Vino. Vin. Wein. No matter how your humans woof it, or how dry or sweet they like it, wine is a beautiful and delicious part of life for many of them – mine included. But let’s take it up a paw-tch: why should they settle on simply buying wine when they can experience it first-hand during a visit to a winery where dogs like us are welcomed and encouraged?
Enter the the Alexis Bailly Vineyard — where your human(s) will taste award-winning wine in your furry company, right here in local Hastings. This picturesque winery + vineyard – located just 30 minutes outside the Twin Cities – is open Fridays through Sundays, from May through Thanksgiving. The first vines were planted in 1973, and Alexis Bailly Vineyard opened its tasting room in 1978. Since then, it’s grown from producing seven wines to nearly twenty, with every flavor profile you could hope for. It’s the pawfect place for humans to spend the day with you, their favorite canine companion – no reservations required.
Here’s why I give Alexis Bailly Vineyard two paws up and a basenji-tail wag:
THE WINERY/VINEYARD: Whether you stand on two legs or four, this vineyard is something to howl for. Humans will love the rustic and charming wine-tasting villa with plenty of wine to go around, a romantic atmosphere, and a free wine club. Every other amenity – plentiful outdoor picnic areas, umbrellas for shade, a beautiful landscape to explore – is for the dogs! Humans may also like to know that Alexis Bailly Vineyard’s “Voyageur” wine was voted the “Best Wine of North America” at the Atlanta International Wine Competition and “Best Wine in Minnesota” by Minnesota Monthly in 2012. Pro Tip: Encourage your humans to bring a picnic: the vineyard allows outside food! Forgetful humans can purchase wine-complementing snacks inside (but only human-snacks are available — your mom needs to remember your water dish and treats). The vineyard also boasts bocce ball courts, hosts jazz musicians on many Sundays, and sells bottles of wine – even on Sundays!
THE DOG-FRIENDLINESS: Dogs are allowed on leashes outside – and we mean everywhere outside! Only the resident dog Toumie is allowed inside the tasting villa, but he lives there so that seems fair (and humans can enjoy your wine all over the grounds, so you can still keep them company). Toumie’s a rescue dog, like yours truly, and approximately seven-years-old. Make sure your humans say hello to him when they select their wines.
THE SNIFFS: Heads-up pointers: I’m not exaggerating when I say there are at least 1.5 million sniffs on the property. My humans had… how did they say it… “a heckuva time” getting me to sit still for photos: I was just too excited by all the smells to concentrate!
SEE SPOT SEE — AND BE SEEN: If you are a social mutt, you can strut your stuff and meet others just like you at Alexis Bailly. If you’re on the shy side, like me, you can still have plenty of doggie-delighting fun, since there’s plenty of place to roll around and enjoy the day. All kinds of two-leggers complimented me and my good behavior while I was there, so all you attention-lovers will fit right in.
THE HUMANS WHO RUN IT: I talked to Joan, the manager, and she said Alexis Bailly exists to “make good wine” and for “people to visit and enjoy themselves” – dogs included, of course. What’s not to like about that?
In summary, fellow furries, it’s time to take matters into your own paws and plan your dog-friendly adventure (you might even call it a dog-friendly date?) at Alexis Bailly Vineyard. As always, tell ‘em Kramer sent you – and say hello to Toumie for me.
[Editor’s Note: Alexis Bailly Vineyard is located at 18200 Kirby Ave in Hastings. Tasting prices are as follows: three wines for $2, five wines for $3, all wines for $5, or all wines + a souvenir wine glass for $10.]