If you didn’t already realize, we take Sora with us just about everywhere we go. The trouble always comes during the colder months, when our favorite restaurant patios are closed and there are few indoor places we can bring Sora along.
I thought I was privy to all the dog-friendly places in Portland like breweries or the handful of restaurants with heated patios, but it wasn’t until we joined Oregon Wine Country on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway portion of our Oregon Rode Trip last June that I learned that wineries are quite possibly the most dog-friendly places around. I since learned that the Willamette Valley contains a host of dog-friendly wineries, and many even have dogs of their own.
We had so much fun during our first tour with Oregon Wine Country, that we worked with them on a winter trip, all about dog-friendly wineries! By car this time, we traveled around to visit several Willamette Valley wineries for three days sampling some seriously delectable pours, all with Sora by our side.
Dog-Friendly Wineries of the Willamette Valley
Dundee Hills & Eola-Amity Hills
Keeler Estate, Amity
Visitors are first greeted by cheerful Abby, just one of several wine dogs at Keeler Estate, who lead us into the arms of owner Gabriele Keeler, who welcomes guests with an exuberant laugh. Of course, Sora is the real star, so Gabriele quickly ran off to retrieve several jars of treats for her.
As we sipped on the biodynamically-grown wines fermented in a cement egg, Tasha, the other family dog barked hello from the office where she worked with Gabriele’s husband Craig, also an owner. Quite possibly the only winery with a wine club for dogs, Keeler Estate offers Pinot & Puppies as an add-on for existing wine club members. For an additional $15 per year, membership includes organic treats, puppy play dates at the vineyard, and a chance to be featured as dog of the month. If that weren’t enough, a portion of each membership goes toward Homeward Bound, Oregon’s first no-kill animal shelter.
Sokol Blosser, Dundee
Sokol Blosser is one of the original Oregon wineries, having begun producing wine in the late 70s, and a leader when it comes to sustainability. To highlight just a few of their accomplishments, Sokol Blosser began transitioning the vineyard to organic production in 2002, the same year they opened the first winery building in the country to receive LEED certification. By 2005, the entire 72-acre vineyard received full USDA organic certification and in 2015 established the business as a B Corp.
Dogs are not allowed indoors at Sokol Blosser, on account of the kitchen, but are more than welcome to hang out on the covered patio, which is open year round with heaters and blankets for colder days, or in the picnic area in back on a beautiful summer day. A classic Oregon winery, just about everything these guys produce is top notch, especially the Rosé we were lucky to sample before it’s Valentine’s Day release.
Where to Stay with a Dog:
The Vintages Trailer Resort, Dayton
Quite possibly the most fun place to stay in all of Oregon wine country, the Vintages Trailer Resort consists of 30 colorful vintage trailers of all shapes and sizes. Each trailer comes equipped with it’s own WiFi, cruiser bikes, and bottle openers, of course. The best part for us? They LOVE dogs. Sora received a goodie bag filled with a tennis ball, squeaky toy, dog treats, and charDOGnay! The resort is located right next to a dog park and is walking distance to downtown Dayton.
Where to Eat:
The Dundee Bistro, Dundee
Operated by another Oregon wine country original family, the Ponzis, the Dundee Bistro offers high quality food that pairs perfectly with the wines produced in the Willamette Valley. The restaurant is a perfect blend of high end dining in a casual and friendly setting that welcomes everyone from the visiting tourists to local residents and field workers still wearing their overalls and work boots.
Vegan options are plentiful by request, and even a couple pizzas already come completely vegan! During the warmer months, dogs are welcome on the patio.
Valley Commissary, McMinnville
With a focus on local and seasonal ingredients, Valley Commissary delivers tasty food highlighting the bounty of the Willamette Valley. The menu rotates frequently, save for a few regular staples, featuring sandwiches, salads, and burgers. Some sandwiches come pre-made, so it’s not possible to omit products like cheese to veganize them. We both ordered the chickpea burger and were quite pleased with our choice.
The Block House Cafe, Dayton
Located in the charming town of Dayton, the Block House Cafe makes its home in a renovated 1886 First Baptist Church across from the main park. A true local establishment, most patrons are townies allowing visitors a peek into their daily lives.
The cafe serves locally-roasted espresso and coffee in addition to the wine, of course, and the menu features regional ingredients that can easily be made vegan with some creativity. During the summer months, bring your pup to join you for breakfast or lunch on the patio.
Southwest Willamette Valley Wineries
Emerson Vineyards, Monmouth
Tom, the owner and winemaker of Emerson Vineyards is a funny guy. He’s the sort of person who will reply with a pun and most definitely some sass to make you laugh. Each of the wines has a story behind the name, usually related to and named for a family member. He even named the winery after his grandfather. The entire wine making process is done so with sustainability in mind, using organic practices when possible.
Airlie Winery, Monmouth
Bring a picnic lunch and stay awhile at Airlie Winery while sipping on some wine on the heavily forested estate that loves dogs. Their own canine ambassadors, Irish Setters Riley and Rocky love meeting visiting dogs. They will happily show visiting canines all the hip spots around the winery, like the swimming pond.
The woman-owned winery works meticulously on each batch of wine and produces a wide range of varietals, including Müller Thurgau and Maréchal Foch, one of the few wineries in the region that makes this type.
Where to Stay:
Best Western Plus Prairie Inn, Albany
This centrally-located hotel is a prime spot for wine tasters. Located in between Salem and Corvallis, the Best Western Plus Prairie Inn has a dog park right across the street and pups get a welcome treat. Our room was spacious and comfortable and a continental breakfast with variety of options was included in our stay.
We wished that we had had more time to visit the nearby Talking Water Gardens, an incredibly cool wastewater treatment project designed to mimic the cleaning and cooling processes that occur in nature, returning treated water safely back to the Willamette River.
Where to Eat:
4 Spirits Distillery, Corvallis
Established by Dawson Officer in 2011, 4 Spirits Distillery was created to honor four combat soldiers who served with Dawson in Iraq. A self-taught distiller, he studies the craft with precision and tinkers with various flavor combinations. His creations include a cucumber gin, a habanero spiced rum, and several whiskeys.
He encourages the same creativity among his kitchen and bar staff. Case in point, when the chef learned of our veganism, he went out and purchased ingredients to create vegan versions of the sliders on the regular menu. He also informed me that they’re working on a vegan version of their veggie burger (which currently uses eggs as a binder). Currently, pups are allowed on the outdoor patio, and lucky for us, we experienced some rare warm February weather during our visit.
For more pet-friendly eateries and activities in Corvallis, see our post describing the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.
Frankie’s Restaurant, Albany
Frankie’s put a strict focus on knowing where every ingredient on their menu comes from and makes everything—from dressings to mayonnaise to the burger buns—in house. The menu features a variety of cuisines, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The passion for food shines in each plate served by the friendly staff. Coming soon from the same owners is Bodhi Bakery, located just across the street from Frankie’s. Named for their dog, the raw juice bar and bakery has fans eagerly awaiting the opening.
South Salem Hills
Cória Estate, Salem
Perched high above the Willamette Valley, the view from Cória Estate’s brand new tasting room is worth the visit alone. One side overlooks the vineyard and the Willamette Valley. From the other, you’ve got clear views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson. The large patio and grassy area just beg for outdoor fětes.
Maya, the Official Greeter and Tasting Room Escort came into the lives of the Cória family after finding her way onto a neighbor’s farm. Unable to find the owners, they began asking friends and family if they could open their hearts to a sweet chocolate lab. The Cória family didn’t think twice and adopted her as a member of the family in 2008.
What began as a nine-acre plot of land, the family-run estate has grown to a 94-acre vineyard. The winery produces pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay, with daughter Aurora leading the production.
Where to Eat:
Gather Cafe, Silverton
A fantastic gem located in the historical town of Silverton, Gather serves healthy, locally-sourced foods in a bright open space. With plentiful vegan selections, we had a tough time settling on a dish. We ultimately went with the Better Burrito, a solid choice.
Check out the murals on the surrounding blocks to walk off your meal. Several feature dogs, including the pet parade, the library mural, and Bobbie the Wonder Dog, Silverton’s most famous pooch. Bobbie traveled 2,551 miles on his own to return home after he became lost while his humans were visiting family in Wolcott, Indiana.
Where to Stay:
The Oregon Garden, Silverton
We had never heard of the Oregon Garden until our visit on this trip. This gem of a place features an 80-acre botanical garden with 20 different specialty gardens. Each garden displays the diversity found in the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest. Our favorite was the pet-friendly garden, which educates visitors on plants that are both toxic and non-toxic to pets. The Oregon Garden also contains one of the oldest living Oak trees in Oregon, a 400-year old heritage tree in the Oak Grove.
The cottages at the resort are spacious and cozy rooms heated by gas fireplace. Pets are welcome for a nominal fee in select rooms and may join guests in the garden and on the outdoor patio for meals. The resort also organizes social events, like Friday morning yoga. Lucky me, I happened to be the one and only participant during our visit.