Napa Valley winery gets pet-friendly business award for catering to guests’ dogs – CBS San Francisco

NAPA — Most Napa Valley wineries specialize in wining and dining for humans, but at Migration Winery, dogs are treated like any other valued guest.

“When it comes to your favorite places, why wouldn’t you want to bring your best friend with you,” asked John Hixon, hospitality manager of Migration. “I want to be able to take my pet to my favorite place.”

For Hixon, that best friend is 6-year-old rescue pup Thor. 

“He’s showered in love here at the winery,” he told CBS News Bay Area. “Everybody’s so excited, especially when I announced that he’s coming each day. We take turns bringing dogs here, and I love that he is an official winery pup. We had to make it official with a name tag for him so that way he’s just like the rest of the staff here.”

What started as just a water bowl and a welcome treat has turned into a full dog-experience at the tasting room, complete with a “bark-cuterie board” of special treats. 

“This is their banana, peanut butter, banana, buckwheat cookie and now we are able to personalize it, which has been received so well to ask the guests,” Hixon explained. “We can kind of surprise them when we bring it out with the pups name already on it.”

It’s details like this that caught the attention of the San Francisco SPCA, which launched their first pet-friendly business awards this year in honor of their 155th birthday. Migration Winery won the top prize in the bar category, pairing well with their array of wines from the Duckhorn family.

“At the end of the day, we’re all about adopting as many animals as we can, and the good news, and it could be in part due to this trend, we’re adopting out more animals than we have in years at this point, including more than in the COVID years,” Anne Mollering, Chief of Rescue and Welfare of the SF SPCA, said. “We’re pretty happy about it, and we’d love to see these animals go from our doors to the restaurant and bar doors of our award winners.”

Bay Area establishments have long catered to four-legged clientele, typically with welcoming their presence and offering a water bowl. But in recent years a trend has swept the hospitality industry as guests become more interested in including their furry friends in the wake of high adoption rates during the COVID pandemic. 

According to the SPCA, 23 million American households acquired a pet during the pandemic.

While some businesses are accommodating, others — like Migration — are creating a whole new market for people to enjoy a meal, activity or wine tasting, along with a tasting for their pup.

“I think it’s something to do with this kind of change in lifestyle,” Hixon explained. “The pandemic really brought us closer with our pets, and we want to be able to take them to the places that we can.”

For Josh and Thor, this pet friendly place has become a lifestyle. It’s not only a way to bond but to show others that all are welcome. 

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