July and August are often referred to as the “Dog Days of Summer”, when the year’s hottest temperatures lead to sultry days and warm evenings. The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the warm weather with the star Sirius, the Dog Star. The Greek poems Phaenomena by Aratus and Works and Days by Hesiod also note Sirius’s association with the summer heat. Many parts of the northern hemisphere are uncomfortably warm during this time of year, but with its close proximity to the San Francisco Bay and the natural air conditioning that comes with it, the Napa Valley enjoys an enviable climate this time of year.
Nowhere are the “Dog Days of Summer” more celebrated and enjoyable than the Napa Valley. The valley turns the phrase on its ear – pun intended! – by showcasing its generous pet-friendly hospitality. Many of the valley’s wineries, restaurants, and lodging establishments provide extra special treats for four legged friends, where visitors and locals alike can bring the pups along and take advantage of these pet-perks year round.
Dogs are a big part of a vintner’s life, and are welcome at many of the Napa Valley’s finest wineries. St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery offers treats and doggie bandannas in the tasting room. Guests to St. Supéry are often greeted by GG the winery’s CCO or Chief Cuddle Officer. Raymond Vineyards has an entire “winery” dedicated to Frenchie, owner Jean Charles Boisset’s French bulldog. While guests take in the Raymond experience at “Frenchie Winery”, pups can enjoy their own Napa Valley vacation in an outdoor, shady dog suite, complete with their very own wine barrel doggie bed. Each fall, HALL Wines in St. Helena hosts Harvest Hounds, where four-legged friends can get together while their biped humans and taste HALL wines, with proceeds benefiting Napa Humane. V. Sattui, which is pet friendly year round, also hosts an annual “Pamper your Pooch” day, complete with swag bags filled with dog treats, a photo booth, the “Most Adorable Dog” contest and free doggie bandanas. Other wineries that roll out the red carpet for pets include Pine Ridge Winery, Peju Province Winery, Whitehall Lane Winery, Trefethen Vineyards, Jessup Cellars, and Clos du Val. A complete list of pet-friendly wineries can also be found at www.napavintners.com.
Hungry? A brand new California state law allows many of the valley’s restaurants with al fresco areas to pamper your pet while dining in style, including Grace’s Table, Fume Bistro, the River Deck at Oxbow Public Market, Bistro Don Giovanni, and Angèle Restaurant & Bar in Napa. In St. Helena, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen welcomes a well-behaved bowser, and Lucy Restaurant & Bar welcomes the same in Yountville. Solbar at Solage and Calistoga Inn and Brewery in Calistoga both have outdoor dining areas for you and your pet pals.
Visiting from out of town or have friends and family coming in? Fear not, as several of the Valley’s most luxurious hotels and resorts also welcome pets. The Napa River Inn in downtown Napa offers their VIP – Very Important Pet – program featuring gourmet pet treats, a custom-designed blanket embroidered with the Napa River Inn logo, along with a place mat and stainless steel food and water bowls. The Inn also features a list of qualified pet sitters to help keep “the kids” entertained so you can enjoy a night out on the town. Bardessono in Yountville offers their Bardogsono package, which features an all-natural, lush PLAY bed fit to size for your pup, a house-made dog biscuit made by their Pasty Chef, Tedd Romero, a designer hand-knotted, all-natural play toy by Harry & Barker, and most importantly, a bottle of Frenchie Wine from Raymond Vineyards for the parents! In addition, Bardessono also hosts their monthly DogBar, which takes place on the ballroom patio the first Tuesday of the month through October. The $25 cover includes a glass of Napa Valley wine, and light bites from Lucy Restaurant & Bar. Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer in St. Helena allows up to two pets (under 40 pounds) per room, with plush pet beds, custom pet bowls, doggy bags and treats. With advance notice, Calistoga’s Solage offers pet-friendly accommodations for four-legged friends, including complimentary dog beds and food bowls available upon request. Other hotels and resorts that pamper your pet include The Carneros Inn, Chanric Inn, The Meritage Resort and Spa, North Block, Embassy Suites Hotel Napa Valley, Chateau De Vie and The Vintage Inn. VisitNapaValley.com has a complete list, with all the pet perks associated.
Yes, the Dog Days of Summer can be a real hot & heavy downer in some areas of the country, but in typical Napa Valley fashion, it’s a literal treat for locals and visitors and their pets! So, gather your fur babies, grab a seat at your favorite eatery, book that appointment to taste the latest vintages, and make plans at one of the valley’s resorts for the ultimate in people and pet pampering. NVL