Home Americas Discover Lodi, California: A Guide to dog friendly Wine Tasting at the Best Lodi Wineries

Discover Lodi, California: A Guide to dog friendly Wine Tasting at the Best Lodi Wineries

written by ParoChak January 26, 2018

When it comes to wine in California, the bigwigs are undoubtedly Napa and Sonoma with the coast (Mendocino in the north to Santa Barbara in the south) finishing a close second. But what if I told you that there exists another magical, yet little known place in California which is not only the Zinfandel capital of the world, but also has has over 85 boutique wineries and leads all other wine growing regions of California in production of a barrel of different wine types such as the Petit Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? If you’ve never heard of this place before, then rest assured that you are not the only one. This wine growing region, boasting of about 110,000 acres of wine grapes is none other than LODI, a tiny town nestled between the SF Bay area and Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Here, grapevines are entwined with the very essence of life. Lodi is also incredibly dog friendly which is why we chose to spend a weekend there and had a lot of fun wine tasting in Lodi while exploring the town. The best part of our trip was definitely visiting the gazillion wineries in Lodi that were not only incredibly beautiful, with breathtaking views and friendly service, but also super dog friendly. So here is a guide to some of the best Lodi wineries that welcome dogs, places to stay and the fun things that you can do over a weekend at California’s best kept secret in wine country.

This post (minus lodging) was created in partnership with Visit Lodi! Tourism Bureau. All opinions/experiences are my own

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Dog Friendly Lodi: Pet friendly lodging

Once again, Airbnb came to our rescue while looking for a dog friendly hotel in Lodi. We got the most charming cottage all to ourselves during our stay which was literally a stone’s throw from downtown Lodi. This dog friendly cottage welcomed Babu with open arms, aka a beautiful backyard plus dog friendly amenities (think doggie bowls, bed, extra towels for him to sit on the bed if needed),  all thanks to our very thoughtful and kind host Mimi. Our stay at Lodi was undoubtedly super smooth and comfortable due to this lovely dog friendly cottage, which I totally, highly, truly, madly and deeply recommend to everyone looking for a relaxing getaway (with dog or not)! If you are wondering about getting started on Airbnb, or simply a detailed review of short term vacation rental, here is my guide to decoding Airbnb.

Other pet friendly hotels in Lodi include a) Wine and Roses Hotel, which welcomes two pets up to 25 lbs for an additional fee of $45 per pet, per night ( there is also a $150 refundable deposit), b) Holiday Inn Express which allows pets up to 40 lbs for a $25 pet fee per room per day and several other vacation rental options that consider pets. You can find all Lodi Hotels here.

[Our lodging at Lodi was predecided /booked by us and was not a part of the Visit Lodi! partnership]

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Dog friendly fun things to do in Lodi

Dog friendly Lodi has a ton of things to keep your furry friend busy, starting from a plethora of dog friendly wine tasting rooms in downtown to dog friendly parks and restaurants. Take a stroll along the picturesque Lodi Lake (the adjacent park opens around 11:30 AM, but the path around the lake is accessible earlier in the morning) amidst a gaggle of geese, swans and ducks of all colors or walk your dog in one of the many dog friendly (and off leash) parks such as Beckman and Vinewood park. Get some yummy brunch in the heated patio of Avenue grill or treat yourself to some lip-smacking pizza at Smack Pie Pizza (they have a dog friendly outdoor seating area as well) who wonder of all wonders, have a “Lodi Grape Pie” pizza with grape topping (Lodi is darn serious about those grapes).  Savor a romantic dinner at Towne House Restaurant (a part of hotel Wine & Roses) which has a dog friendly outdoor seating area in a beautiful garden (the outdoor tables are equipped with heaters above).  Go wine tasting in Lodi  downtown which has several dog friendly wine tasting rooms (scroll down to read the one we visited) and do some art spotting, aka a beautiful mural and a “harvest pride” sculpture that pay homage to the bounty of Mother Earth and the famous California grapes, the most valued treasure and pride of this region.

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Best Lodi Wineries and Wine Tasting Rooms that are Dog Friendly

We have traveled with Babu far and wide in California (read our adventures in Sebastopol, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Solvang) and have visited many wine growing regions in our travels. However, nothing could prepare us for the sheer number of dog friendly wineries and tasting rooms that Lodi greeted us with to make our experience so immensely enjoyable! As a result, our Lodi wine tasting experience was not only one filled with deliciousness, but  was also relaxing and fun because of all the love and attention showered on Babu, who was also very well behaved in all these places. For this reason alone, Lodi has stolen our puppy crazy hearts! Oh did I mention that Lodi wine tasting is kind to your pocket ($10/tasting, no kidding), includes a wide variety of red and whites in the 5-6 generous pours and the staff is super friendly and knowledgeable? No offense Napa, but Lodi is the clear winner here with their wine, spectacular dog friendly wineries and attentive service. So without further ado, here is a round up of some of the best Lodi wineries that we visited (there are many more) and wine tasting rooms that are super dog friendly. Dog or no dog, you have to check them out!

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Downtown Lodi: Toasted Toad Cellars

Downtown Lodi is teeming with several dog friendly wine tasting rooms, out of which Toasted Toad cellars was our first stop. This award winning winery has a woman winemaker and co-owner at its helm (Laura Wertner) who inherited the love for everything wine from her father. The tasting fee is $10 and includes 5-6 pours of white wines and red, the fee being waived if you purchase a bottle. Some of the other dog friendly tasting rooms in downtown Lodi are Jeremy Wine Co. and Dancing Fox Winery (this doubles up as a brewery and restaurant with a beautiful garden patio).

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Dog Friendly Lodi Wineries

Lodi will seriously spoil you with its vast number of gorgeous wineries, and that is no mean feat considering we are not even in traditional wine country in California. Neverending stretches of vineyards will greet you as you drive around in your wine tasting sojourn, from one beautiful Lodi winery to another. Some of the best Lodi wineries boast of sprawling vineyards and although the grapes were no longer on the vines (because, January), the lush green surroundings crisscrossed by rows of bare vines still appeared ethereal in the  winter mist. If you have a designated driver, I highly recommend visiting some of these Lodi wineries since they are not in downtown. All of them have the same tasting fee of $10 and the fee is waived upon purchase of a bottle (which is also not really that expensive). The other thing worth mentioning is that unlike Napa, none of these boutique Lodi wineries require prior appointments for parties of 2-4 for wine tasting (appointment is required for buses and larger groups though) and so were pretty accessible.

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

We started off with Oak Farm Vineyards, famous for its award winning Lodi wines, breathtaking beauty (the estate and the sprawled out red roofed wooden tasting room are a photographer’s delight) and a tasting room that welcomes dogs on leash. There is seating outside as well (with heaters, no less) and a crackling fireplace inside to get all cozy as you sip on your wine. The tasting again comes with red and white wines (featuring Lodi’s famous Zinfandel and the winemaker recommends tasting one of the white wines at the end due to its almost dessert wine like mouthfeel) and the service is very friendly and personalized. Although we visited in off-season, the tasting room did have quite a few people; so I highly recommend hitting this popular vineyard either early or late (most Lodi wineries stay open 11 AM-5 PM) to avoid crowds in peak season. I also recommend taking a stroll on the estate as you are tasting the wine since wine tasting in Lodi is a slow, deliberate experience that needs to be savored and enjoyed.

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Our next stop was another spectacular winery in Lodi, i.e. Bokisch Vineyards that specializes in Iberian wines and to our delight, lots of puppy love. Babu was petted like crazy by some of our fellow tasters while the pourers were super friendly and sweet. Bokisch is blessed with a panoramic view of vineyards stretching out to as far as the eyes can see and you can enjoy the view in the outdoor seating in the warmth of a crackling fire during wine tasting. The tasting room overlooks their production room lined with giant, shiny steel vats for wine distillation and storage, which made my inner nerd super happy!

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

The final dog friendly Lodi winery that we visited during our short stay was Harney Lane Winery and Vineyards, which by way of its splendid tasting room (there is an entire selection of gourmet chocolates and other goodies there), an adjoining picnic garden and some of the best selection of wines from their estate grapes, was definitely one of the best Lodi wineries that we visited and one that you simply must include in your list. Just bring along a picnic basket, do some wine tasting and you are all set!

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

That brings me to the end of yet another post on my beautiful California, which is dotted with many incredible places and hidden gems that are simply begging to be explored! Lodi is definitely one of them and is a manna from heaven for all dog parents, wine lovers and those who simply wish to retreat to a relaxing place and enjoy their wine and scenery, without the stress of jostling at the tasting table with other tourists. With a bunch of dog friendly wineries, a peaceful small town setting and warm hospitality that permeates through it, Lodi is definitely the one secret gem of California wine country that you need to visit right now! Pick up a ton of handy guides on wineries (all dog friendly ones are marked with a cute “paw” sign) and other fun activities from the Lodi Conference and Visitor Bureau (like we did) and you are all set to have a great time in one of the most beautiful parts of California’s wine country at some of the best wineries in the state!

Best lodi wineries dog friendly wine tasting lodi California

 

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This is a dog friendly guide to Lodi, California which is the best kept secret in Ca's wine country. Showcasing the best Lodi Wineries for some amazing (and super economical) wine tasting as well as other attractions, Lodi is the perfect alternative to touristy Napa and Sonoma. Pin this to your California or pet friendly travel board now! #lodi #winetasting #californiawinecountry #california #travelwithdogs

This is a dog friendly guide to Lodi, California which is the best kept secret in Ca's wine country. Showcasing the best Lodi wineries for some amazing (and super economical) wine tasting as well as other attractions, Lodi is the perfect alternative to touristy Napa and Sonoma. Pin this to your California or pet friendly travel board now! #lodi #winetasting #californiawinecountry #california #travelwithdogs

 

 

 

 

 

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18 comments

Madhu January 27, 2018 at 2:19 am

All the pics looks so nice..loved them.unfortunetly I have never been to any wine tasting experience.i think it’s time to plan something soon.

Reply
Hanna January 27, 2018 at 3:37 am

Your dog is so cute and that is a gem! The wine and vineyard looks amazing! Which one was your favorite from the tasting?

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Sage January 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Your dog is adorable! We just added a Goldendoodle to our family last week. The thought of traveling without our three-month-old fuzzy bundle of love has us wondering about dog-friendly travel options. I was surprised to read that Lodi actually has some dog-friendly wineries. Amazing! That may have to be the next California wine region on my travel list! Cheers!

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Lisa Jane January 29, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Your dog is one lucky pooch!! What a fab experience for you to enjoy together;)

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Marjorie at DashKitten January 31, 2018 at 7:59 am

This looks like heaven to me! It must be a tough job going to all these places so Babu gets the best walks in the world!!!

I had no idea there were so many gorgeous vineyards hidden away. Thi is amazing to see and I LOVE your photographs.

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Joelle January 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm

It looks like you had an awesome trip! I grew up in the wine region of New York and those wineries are often dog friendly too! Thanks for sharing a lesser known gem in California. Sometimes those places are the best to visit.

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kelly January 31, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Although I am no where near California, we have wineries not so very far from us – within an hour or so drive. I have always wanted to take the tours and check them out but have not done -yet 😉 I think if they allowed our dogs to join us I would have visited long ago! Looks like you had a wonderful tour and stayed at some lovely places.

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Debra Bailey January 31, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Lodi looks amazing! My husband and I love going to wineries, especially dog friendly ones. How cool that there are so many in this one area. Looks like a great trip!

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Sonja of Montecristo Travels January 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm

We don’t drink… so I never really thought of doing this sort of trip. But I think we would enjoy it even without the wine tasting. Our wee fur kid would certainly enjoy all there is to see! Although I think travel to the US will wait a while as we focus on Canada, Peru and Europe for now.

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Rachel January 31, 2018 at 2:06 pm

This looks like a great place to visit and sip wine! I will definitely have to share this with my in-laws. They’re looking for places to visit with their dog. AND they are huge wine lovers! Just a quick road trip up from Southern California!

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Seville at Nerissa's Life January 31, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Doggies are allowed to visit some vineyards in California? Ever neat! It looks super pretty there. Bet it’s nice for walkin’. PURRS.

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Amy Shojai, CABC January 31, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Oh my doG, you had me at DOGS AND WINE! I can’t think of anything more fun (or relaxing) than doubling up with your best furry friend and spending time checking out lovely wine country–and tasting, of course.

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Hannah Zulueta January 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Ok well you had me at wine and dog friendly. I love hidden gems and now I’m all about putting Lodi on my bucket list of places to visit.

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Irene McHugh February 1, 2018 at 1:46 am

Wine and dogs! What a brilliant combination to entice people to visit. I’d never heard of Lodi previously, but it’s on my traveling radar now. I’m actually shocked at how many travel plans I’ve rejected because I can’t bring our dogs. Thanks for all the information. Will keep Lodi in mind for our next CA trip.

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Beth February 1, 2018 at 6:31 am

The cottage you stayed in is so perfect! I love all the dog friendly accommodations! You always find the best places to visit, thanks for sharing Lodi with the rest of us!

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Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats February 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Dogs. Wine. All you need are books (and cats) and it’s my idea of heaven.

I love learning about dog friendly destinations. The more there are, the more places realize it’s a great thing to do.

—Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

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Bernard Lima-Chavez February 1, 2018 at 6:52 pm

A trip to wine country, dog-friendly places and activities and WINE…count me in! Thanks for such a unique take on dog-friendly travel!

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Agness of a Tuk Tuk February 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

This is the first time I am hearing about Lodi and I would love to explore the wineries there and enjoy that picturesque scenery, ParoChak! Thanks for the inspiration!

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