Sonoma Dog Friendly Wineries - Dog Days of Summer

As summer winds down, we find ourselves looking to take that last minute trip. Whether with friends or family or puppies, here are a few dog friendly wineries along highway 12 in Sonoma that my group of friends (and their pooches) visited during a sweltering Saturday this summer.

Valley of the Moon at the Madrone Estate

Local Cheese Board. (c) SippinSomm
  • Address: 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

  • Hours: Daily. 10 am - 5 pm

  • Wines offered: White Blend, Dry Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Red Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Barbera, Petite Sirah

  • Tasting: Standard Tastings - Bar and Salon, Walking Tour & Tasting, Patio Tasting, Reserve Tasting and Tour, Wine and Chocolate Pairing, Wine and Cheese Pairing

  • Highlights: Beautiful grounds - vineyard views and tasting areas in some of the vineyards and olive groves, ample indoor and outdoor seating, bocce courts, event venue, in house kitchen with a beautiful cheeseboard made with local cheeses and ingredients (seasonal compote!), friendly and knowledgeable staff --this is actually really important for curious minds, variety of wines at different price points and lots to see and do. Tip: popular place for private events, check the website for any restrictions or blocked off days.

Valley of the Moon Winery, located along highway 12 at the Madrone Estate is one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma Valley. Tour the vineyards, where some of the oldest clones of Zinfandel were planted (earliest plantings in 1863), and the original stone barrel cellar, dated in 1887, which houses Madrone Vineyards, Valley of the Moon, Lake Sonoma and some neighboring wineries wine barrels. A beautiful tasting room with rich leather chairs for groups small and large are available inside, in addition to seats at the bar. The outside patio houses plush outdoor seating nestled between the facilities (they host events and weddings) and the vineyards. There are various tasting flights to choose from, definitely try the Pinot Blanc, an uncommon varietal in the US, but one that Valley of the Moon has been recognized for. Another tip is to get the cheeseboard, made with all local cheeses and honey and the seasonal compote -strawberry for the summer- the friendly and knowledgeable hospitality will round out the tasting experience. Since they have a chef on site, outside food is not permitted…if only they'd sell that strawberry compote.

Michael Muscardini (owner and winemaker) describing the Barbera

Muscardini Cellars

  • Address: 9380 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452

  • Hours: Daily. 11 am - 6 pm

  • Wines offered: Pinot Grigio, Dry Rosé, Sangiovese, Barbera, Syrah, Super Tuscan Blends, Zinfandel, Red Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Tasting: Daily, Standard Flights, Reserve Flights, Library Tastings, Winemaker Guided Tastings, Wine and Cheese/Chocolate Pairings

  • Highlights: Easily accessible off of Highway 12, small production single vineyard wines, shaded picnic grounds, winery dog, winemaker often in the tasting room pouring wines, ample outdoor seating on the porch or in the grassy backyard, frequent events featuring food and music.

Michael Muscardini, proprietor and winemaker of the eponymous, Muscardini Cellars. Focused on making Italian classics in a new world style. Muscardini wines are crafted from hand selected grapes in vineyards throughout Northern California. Made in small quantities, Muscardini's artisanal wines exude both fruit forward intensity with secondary complexities that evolve in the glass and in the bottle with oxygen and time, respectively. Often found in the tasting room, with winery dog Biondi (named after the illustrious Tuscan winemaker Franco Biondi Santi), enjoy the picnic grounds with purchased fare or your own picnic and your pooch!

Larson Family Winery

Vineyard Views with friends at Larson Family Winery
  • Address: 23355 Millerick Road, Sonoma, CA 95476

  • Hours: Open Daily. 10 am - 5 pm; Reservations recommended for large groups and picnic tables

  • Wines offered: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Blends, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Merlot, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling

  • Tasting: Standard Flight, Reserve Flight, Outdoor Standard Flight at Picnic Tables

  • Highlights: variety of wines at different price points, vineyard views, picnic areas, bocce courts, dog friendly, bottle/tasting service, can be busy during peak hours (lunch) on popular days (weekends).

Easy drinking and approachable wines with vineyard views and ample picnicking space? Look no further than Larson Family Winery, where the three winery dogs can be seen wandering the premises or, you know, just lying down in the tasting rooms. You have the option of tasting at the bar or reserving a picnic space for your group and pups. Approachable fruit forward wines with equally approachable price points. They don't distribute, so the only place you can get them is right at the winery!

Lake Sonoma Winery

  • Address: 134 Church Street, Sonoma, CA 95476

  • Hours: Open Daily. 11 am - 6 pm

  • Wines offered: Pinot Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, White Blends, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Malbec, Red Blends

  • Tasting: Red Flight, White Flight, Lake Sonoma Showcase (Red & White)

  • Highlights: Easy parking in the Sonoma Square, outdoor and indoor seating with fire pits, cornhole, close to local restaurants, dog friendly, light bites available for purchase, friendly staff, and wide selection of wines.

Last stop on my Kenwood sojourn was Lake Sonoma Winery and Tasting Room. Lake Sonoma is one of the wineries owned and operated by the Stewart Family, and therefore they serve the Stewart Family labels: Lake Sonoma, Madrone Estate, Valley of the Moon, and Stewart Family. The tasting room is situated like a wine bar and is open later than some of the local wineries, which makes it a perfect ending to a day wine tasting. With seating both outside and inside and rolling garage doors, the space opens up to the summer evening. Ample outdoor seating and even a small private room for groups or parties and an accommodating and friendly staff made this the perfect stop. With plenty of options for tasting or glasses, it's easy to find something for everyone. Located in the Sonoma Square, the tasting room is close to other wine tasting rooms and plenty of restaurants with easy parking; making finding a dinner spot too easy.

A Few of My Favorite Shots

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