Winery Dogs of Napa Valley

Winery Dogs of Napa Valley ***** by Elaine Riordan

I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where “pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera”.

 “In this second edition of Winery Dogs of Napa Valley, the dogs are as wild, lovable, and funny as ever. They frolic in alfalfa fields, befriend the farm animals, and chase rabbits and gophers all day long. They eat grapes, large cooked chickens, fine cheeses, and whole cherry pies. They lead double lives as show dogs and magazine models. And when it comes to marketing, these dogs can sell wine like nobody else. Guests find their charms irresistable, and winery families and employees can’t imagine a day’s work without their best pals beside them.”

 This book called my name when we ran across it on a recent trip to Napa. Although I only met a couple of  winery dogs on our brief trip, this book is a great keepsake with beautiful photos of the lucky dogs who live there, featuring 96 Napa Valley wineries.

“From tiny toy poodles to rottweilers and bullmastiffs, winery dogs come in all shapes and sizes. They arrive at wineries as puppies or adults. They come from breeders, friends, shelters, or newspaper ads. They are surprises on doorsteps, in garbage cans, or under bridges. They are shy or bold, mellow or full of energy. And in no time, whatever their size and origin and temperament, they fit right in.”

“Winery dogs are greeters, tasters, entertainers, herders, healers, protectors, hunters, chasers, celebrities, and sales enhancers. Older dogs train the new ones, bigger dogs protect the smaller ones, and all of them get on remarkably well with winery cats. They ride in winery vehicles; they run beside employees in the fields; they sit nicely as visitors arrive for tastings. Better companions would be hard to find.”

“Rowdy” at Hess Collection Vineyards is apparently appropriately named since he loves to chase the tires of the ATVs. We had a nice visit enjoying the wine and the art collection but since it was a rainy day, no garden or grounds tour :-(

My reaction when I discovered we had a day of HEAVY rain ahead. . .

 So we had to drink wine to pass the time :-)

This was a recommended pairing with our Hess Viognier~Apricot and Prosciutto Thin Crust Pizza, recipe here


“Posip, a nine-year-old Australian shepherd/Border collie mix, was named for the white wine that owner and winemaker Mike Grgich makes in Croatia.”

Gruyère cheese  paired with our Grgrich Hills Estate Petite Sirah~

Tessa, Czor, and Elvis are descended from a German line of Bernese mountain dogs and serve as the winery’s most visible ambassadors. V. Sattui has a great gourmet market & deli~ with everything you could want for your wine country picnic, to be enjoyed on their picnic grounds. Tessa, the most gregarious, is happy to mix and mingle with the hundreds of visitors stopping in each day, and has been known to  occasionally snatch a salami from someone’s shopping basket :-)


The camera gods were not smiling upon me on this trip…we discovered the camera we brought had given up the ghost when we arrived, but you can see a video and get a feel for the deli and the grounds here.


 V. Sattui Madeira ~ paired with Blue Cheese

Pinta, a twelve-year-old terrier mix, Jack, a mellow four-year-old black Lab, & Rufus, a Norwich terrier~ with a bark described by some as a “supersonic weapon”~ Swanson Vineyards

During our delightful visit, which you can read more about here, we were greeted by a camera-shy Tallulah, who rested under the table for our tasting. Read more about the “resident mongrel bon vivants” here :-)

 Ally is a liver German shorthaired pointer that was rescued from a shelter in Michigan when the director of winegrowing, Rick Aldine, found her online and paid for her plane ticket, saving her from being put down. Her partner in crime these days is Gunner (also pictured on the cover of the book), a silver Lab who likes to chase deer & dig for gophers.


Fig and Goat Cheese Brushetta paired with Chandon Brut Classic~ a quick & tasty appetizer, especially if you cheat and buy fig preserves. I used chopped hazelnuts instead of walnuts. A recipe is here if you want to make your own fig jam.

This handsome guy is Romeo, appropriately named and our greeter at Hope & Grace in Yountville. Not featured in the book, but I included him since he was so well-mannered and introduced us to some really great wines and restaurants while we were there :-)

Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach~ paired with our Hope & Grace Pinot Noir , recipe here.

And Chloe & Gracie’s recommendation~their Sweet Potato Curry cookies. . .

Paired with their favorite Chardonnay~

Chloe says: “Nicely fresh on the nose with classic oak spice tones and a creamy mouth feel support juicy orange and peachy fruits. Refreshing acids keep this lively and engaging” :-)

“…winery dogs are inextricably connected to the culture, spirit and essence of the wineries they call home.”

Great Wine (& Dogs!) are cheaper than therapy :-)

Be sure to visit Food for Thought and see what everyone is reading & eating!

  6 comments for “Winery Dogs of Napa Valley

  1. June 5, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Wow what wonderful food and wine! And dogs who live at the wineries. never had thought of such! Wonderful post!

  2. June 5, 2010 at 9:54 am

    oh what a great book… how on earth could you pass this one up! such fabulous pics~

    but that pizza, egads i need to get out more! i need to head over to napa pronto… did you make yours, share the recipe please…

    the gardens are just gorgeous, despite the rain i think its still wonderful~

    i am slowly savoring this review, you really did a beautiful collection of everything… your brushetta and champagne is my idea of heaven.

    ummm to your risotto~

    look how cute the bone pic is, my you got it all going on!

    you had a fabulous napa trip, your details prove it :-) yep i need to get out more and enjoy the good life! thanks for such a great start to my morn. we are suppose to garden all day, i haven’t been out for weeks, i would much rather run away and have a play date now, thanks for planting the seed~

    • June 5, 2010 at 11:11 am

      Yes, to making the pizza~ it’s a cooking light recipe, the same issue had the risotto recipe & recommended wine pairings so it made my homework easy :-) My apricots weren’t ripe enough though~ you lucky Californians have that great produce all year long!

  3. June 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

    “frolic in alfalfa fields, befriend the farm animals, and chase rabbits and gophers all day” What a life!

    I laughed out loud at the screaming gargoyle shot! too funny. Gorgeous shots of your pizza but the Fig and Goat Cheese Brushetta has me salivating!!

    How cool to put a cork to match the page in the book. VERY creative! I like how you think. :-)

    In my next life, I want to be born & raised & live & have my whole family in CALIFORNIA!!

  4. June 8, 2010 at 6:35 am

    Love this post! Doesn’t get much better than dogs, Napa, wine and food:) New follower of your blog!

  5. June 10, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Well, my stomach is rumbling now! I definitely wish tonight’s dinner could magically flow off the pages of this review. Yum, and double YUM! Love the idea of this book. No way would I have passed this one up as a souvenir of a trip to Napa. Makes me think this would be a clever idea as a series – Gallery Dogs, Shop Dogs, the list could be endless. I always like to go into a business that has a dog or cat lounging around. Says a lot about the owner. :-) Thanks for sharing this one! ~ Sarah

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