Archive for October, 2013

What Makes a Wine Dog?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Woofings!  My friend Gus at Two Mountain Winery pawed an essay about the tasks of a wine dog for a lecture he had to present at an Association of Winery Dogs (AWD) vineyard meeting.  Read on to see what it takes!  – Cooper

What Makes A Wine Dog?

Among its acres of green, the vineyard life—muddy ponds for swimming, sage rats for chasing, and ample land to explore—is a dream. And on days under bright sun and blue sky, kept in the back of my large Labrador brain, I am reminded why. But being a wine dog isn’t about the glamour you can sniff on our behinds. It’s hard work and grit, honor and privilege.

Because I am a lifer—having served the entirety of my eleven years on this expansive orchard—I have seen the new ones come and the good ones go. Along the way, I have seen what makes a good wine dog a great one. That distinction rests in the defense of the rights proclaimed by our Founding Dogfathers—Drunkard, Taster, Tipler and Tipsy, the great Coonhounds of the first President George Washington himself (don’t believe me, look it up). The unalienable rights of liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.

Whether that happiness is derived from gracious tasting room picnickers in the form of cheese is irrelevant. What matters is the job at hand. Alerting family when a customer is here, when an alarm has gone off, or when a UPS truck has arrived is essential for daily functioning. Escorting people into the tasting room. Barking at barn cats. Providing companionship to winemakers consumed by harvest, out late pressing, crushing, processing fruit. All important tasks.

In the end, it is not an easy job (which is why we do so much napping). But if you are a good winery dog you will be rewarded for it with the highest honor of them all: the belly scratch.

Wine dogs new and old, uphold your honorable positions, wag your mighty tails, and chase those vineyard pests with patriotic enthusiasm. It is your service! It is your calling!!

Agustus “Gus” Gustafson
Association of Winery Dogs, President
Two Mountain Winery