What a great day and what a great group of wineries. I’ve been wanting to take Vegas with me on a wine day for a while but wasn’t sure how many of the wineries would allow it. I also wasn’t sure how Vegas would handle it, being the neurotic little hairball that he is.
- Our first stop was St. Michelle and that was the only place not to allow dogs; we didn’t mind waiting outside because they have beautiful grounds to walk around. We also ran into a woman with a 17 week old puppy that was adorable, Vegas had a mini-meltdown initially but then was fine with her.
- Chatter Creek was next. They had a wine club release and some great wines to taste. The Barbera was my favorite this time. Vegas spent most of the day in my arms and at this first stop he spent most of that time shaking. People were very nice and gentle when I told them about his puppy mill past, but you could tell that even with all the special attention, he was still scared to death.
- We went to Gordon Brothers next and he was a little better. There weren’t many people in there so I let him walk around and check things out for a while. Had good wines here too; their Cab and Rose were my favorites.
- Senoj was next and we were the only people there at first. I let him sniff around for at least 2-3 pours and then people started to arrive so I picked him up again. This time I noticed that he wasn’t shaking too much. Before I knew it, there were a lot of people in the tasting room and most of them seemed to be surrounding us and wanting to pet him or ask questions about him. I should also mention that this is a really fun tasting room, big projection TV, huge space and all kinds of seating. Back to Vegas…he did very well with the mob of people; I was so proud. I was also so happy to be there because they had a lot of nice wines, the blends were the ones I like best at this one.
- Our next stop was Sparkman Cellars, always a favorite. Dad and I drank and Vegas just kind of hung out on my arm and took it all in. He let people pet him and didn’t seem to mind. Loved the Ruby Leigh here and dad bought a Chardonnay – he never buys Chardonnay!
- We went across the street (parking lot) to Darby next and stayed until a large group showed up – we were just about done anyway. I liked everything I had here, and I bought another bottle of Chaos.
- We went to Guardian Cellars next and I had him in my arms the whole time there. I really like this place. Jerry (owner/winemaker) and his girlfriend are so nice. They welcomed everyone that came in and it kind of felt like being at a friend’s house for a wine party. The tasting room is small but so well done, including black and white personal photos, a nice TV and the sofa where we parked for a while. Again, Vegas wasn’t shaking. He actually seemed to be getting the hang of it. I even left him with dad when I went to pay and he was absolutely fine. Favorites here were Chalk Line and Gun Metal.
- Our last stop in the warehouse district was Alexandria Nicole. We went to the initial tasting bar up front and they immediately gave me a dog biscuit for Vegas. He thought that was top notch. Then we went through the ‘secret passage’ into the back tasting room – holy cow it was packed!! My favorites here were the Cab and the Rock Star, no big surprise on either one. We were able to squeeze into the bar but weren’t there long before all kinds of people wanted to pet Vegas. I told them his story (which was starting to sound like a broken record at this point) and let them all pet him. No more shaking and this was the biggest crowd so far. He was either exhausted or had finally realized that nothing bad was going to happen. Either way, he wasn’t a neurotic little dog anymore, at least for the moment. He even let a little girl pet him and he kids always freak him out. As dad and I were leaving, I bumped into a fellow wine blogger, Margot from Write for Wine and her dog, Jewel. Such a nice surprise!
- Our last stop of the day was Fine Wine and Cigars in Redmond. Hightower was there for a tasting and to introduce their new dog, Riley. Riley (a 1 year old yellow lab) and Vegas did not hit it off. We kept them separated and enjoyed the great Hightower wines. Their Cab and their Merlot were (and always are) fantastic.
I’m very happy with his first winery outing and I am committed to making sure that wasn’t his last one. My hope is that he gets better and better and starts to really enjoy it. I’d also like to take some really fun pictures of him in various tasting rooms, on barrells, next to a magnum, eating the cheese and crackers – whatever. Now if only there was some way he could drive me and dad around, that would be ideal!!