It may not be common knowledge, but beautiful Temecula wine country is home to some of the happiest tail-wagging canines and one cute pot-bellied pig.
These lucky four-legged friends of the Valley know how to live the good life, sleeping under a tree, or traipsing through the vineyards and in and around tasting rooms having their bellies petted.
The animals’ owners have said a winery is not complete without a beloved mascot and guests agree.
“Having a dog at a winery is part of the experience,” said Joe Hart owner of Hart Winery. “Many people come only to visit our dog Bosco. He has a following and has been featured in a wine country book.”
Bosco, the Hart Winery family dog, is close to 15 years old and grew up patrolling the fields, chasing squirrels and sampling the wine.
“Bosco is slowing down and is now semi-retired but he still tries to catch rodents and loves to sample wine that spills on the floor during our wine making,” said Hart.
At Hart, Bosco is the only dog allowed in the tasting room but the winery is pet friendly allowing dogs on a leash to sit with their owners at one of the outside picnic tables.
At Europa Village Winery, a puppy named Bella was born on March 1 and taken home by her owner John Goldsmith. Bella, a cute frisky black and white border collie, loves to have her belly rubbed and will be soon be free to roam the vineyards and begin her life chasing rabbits and squirrels.
“Bella brings a total different vibe, a different element to the surroundings when she is here,” said Goldsmith, general manager at Europa Village Winery.
Guests at Europa are welcome to bring their pooches on a leash to sit outside as they sip on a crisp white wine or bold red.
Goldsmith warns wine tasters to guard their bottles of wine, “Bella is known to steal corks.”
At Palumbo Winery, Sargent can be found chasing rabbits and squirrels in the morning out among the vines, but during the heat of the day, he is nestled on his dog bed in the wine tasting room.
“Sargent makes this winery feel homey and relaxing,” said Steve Frederick, a guest at Palumbo Winery.
At Wilson Creek Winery guests can easily find one of five dogs and a pig frolicking on the grounds. Rosie and Jerry Wilson said they have a family winery and their Golden Retrievers — Cabernet, Jazz, Chianti, Tipsie and Almond Joy — are a part of it.
“People love our pets. When guests visit, they ask about the animals, the wine and then me. In that order,” Jerry said.
The newest addition to the Wilson Creek family is Molly a miniature pot-bellied pig who sports a pink tutu. Molly is a scene-stealer and allows children and adults to pet and play with her.
“Molly will be featured on the label of one of our soon to be released wines,” said Rosie Wilson.
Additional wineries that allow pets outside include: Oak Mountain Winery, Robert Rezoni, Palumbo, Europa Village Winery, Hart Winery, Falkner, Danza de Sol, Masia de Yabar, Baily (including patio of Carol’s Restaurant), Maurice Car’rie (small dogs if they’re carried), Wiens, Danza, Monte de Oro, Keyways, Cougar, Bel Vino Winery, and Leoness Cellars(patio on weekdays).
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.