Dogs are always there for us—lifting our spirits, bringing us smiles and encouraging us to stay active and engaged. Recent studies suggest that having a dog around can help decrease a person’s stress levels and even lower the risk of health issues such as high blood pressure.
That’s all no surprise to the California vintners who share their canine family members and favorite dog tales in this cover story.
“I appreciate the calming influence of a dog,” says Barbara Banke, chairman of Jackson Family Wines and owner of three happy-go-lucky ranch dogs.
Vintner Kathryn Hall says of Rocky, her globe-traveling spaniel: “We do long for companionship, and when your dog is with you, there’s somebody there who loves you.”
Likewise for Caymus founder Chuck Wagner and his son Joe Wagner, owner and winemaker of Copper Cane, dogs are all about companionship, whether they’re carousing in the vineyards or riding along in the truck, head out the window. “They seem to pick up on feelings,” Joe says.
In the following pages, you’ll meet two dozen dogs that work and play alongside their winemaker owners and also serve as ambassadors at top estates in wine country. It’s just a sampling—there are many more wagging tails waiting to welcome you at tasting room doors—but we hope this story introduces you to a few that you’ll know by name when they trot up to greet you on a future visit.