Dog Friendly Winery Road Trip

Friday, July 06, 2018

New England just went through MAJOR heat wave last week. It happened to also coincide with my one week vacation. The original plan was to take the weekend off and take Eleanor, our 11 month lab mix rescue on a couple hikes and maybe a brewery or winery or two. Well... heat indexes over 100 degrees put a stop to the plan, and we had to improvise with something else. 

We decided to look into some indoor wineries that were also dog friendly. A quick Google search and I found Cork Hounds, a website and app that allows you to look up wineries in chosen radius of a location that allow dogs. You can choose weather you want wineries that allow dogs inside, outside and/or on the patio. We did a quick search and discovered there were actually a few wineries in MA that allow pups inside. We picked 3 wineries out in Western MA: 

Black Birch Vineyard
Amherst Farm Winery 
Hardwick Winery 

We sent facebook messages to all of the wineries to confirm that they allowed dogs inside ahead of time, as suggested by Cork Hounds

The first stop was Black Birch Vineyard in Hatfield, MA. Black Birch is uniquely set on a back dirt road out in a residential area. The building has a very vintage meets modern look. Outside, there was a large front lawn with Adirondack chairs. Inside, there was a nice size tasting room, and then a larger space for people to sit and enjoy bottles. All in comfortable A/C. We took up spots at the bar and spoke with a couple of different employees who were all friendly and knowledgeable about the wine. We each bought a tasting, which included the two wine glasses. 

Tasting Notes: 
Riesling 2017: Clone 198: fruity, crisp, lemongrass 
Riesling 2017: Rose: light, lemon, strawberry 
Corot Noir 2014: thick, full, berry 
Resolute Red: sharp, blackberries
Noiret 2015: pepper and berries
Pandelton: starts sweet, finishes mellow 
Epic White 2017: bright and citrus 
Pinot Noir 2014: light, but flavorful, finishes dry
Cabernet Franc 2014- Nutt Rd: really good! That's all he had for this one. 
Eloquent red: fruit and berries 

Also, the best part, they have a winery dog! Eleanor got to play with the pup a little bit. It was great for her to get the interaction as it was the only pup she saw that day. 

The second winery of the day was Amherst Farm Winery in Amherst, MA. This winery had a nice laid back feel, and was a little more crunchy, earthy. There were quite a few fruit wines on the tasting menu, but we didn't get into those. I do have some regret over not trying the blueberry though, because I heard the people next to us raving about it. We were greeted there with open arms. Eleanor was welcomed also, by name! Derek had told the winery our dog's name when he asked through Facebook about dogs, and they remembered her! So, it made for a nice personable experience. 

This winery had a nice big space inside with a large tasting bar. Eleanor stood at the bar, and we were quickly offered water for her. They were cool with us treating her and letting her drink water. 

Derek and I got a tasting each, again glasses included, and tried a lot of the same wines at this spot. 

Tasting notes: 
Weathervane White: tangy, fruity, citrus
White Hen: sweet, lemon, lime
Barn Board Red: pepper finish, hint of chilies
University Blend: rose blush, tangy, strawberry 
Mulled Wine: tastes like a cocktail, almost like an old fashioned. Cloves, orange, very easy to drink. 
Lemon N'ice: tastes just like lemonade. Suggestion was to enjoy as a slushy. 
Chocolate Strawberry: very good, light, slightly fruity. 

The final stop of the day was Hardwick Winery. Eleanor was a little tired at this point, so this was a quick stop for us. We decided to grab a glass of wine each and sit on the deck, which had a nice breeze and some shade for the pup. Eleanor was able to just lay down and relax in the corner, so it was a nice, chill spot for her. I sipped on the Yankee Girl Blush, which was tart and cherry forward according to my tasting notes. It also had some nice melon notes. Derek had the Hardwick Red, which had a lot of plum. 

We are excited to explore more dog friendly wineries, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. Let us know if you have any suggestions for us! We would love to hear them. 

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