I have been to many wineries where the greeting committee consists of a winery dog or cat. Well, sometimes the cats do not so much greet you as give you a disdainful glance and wander off. Cats don’t like to appear too effusive.
We do have to remember though that not everyone likes dogs or cats, so if you have winery pets, they should to be non-threatening and lovable. In my travels I visited a winery where the winery dog was a Rottweiler. A Rottweiler that would bounce up to the car and bark at you! Now, I don’t know a lot about dogs, so I can’t tell the difference between a dog whose bark means, “Get out of the car and pet me” and a dog whose bark means, “Get out of the car and I’ll rip your leg off!” Especially as Rottweilers don’t have tails to wag.
The idea is that if you have a winery pet, make sure it is friendly. Visitors who bend down to pet a seemly docile cat do not want to get up with scratches up and down their arms, nor do they want to be growled at by territorial dogs. I used to work for a winery whose dog hated bicyclists, which was not good, as he would run barking and growling at them when they approached to tasting room.
Pets are a good way to promote your winery. Feature your pets as part of your website, Facebook pages and any other social media, as well as email and newsletters.
A pet-friendly weekend is a great idea. St. Francis Winery in Santa Rosa has an event every year where a local priest comes out and blesses animals brought to the winery (St. Francis of Assisi is the patron-saint of animals). Not only do they get a lot of people, the event gets a lot of publicity, too.
A tip of the glass from me to you!