What’s better than a day of wine tasting? A day of wine tasting with your four-legged fuzzy best friend! If you (and your fur baby) are headed to California’s beautiful wine country, then you won’t want to miss these dog friendly wineries in Livermore, one of California’s oldest wine regions.
A special thanks to the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association for giving me two wine tasting passes to experience several Livermore wineries during a long weekend in the Livermore Valley. But you can count on me to always share my honest opinions, regardless of who foots the bill.
The French are well-known for their delicious cuisine and award-winning wines. But whether you are digging into a croque monsieur at a sidewalk cafe or scooping buttery escargots onto a baguette in an elegant restaurant, when you visit France, chances are a dog will be dining with you.
From the capital city of Paris to the smaller towns that radiate from it, France has long been known for its relaxed pet policies. You’ll regularly find dogs in shops while their owners put in a day’s work. And dogs are often spotted lying patiently at their masters’ feet in restaurants or even sitting at the table next to their owners throughout the meal.
While America has become much more pet friendly, health department policies on this side of the Atlantic greatly reduce the presence of pets at cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, and other places where food is prepared and served. But if you want to take Spot to wine country, you’re in luck at these dog friendly wineries in Livermore, California.
1. 3 Steves
A dream that formed as three friends were enjoying a bottle of wine — yes, they are all named Steve — became a small boutique winery that opened in Livermore in July 2013. When you visit 3 Steves, not only can you enjoy panoramic views while sipping an award-winning sauvignon blanc at this Livermore winery, but your dog is welcome anytime on all winery grounds. The Steves just ask that you have your good boy (or girl) on a leash at all times.
Sage Advice: When you visit 3 Steves winery in the Livermore Valley, keep an eye out for Vino!
2. Bent Creek Winery
When the Heinemans purchased property in the rolling hills of Livermore, they didn’t plan to open a winery. But after being captivated by the beauty of a vineyard planted adjacent to their property, they decided to plant syrah grapes. After tasting the delicious wine produced from their grapes, the Heinemans joined forces with another couple, the Howells, to learn how to make wine. The two couples — three educators and a scientist — completed courses at UC Davis and opened Bent Creek Winery in 2002.
Find your furry friends and tag us with their names!#WineAndWags #lvwinePosted by Bent Creek Winery on Monday, June 3, 2019
When you visit the Bent Creek Winery tasting room, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the valley and its ample vineyards. And when you visit, you’re welcome to bring your well-behaved, leashed dog to this pet friendly winery in Livermore.
Fun Fact: Bent Creek Winery, along with most of these pet friendly wineries in Livermore, participate in Wine & Wags. Just like aged Gouda and a rich Merlot, this annual event pairs local animal rescue organizations with dog friendly wineries to help shelter pups find new homes.
3. Dante Robere
What happens when longtime friends, an accountant and an insurance agent, get bitten by the wine bug? Dante Robere. Since July 2015, this boutique winery in the Livermore Valley has been producing everything from chardonnay to cabernet. And when you stop by for a day of wine tasting, your well-behaved dog is allowed to belly up to the bar and sit while you sip. (If your dog is still working on his canine good citizen behavior, he is still allowed to visit Dante Robere’s patio or grassy knoll.)
Sage Advice: While you can ride a Pedego electric bike to Dante Robere (albeit most likely without your pooch), you are not allowed to saddle up your horse and ride it to this winery.
4. Darcie Kent
When Prohibition became law in 1920, it crippled successful breweries and wineries from coast to coast. Darcie Kent knows all about this dark cloud that hung over the nation for 13 long years, because the lingering economic effects of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and World War II forced her great-grandfather to shutter the winery he founded in St. Joseph, Missouri.
With sunnier skies overhead, Darcie Kent is a fifth generation vintner at the winery that bears her name. And Darcie doesn’t just direct what goes into each bottle, the talented artist also designs the beautiful artwork on the wine labels.
When you stop by Darcie Kent to both taste and see the fruits of her labor, feel free to bring Fido. Darcie and her team ask that your dog be leashed at all times, and they have water bowls, clean-up stations, and dog treats waiting for your four-legged friend.
5. Longevity Wines
Recognized by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association as the Winery of the Year in 2018, Longevity Wines is a family-operated, boutique winery. Because winemaker Phil Long wants to focus on quality over quantity, the winery embraces a bin-to-bottle approach when crafting its wines.
Intertwined with the quality is the experience, so the Longs ensure that everyone who visits their tasting room is treated like family. And as pet parents themselves, that sense of belonging is extended to your furry friends.
Fun Fact: If being a dog friendly winery isn’t enough to encourage you to visit Longevity Wines, then maybe this will do the trick: Longevity wines have been featured in television shows from Big Bang Theory to Big Little Lies.
6. Mitchell Katz
I could tell you that the Mitchell Katz Winery is committed to producing single vineyard wines that bring out the personality of each unique vineyard. But what I’d rather tell you is that they have a tawny port that is truly out of this world. I would honestly consider giving up desserts for the rest of my life if I could instead have a pour of this nectar of the gods. Yes, it’s that good!
If you want to take your pup with you to try it for yourself, you’re in luck. Leashed dogs are welcome at this pet friendly winery in the Livermore Valley, both in the outdoor patio area and in the tasting room.
Sage Advice: Just like an unruly barking dog or unattentive pet owner, these faux pas can ruin a day of wine tasting. (So don’t be this guy or gal!)
7. Page Mill Winery
After starting his winery at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1976, founder Dick Stark and his family relocated to the Livermore Valley in 2004. In a rustic stone building framed by a trellis of flowers, Page Mill offers tastings of its sparkling, white, and red wines. And your pup can join in the fun at this dog friendly winery in Livermore.
8. Retzlaff Vineyards
Opened in 1976 and certified organic since 2006, the grapes in the Retzlaff Vineyards are grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. While I’ve traditionally struggled to find organic wines that taste amazing, Retzlaff Vineyards delivered in a big way. The sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and port from their tasting menu were absolutely outstanding!
Happy St Paddy’s Day! Live music today...Jazz with Matt Finders and his band of Leprechauns!#lvwa #livermore #livermorelivemusic #livermorewinecountry #stpatricksdayPosted by Retzlaff Vineyards on Sunday, March 17, 2019
While there are many family and pet friendly wineries in the Livermore Valley, the grounds at Retzlaff are especially inviting. A large and lush green carpet of lawn, dotted with tables and surrounded by vineyards, spreads out in front of the tasting room. So spread a blanket on the lawn, grab a table, or settle into one of the wine barrel Adirondack chairs under an ancient pepper tree and enjoy an afternoon in the Livermore Valley with your dog in the tasting room lawn area. Yes, he’ll need to be on a leash, and the team at Retzlaff have doggie poop bags if you experience a pet parent fail and left yours at home.
Sage Advice: Page Mill and Retzlaff are two of many dog friendly wineries in Livermore that participate in the Priority Wine Pass. With discounts at more than 400 west coast wineries, a personalized itinerary and more, the Priority Wine Pass can save you money and elevate your wine tasting experience.
9. Wood Family Vineyards
At many Livermore wineries, producing great wines is a family affair. And that’s certainly the case at Wood Family Vineyards. Making wine since 1996, matriarch Rhonda is one of the area’s few female winemakers. Her husband, Michael, and son, Harrison, round out the executive team. You may also get a glimpse of Sauvy, the winemaker’s very large silver Lab, when you enter the tasting room during your visit to this pet friendly winery in Livermore. (Yes, his name is short for Sauvignon!)
As Sauvy is whenever he visits the Wood Family Vineyards, your pup needs to be on a leash. And if your dog is barking or otherwise out of hand, the Wood family asks that you take him or her outside. Because their own fur baby helps run the family business, the Wood family has Milkbones for all of their furry guests, so don’t forget to grab one for your four-legged bestie!
No Longer: Murrieta’s Well
One of the Livermore Valley’s original wineries, Murrieta’s Well has been growing grapes since the 1800s. The estate’s first vineyard was planted with cuttings from the famed Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux vineyards in France, a “bloodline” that carries through to the wines produced today. The estate was purchased by the Wente family in the 1930s, and Murrieta’s Well was established as its own winery and label in 1990.
Unfortunately, this Livermore winery NO LONGER allows dogs on the downstairs patio. Only certified service animals are permitted at the estate.
Dog-Friendly Accommodations in Livermore
If you’re visiting the Tri-Valley with your pooch, you’re going to want to stay at a dog-friendly hotel. Here are the best options in the towns that make up California’s Tri-Valley.
- La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Livermore. Clean and comfortable, this pet-friendly hotel in Livermore is close to the Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. Click to see photos of the La Quinta Inn.
- SenS Suites Livermore. Part of the SureStay Collection by Best Western, this pet-friendly hotel is centrally-located with a swimming pool and free parking. Click to see photos of the SenS Suites.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pleasanton at the Club. Located in the neighboring town of Pleasanton, this dog-friendly hotel has a fantastic swimming pool and outdoor patio area and offers free parking. Click to see photos of the DoubleTree.
Have You Taken Your Dog Wine Tasting?
What was it like to spend a day at the wineries with your furry friend? Are there any dog friendly wineries in Livermore, California, that are missing from this list? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
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