BringFido’s Guide to Napa Valley

Posted by Billy Francis

Napa Valley is at the heart of America’s Wine Country, but there’s much more than “pawfect” Pinot to this Californian region an hour north of San Francisco. Fido is invited to witness natural wonders up close, ride shotgun surrounded by gorgeous vineyards, and even sample a charcuterie board prepared especially for canines. Wine, dine and have an unforgettable time with your best friend by your side in beautiful Napa Valley.

Things to Do

Picnic, pinot + pup = heaven. Photo by @regusciwinery

Join a dog trainer on a tour of pet-friendly wineries, hike together through beautiful surroundings, and shop until you drop with your Weimaraner in Wine Country.

Take a Guided Winery Tour

For over 35 years, Dan from Good Dog! Dog Training has traveled the world training dolphins, sea lions, bears, big cats, primates and of course, dogs. Nowadays, the pet expert can be found in Napa Valley, where he combines his animal expertise and knowledge of the region on his Dog-Friendly Wine Tours. Dan will scoop your and your pooch up from Sonoma or Napa and take you on a private tour of some of the best pet-friendly wineries in the region. Let him take the lead or choose your own dog-friendly vineyards, safe in the knowledge that Fido will receive water and treats along the way.

Visit the Other “Old Faithful”

Begin your day with a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser of California, one of only three “faithful” geysers in the world that reliably erupts every 15 to 30 minutes. After watching the geyser blow its top, discover the natural beauty of California’s Wine Country on the nearby Oat Hill Mine Trail from Calistoga into Pope Valley. Hikers can imagine they are early pioneers on the former stagecoach road that spans 8.3 miles and reaches an elevation of 1,500 feet. The best time to walk the path is during the beautiful wildflower season, which usually begins in early March and lasts until the middle of May. Dogs are even allowed off-leash on the moderate trail if they are under voice control.

Let Fido Off Leash in Napa

Located on 157 acres in the rolling hills of northwest Napa, Alston Park is the go-to gathering place for the area’s active four-legged population. The pretty park is home to 3 miles of winding trails that you can explore with your leashed pooch and an upper area known by locals as Canine Commons, which offers visitors views of Redwood Creek and beyond to Napa Valley. The park isn’t fenced, so only dogs who are under voice control should be allowed off leash in designated areas.

“Nothing like a little vino in the Valley.” Photo by @regusciwinery

Explore a Historic Winery

Regusci Winery welcomes dogs with open arms and humans with open bottles. This gorgeous former ranch is full of rustic charm. The Occidental Wine House building was originally constructed in 1878 with local stone, but was shuttered during prohibition until its revival by the Regusci family in 1990. Since taking over, the family has adapted a hay loft into a tasting room, added a colorful culinary garden and a sun-soaked expansive outdoor patio that overlooks 160 acres of vineyards and rolling hills. Take a stroll through the grounds with your dog and enjoy a tasting together in paradise.

Drive the Long and “Wining” Road

If you want to get a feel for Napa Valley from the comfort of your car, take a scenic drive on the Silverado Trail. This 29-mile route has been a passage for travelers since 1852, when it was used as an alternative for the valley’s main road after a flood. Begin your journey in Napa and drive northwest toward Yountville on a section of the trail surrounded by Chardonnay vines on either side and giant mountains reaching high into the sky. Continue to Calistoga, where you can pause to see Old Faithful and enjoy a hike, or just marvel at the views of incredible Mount St. Helena.

Enjoy a Woodland Wander

The Petrified Forest was created after Mount St. Helena erupted 3.4 million years ago and engulfed a redwood forest in volcanic ash, preventing decay and preserving the trees. It wasn’t until 1870 that the forest was discovered underneath a pasture and became a point of interest for paleontologists. These days, visitors and their dogs can take to the trails of the forest and enjoy the natural phenomenon together.

Get Your Tail on the Trail

The Napa Valley Vine Trail will one day stretch for 47 scenic miles from the Vallejo Ferry to Calistoga. So far, 12.5 miles of Class I trail from Kennedy Park Off Leash Area in Napa to Yountville are completed. The project hopes to connect all of Napa Valley to provide locals and visitors alike with a safe place to walk dogs and cycle, plus a healthy alternative for pedestrians to explore the region’s vineyards.

There’s No Place Like Sonoma

Located an hour away from Napa by car, enjoy a day trip to Sonoma, the birthplace of California’s commercial wine industry. Fido can stretch his legs at Ernie Smith Community Regional Park. Then, head to Cornerstone Sonoma and explore market stores, restaurants and nine walk-through gardens together. No trip to Sonoma would be complete without a terrific tasting. Head to the dog-friendly Viansa Winery & Vineyards for a sip in beautiful surroundings.

Places to Stay

"Are you gonna eat that?" Photo by Facebook.com/NapaRiverInn

Vineyard views, downtown pads and relaxing retreats await Fido on his next Napa Valley vacay.

Sip a Sherry at Sherrie’s

Experience exceptional views in stunning surroundings at Sherrie's Vineyard View Retreat in Napa. The top two levels of the house are occupied by Sherrie’s family and her photogenic dog, Tawny. You and your well-behaved pup will have free roam of the rest of the property, which includes a courtyard to watch the sunset over vineyards and hills in the distance, a spacious fenced garden with a fire pit, and a heated swimming pool.

Have a Barrel of Laughs in Sonoma

Say aloha to Hawaii in the middle of Sonoma County at 707 Barrel Lounge Cottage. This tropical retreat is the perfect setting to enjoy a haul of wine from Sonoma’s finest vineyards and wineries. Fire up the grill, play fetch on the grass, slam dunk the pool’s basketball nets, and relax on a sun lounger with a glass of wine.

Wake Up to Napa River Views

Situated in the Historic Napa Mill building, once used by Captain Hatt as a supply warehouse for local vineyards, Napa River Inn is a blend of modern amenities and memorable charm that pays homage to its roots. Four-legged guests receive treats at check-in, and you can walk Fido along the nearby Napa River Trail before bedtime.

An Old Yeller Home

The Napa Yellow House off the Silverado Trail is a charming home a short walk from downtown Napa. After a day of exploring the area, unleash Fido in the fenced backyard to sunbathe while you soak in the hot tub. Take a walk to Gott’s Roadside when hunger strikes and chow down on burgers, tacos, shakes and more.

“They know me by name here.” Photo by BringFido/Pepe

Location, Location, Location

Tourists looking for a nice time in Wine Country should reserve a room at Napa Winery Inn. This popular hotel is within walking distance of Alston Park, where traveling dogs and humans can get the scoop from the locals. Before returning to the inn after your off-leash fun, visit Hendry Winery, a family vineyard that’s been growing grapes and producing wine since 1939.

Relax at the Retreat

Live the good life in the shadow of the Sonoma Mountains at this stunning artist's retreat. Situated on 10 entirely fenced and secluded acres, your well-behaved and sociable pooch is welcome to run freely with your host's dogs. Explore hiking trails, stroll along the beautiful gardens, or paint a "pawtrait" of your pup in the functioning art studio at this one-of-a-kind Wine Country escape.

A Magical Stay

Stunning accommodation in Napa Valley doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Magical Sanctuary on the Vineyard is a serene spot with views of a neighboring vineyard from a light and airy porch. Fido has free reign of the shared yard and can take his late-night pee breaks amid the sweet scent of Sonoma plum trees, blackberry bushes and a peach tree.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

"I guess the view is okay.” Photo by @instasanches

Just like a refreshing bowl of water alongside your dog’s favorite food, a good wine deserves a great pairing. From hikes followed by tastings to a charcuterie board designed for dogs, here’s where you can wine and dine with your best friend in Napa Valley.

Get the Goods at a Historic Grocery Store

Oakville Grocery should be the first stop for anybody stocking up the refrigerator at their pet-friendly vacation rental in Napa Valley. The flagship location in Oakville has been providing goods to locals since 1881. Stock up on essentials like eggs, milk and butter, and feast on artisan sandwiches that can be enjoyed on the tables outside. Pay a visit to the adjacent wine merchant before you leave and grab a bottle for later.

Dog Hike + Wine = A Good Time

Kunde Family Winery has been producing wine the right way for five generations. The family utilizes sustainable practices to create exceptional white, red and dessert wines. Learn how the wine makes its way from grape to glass on a guided dog hike through the grounds, held every few months. Jeff and Roberta Kunde, and dogs Cooper and Kalie, take groups on a 4-hour walk through vineyard rows, oak woodlands, and native grasslands before giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. A portion of the $90 tour fee is donated to Dogwood Animal Rescue Project and the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

Try a Trendy Downtown Eatery

Fume in Napa aims to satisfy the hunger of all diners, whether they have two legs or four. Your pooch can choose from the gourmet selection of grilled chicken breast, hamburger patty and grilled salmon. If she’s hungry for more, add a side of bacon or eggs to any dish.

Trails, Treats and Tastings

When the Golden State sun is shining, take a walk together on the shady 3-mile hiking trail at Bartholomew Estate Winery. Whenever you’re feeling thirsty, relax at the picnic tables and try the estate-grown wine while Fido snacks on complimentary treats in the tasting room.

Dinner With a View

Angele Restaurant & Bar on Napa’s riverfront takes Northern California produce and brings it to life with French culinary flair. Call ahead to reserve an exclusive pet-friendly table to enjoy delights that range from oysters on the half shell to house-made fettuccine. Take a walk to the Napa Valley Welcome Center after dinner and learn more about the region.

Mutts welcome at this winery. Photo by Facebook.com/MuttLynchWinery

A Dog-Centric Winery

Mutt Lynch Winery is around an hour from Napa, but it’s worth the drive. The fun Windsor winery’s motto is for patrons to “bark less, wag more,” with their variety of dog-themed wines. While you sample an Unleashed Chardonnay or Merlot Over and Play Dead, your pup can enjoy a charcuterie board of treats prepared just for him.

One for the Beer Lovers

Shockingly, wine isn’t everybody’s favorite beverage. If you prefer the hoppy pleasures of a beer instead, bring your furry drinking buddy to Downtown Joes American Brewery. Wheat beers, IPAs, bitters and more are brewed on-site at the micro brewery, along with tasty treats to soak them up with.

What will Fido’s first Napa Valley stop be? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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