our friends. And for some of us, our dogs are our family.”
Grandfather Vineyard & Winery near Banner Elk offers ample outdoor seating near a pristine creek “and sometimes we have more dogs here than we have people,” says Nicole Tatum, tasting room manager. On their website, under “Our Team,” Grandfather lists three greeter dogs: Casey, Willa, and Zoe-Belle.
Shadow Springs Vineyards near Hamptonville and Silver Forks Winery outside Morganton each produce a wine label boasting their pet dogs. “Buddy’s Best” features Shadow Springs’ 17-year-old miniature poodle; “Four Dog Red” emphasizes Silver Forks’ affinity for rescue dogs.
Planning a day trip to wine country? It’s best to call ahead and ask who lets the dogs out.
Ed Williams, marketing director for Alamance Community College, owns a rescue dog who is just not that into wine.