Dog-friendly Niagara Winery: 13th Street Winery & sculpture gardens

What better way to spend Victoria Day than with my dog Victoria … at the dog-friendly 13th Street Winery? One of many dog-friendly Niagara wineries, 13th Street is in St. Catharines and is part of an expanding wine industry in southern Ontario, Canada.

But first, I have two confessions: one, I almost forgot it was a holiday in Canada – better known as May two-four weekend, Victoria Day Monday is a statutory Federal holiday named after the former British queen. Two, my dog was not named after UK royalty, so I almost missed the connection.

Nonetheless, I’ve unofficially declared Victoria Day my dog’s day.

Dog-friendly Niagara Winery

I’ve been meaning to check out this newly expanded Niagara winery for years, and after a stop at the dog park in Grimsby, Ontario, I finally got there. Is the 13th Street Winery dog-friendly? Yes, and more.

Once a smaller outlet on 13th Street, the winery moved in 2008 to a larger property on Seventh Street adjacent to acres of vineyards. The winery itself is huge, but it’s upped the ante on the winery experience, at least in the Niagara, Ontario region:

  • wine tasting and purchasing (of course),
  • indoor and outdoor dining, outdoor sculpture park,
  • indoor art gallery closed Mondays until June, and
  • gift store with bakery and Chef’s Frozen Take-home meals including meat pies and a variety of soups such as lobster bisque – which I went home with.

Outdoor Bistro Dining with the Dog

First, May 24 Weekend was the opening of the winery’s bistro specializing in impressively tall burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Indoor dining around the wine tasting bar is available, but on a sunny day with the dog, outside is where you need to be at one of the seated tables or Muskoka chair circles (also popular at Ridge Road Winery), dining with your dog in the grass at your feet.

New is a freestanding, food truck-like wood-burning oven pizza production kitchen. Fresh dough is thrown and stretched before your eyes. In fact, most of the food production was outside under the large pergola, while other is being built. An afternoon here is reminiscent of a resort vacation, a wine not beer resort.

Did my dog Victoria love her day? I’m certain she did because first, she didn’t get left behind. And second, there are fields to explore, thanks to the outdoor sculpture garden that gives you something to walk through other than grapevines at this dog-friendly Niagara winery.

Dog Walking through the Sculpture Garden

Many of the large abstract metal sculptures throughout the gardens are by Douglas Bentham, originally from Saskatchewan, and no surprise my favourite is called ‘Hunt’ which are five dog/wolf silhouettes in various stages of a run through the grass.

But the metalwork is balanced by smooth abstract Zimbabwean stone sculptures by Chaka Chikodzi and other metal works by Mark Birksted that resemble tangled scribbles of metal ribbons.

And the wine? Of course, the 13th Street Winery offers eight varietals including Gamay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and rose, including a sparkling rosé the winery is known for. My favourite, especially for camping and evenings in the hotel on road trips is canned wine. Yes, three types including rosé, in a can.

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If you go…

Dog-friendly Niagara winery: 13th Street Winery, 1776 Fourth Street, St. Catharines, Ontario

black and white dog on rock at dog-friendly Niagara winery

Open Mondays to Saturdays (closed Sundays) 10 am to 6 pm, June to October; 10 am to 5 pm, November to May. Note that June to September offers ‘Wined Down Thursdays and Fridays’ when the wine bar and bistro are open to 8 pm and live music plays in the park.

The bistro is seasonal, May to September, Monday to Saturday, 11:30 am to 5 pm.

Thursday and Friday evenings you can book 30-minute private wine tastings for $20 per person, and the winery offers two wine club levels depending on the number of bottles of wine you want, sent to your home six times a year. Also, the winery hosts a ‘Makers Market’ of craft vendors twice a weekend in June annually, also an opportunity to walk the grounds with the dog.

Check out other dog friendly events on our Dog Events Page.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion.

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