So far on this blog, I’ve not taken you to Eastern Washington, which is the home of some of our most famous wines. A section of Eastern Washington shares the same latitude as the Burgundy and Bordeaux wine regions of France and averages two more hours of sunlight a day than California during prime grape growing season.
And lots of our wineries in the Tri-Cities area, which includes Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, plus some in nearby areas, love dogs almost as much as they love their wine. If you want to take man’s best friend along with you on a self-guided winery tour, you’ll both be rewarded.
Bung, the Wonder Dog, hangs out at Bonair Winery in Zillah. While you’re outside enjoying wine and tapas by the duck pond, Bung will hop in an empty chair and appear to have a conversation with you. Although he’d like to sample your appetizers, he’s not at all forceful or aggressive about it.
He’ll gladly show your dog around, too. Bung’s likeness, although it was a previous Bung who lived at the winery for 12 years, appears on Bonair’s Bung Dog Red wine.
Dogs are often seen hanging out on the patio at Kiona Vineyards in Benton City. Located on Red Mountain, Kiona’s tasting room was named the Best in Washington State in 2009 by Seattle Magazine, probably because of the breathtaking panoramic view of the estate.
Aurora, a loveable shepherd mix, who graces the label on Sleeping Dog Wines’ Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, can also be found in Benton City welcoming all, both human and canine, to the Sleeping Dog Wines tasting room. Here the vineyards give pups a place to stretch their legs. Water and peanut butter treats are almost always on hand.
You’ll find Riley at Hightower Cellars, also in Benton City, where dogs are allowed to play off-leash outside or partake of the water bowl in the tasting room.
In Richland, Barnard Griffin Winery welcomes canines and also supports them through a partnership with the local Humane Society. Their 2009 Rose of Sangiovese just brought home its fifth gold medal in a row from the San Francisco Chronicle Competition.
I’m sure there are many more wineries that are dog-friendly as there are more than 160 wineries within a 50-mile radius of Tri-Cities. Just call and ask if you find one you’d like to visit.
For more information on what to do and see in the Tri-Cities area, head over to www.visittri-cities.com.