September is full of activities; what with Bark in the Park last weekend (for more see my previous comments entry) this week I was up bright and early to go ‘over the hill’ as we coastal locals say to attend an event very dear to me. For the last three years, my good friends John Fetzer and Patty Rock of Saracina Vineyards, Hopland, CA (www.saracina.com) have hosted a spring and a fall dog hike to benefit local animal charities. This year’s fall hike raised money and awareness for the Inland Humane Society (www.mendohumanesociety.com).
John, Patty and crew put on a fabulous event. Yesterday’s hike involved about 20 of us canines along with their uprights. We all gathered at the tasting room and enjoyed a meet and greet as we checked in and registered. Lots of cool fresh bowls of water were on hand as well as yummy treats to build up our energy. The Humane Society had brought several of my clan who were looking for a forever home. Some of them came on the hike with us and it was great fun to make their acquaintance. Joining in the hike, we had all types, breeds, sizes and personalities and that was just the uprights. As for my kind we were all well behaved and everyone got along really well.
Before we started, John welcomed everyone and talked to us about the winery, the vineyards, where we would be going and what we would be seeing on the hike. He also introduced a spokesperson from the Humane Society who told us a little about some of the dogs that they had bought with them. Then we were off, Cassandra, the tasting room manager extraordinaire, led the way. However, it was not too long before I commanded the head of the pack. Insiders tip: I have done the hike before and knew exactly where I was going. At the first stop a large big blue bowl of water was waiting and being the first on the scene I assumed the paddling pool was for me so I jumped right on in, this caused much laughter from the uprights. However, at all the other water stops my dad had me drink form the small bowls until we came to the Lions Head water fountain then it was a free for all and all the dogs took a plunge.
I can’t go to Saracina without purchasing wine for my dads.
The hike traverses the Saracina property and showcases its spectacular views, meadows, streams and lakes. At the halfway point we gathered at the Tuscan Cottage and John poured the uprights a very special 2001 Sauvignon Blanc that was the first vintage he planted after reentering the wine growing and producing arena after a hiatus of several years. He was pleasantly surprised that the wine had held up so well and so were the uprights. The hike takes about two hours and on our arrival back at the tasting room Patty and the team served an amazing picnic lunch and the uprights got to share in more wine tasting. There was more cool fresh water and treats for us. I did, however, partake of some turkey from one of my dad’s delicious wraps. For the Dog Hike a special wine pricing incentive was offered with a generous percentage of the money from wine purchased that day going to the Inland Humane Society; there was even a chance to win a stay at the Tuscan Cottage. John then took some of the uprights on a tour of the caves while my fellow hiking canines and I rested and dozed under the shade of century-old olive trees.
Another great thing about the day is that I get to interact with the participants and tell everyone about how pet friendly the wineries and Mendocino County are. My pet friendly travel brochure was available and picked up by many and lots of people told me about the pet friendly places where they live and vice-a-versa. Overall, it was a great day of being with wonderful friends, making many new ones, sharing in the beauty of Saracina Vineyards and all for a great cause. The hike is very popular so make reservations early, as participation is limited. Maybe, you and I will be hiking together in the spring of 2013?