Welcome to summer 2023, and the season of pet events and festivals. Many dog-friendly events started early, securing dates in May and June. For instance, we’ve already been to Spaniel Day at Hounds of Erie Winery in Norfolk County, Ontario and recently, dog-friendly Muddy Paws Wine Train event, June 24 and 25, 2023. (Check out this events listing).
Muddy Paws is a good introduction to dog-friendly wineries in Niagara.
What’s the Muddy Paws Wine Trail?
Muddy Paws Wine Trail is a weekend-long ticketed event when four wineries in Ontario’s Niagara Region welcome pups and their people for wine sampling, food pairings, and of course, dog treats at each stop. The idea is that one ticket encourages you to tour and taste at four different wineries – and walk the dog through vineyard trails and forested hiking paths.
This isn’t the first year for Muddy Paws dog-friendly winery festival – it began pre-pandemic as an event between two neighbouring wineries – Featherstone Estate Wineries and Vineland Estate Winery – connected by a hiking trail perfect for walking the dog through Niagara Escarpment forest. (Check out our previous Muddy Paws adventures here).
However, this is the first year it’s grown to include two other wineries: Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery and Westcott Vineyards. Note that all four wineries have outdoor patios and expansive properties open to people and their pups at any time during the season.
What was included in the Muddy Paws ticket price?
Each winery was set up with live singers, a wine-tasting tent with food sample, and dog treats.
Every Muddy Paws ticket included the following:
- two one ounce wine tasting
- one food sampling
- dog treats or ‘yappitizers’
The enthusiasm and effort at each winery varied, with Featherstone being my favourite thanks to the fire-burning pizza oven going a few extra dog-focused vendors present. Westcott ran a close second because of some impressive ‘pup cakes.’ Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery seemed to love dogs the most and has the best Baco Noir called Bark Barn Baco.
With the addition of the two more wineries, ticket prices rose to $60 plus tax per person (dogs still free), and some proceeds go to supporting the Bello Project – an organization that works with the Home Hospice Association to help terminally ill people stay with their pets as long as possible and ultimately find homes for their pets.
Walk a leashed dog between dog-friendly wineries in Niagara
What makes this wine trail adventure particularly dog-friendly is the fact you can walk between wineries with your leashed dog. There’s a wooded trail from Featherstone to Vineland Estates – bring good hiking shoes because you’ll be stepping over roots and rocks. It’s about a 30-minute walk one way, then back to the winery where you parked.
The two other wineries, about a five-minute drive from Featherstone, are close enough to each other to walk between, and my dog loved it. Follow flat paths along the edge of the vineyards from Sue-Ann Staff Estate to the Westcott tasting room with a large outdoor (dog-friendly) restaurant. This path takes about 15 minutes – during the Muddy Paws event it was marked with ribbons. That’s likely not a regular feature, but maybe should be.
Follow the ‘Muddy Paws Wine Trail’ on your own at any time during the Niagara Region summer and early fall wine season. Also, there are many pet events and activities coming up in Ontario this summer. (See listings here). A few we’re looking forward to are the following:
- Muskoka Pet Fest on July 9, 2023, in Huntsville, Ontario
- PAWS-itively Elgin Pupper Festival on July 22, 2023, in Aylmer, Ontario
- Pawlooza on August 19, 2023, in London, Ontario.
4 Dog-friendly Wineries in the Niagara Region:
Featherstone Estate Winery, 3678 Victoria Avenue, Vineland, Ontario, Canada (Try the 2021 Rose)
Vineland Estate Winery, 3620 Moyer Road, Vineland, Ontario, Canada (Offers ‘Barkuterie Boards’ for dogs on the ‘dog pound’ patio. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the main outdoor patio.)
Note: There is a wooded trail between Featherstone and Vineland – about 30 minutes each way.
Westcott Vineyards, 3180 Seventeenth Street, Jordan, Ontario, Canada (Try the 2021 Violette Sparkling).
Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, 3210 Staff Avenue, Jordan, Ontario, Canada. (Try the 2020 Bark Barn Baco Noir).
Note: You can walk along the edge of the vineyards (and cross one country road) between Westcott and Sue-Ann Staff – about 15 minutes each way.
Be sure to check out Expedia for dog-friendly accommodations near the Niagara Region and Niagara-on-the Lake. (Affiliate link)
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. 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, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.