In March Bella and I made a short weekend trip to Fredericksburg, Texas to check out some of Texas Wine Country’s dog friendly wineries. It ended up being considerably cooler than I anticipated, but we still made the most of the time there. We found quite a few great places to visit that allow dogs. I wanted to stay close to Fredericksburg, but not pay a fortune for a site and found the Lady Bird Johnson RV Park a good option. It is small and the sites are kind of tight, but for a teardrop it was fine and the price is reasonable for the area. There are great views of the park and the bathrooms are clean and well maintained. It also has great working heater in the bathrooms which was nice in the evenings when it got down into the 40’s.
We got in early Friday afternoon, but after most of the wineries closed at 5:00-6:00, so we went into downtown Fredericksburg to see what was open. We found a nice tasting room at the Pontotoc Vineyard Weingarten, that was dog friendly. They have a great selection of wines and the owner was onsite to greet and welcome everyone. Since it was cool they even had a nice fire in the weingarten. Bella liked the attention but wasn’t so sure about the other “dog” there.
There is also a large variety of pet friendly restaurants with patios in Fredericksburg. For dinner we checked out the West End Pizza Company. They had live music, heaters on the patio and great food. Bella made herself comfortable in front of heater and watched for falling food and of course got lots of attention from the waitress and staff in her purple jacket.
Since it was just a weekend trip I didn’t plan to do much cooking, and tried minimize the amount of stuff I needed to pack and take. I skipped the breakfast center and tried out my new french press. I recently started working on having more boondocking friendly options because I want to stay in some state parks where I will not have electricity. Since coffee is always a necessity, I had to find another option. This was actually my first time using a french press and I was impressed with the quality of the coffee.
Our first stop of the day was the Chisholm Trail Winery. I had already researched online and found that it was dog friendly and had outside seating. I wasn’t prepared however for just how secluded it was when we got there. Yes, the donkey in the picture is walking along the road.
An interesting fact about this winery is that it’s owned and managed by a woman who oversees all the wine making and cultivates her own recipes. I found their wine particularly interesting because I’m normally not as much of a fan of wines that are aged in steel barrels, like they do, but the staff member who helped with my tasting explained how they still get the same elements of oak barrels by adding and removing oak chips and other elements at key points during the aging process. Although it probably wouldn’t be considered “traditional” the result was very good. I enjoyed a glass and a snack tray for lunch and took a couple bottles home.
Although I wanted to make the most of wonderful outdoor weather, this winery had an amazing tasting room as well. It offered more private seating options as well as a pool table and a pizza shop in the back on certain days. Definitely worth the drive.
Our second stop of the day was a good bit East of Fredericksburg, but allowed for some great sight seeing and getting to know the area. It was the Becker Family Vineyards. It is a beautiful, huge estate with an outdoor bar and amazing outdoor space. Of course with all these amenities comes a lot of traffic, so it was fairly packed. If you want a glass of wine and nice place to enjoy it, it will be fine. For a tasting however, it can get hectic at the outdoor bar, especially with a dog.
Bella wasn’t nearly as stressed about all the people at the outdoor bar as I was, you know since everyone is her friend. She actually did get her tail stepped on once in her eagerness to get a comfy spot under where people were dropping oyster crackers. It didn’t deter her at all though, she continued to make herself at home, laying on stranger’s feet.
We spent a good part of the afternoon here in their peaceful, serene setting, which was also a great opportunity to try out my new camera. Bella garnered a lot of attention during pictures from people’s amazement of how well she minded and stayed. There were other dogs there as well, but none that cared much about being her friend. I don’t think any of them cared for the competition for getting dropped food.
We ended our day back in downtown Fredericksburg. It was my first time there and really just used the time to walk up and down the main strip and check out all that was there. We did have to visit Dogologie of course and get Bella a treat. There are a lot of shops that allow dogs as long as they are carried, which of course ruled us out because I can’t carry her 27 pound butt very long. Someone has since suggested I do like people on the subways in New York and get a large shoulder bag to put her in. Not sure that that will be any easier.
We ended the day eating at Burger, Burger, which was another super pet friendly patio. They had plenty of heaters as well as dog bowls on the patio. I decided Bella needed to sit in a chair because she adopted a single minded focus to get anything that was dropped on the ground before the other dogs. She still stayed on high alert from the chair and I’m sure if something big enough or good enough had fallen, she would have been down and after it.
We made one last stop Sunday on the way home at Wimberly Valley Winery. They allowed dogs in the tasting room but also had an amazing outdoor space. One of their interesting points is that they make a large variety of fruit wines. They were kind of sweet for me on their own, but with a meal on a hot day, they could be just right.
They sold popcorn in their tasting room and Bella was not pleased that no one was sharing with her. She did enjoy staying outside and was really fascinated with the donkeys, from a distance of course.
Overall, it was a great weekend trip. I was initially skeptical of Texas wineries, especially since the names of the wines that many sell were not familiar to me. I have since learned more about the land and grapes and how they have chosen grapes that grow well in the area to have complete vineyards and wineries. I have also learned which ones I like and have found many I now prefer more that ones I considered my favorites in the past. I am looking forward to hopefully making it back to visit more of the wineries in the area.